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Grist 50

Meet the fixer: This strategist trains clean energy leaders.

Back when Jackie Weidman was a special assistant at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, she recognized a gap in clean-energy leadership: Where were all the young people? She knew that tackling the challenges posed by climate change would require a whole new skillset.

For Weidman, that meant stepping up to recruit, train, and network the talent to help lead this new workforce. “It’s really important that our generation is stepping up and leading companies and other organizations,” she says. This thinking laid the groundwork for what would become the Clean Energy Leadership Institute.

Since 2013, Weidman’s D.C.-based group has trained more than 150 young professionals. The organization has already made an impact: Two CELI fellows, for example, recently coordinated a city-wide energy assessment competition between D.C. university student groups, who in turn helped 46 city businesses find $126,000 in energy savings. Weidman is now building out the effort nationwide. The first set of Bay Area fellows will be announced soon.


Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.