The U.S. C3E Awards recognize the outstanding leadership and extraordinary achievements of mid-career women working to advance clean energy. For the past four years, the C3E program has conducted a nationwide campaign for Award nominations. C3E Ambassadors select the winners and these remarkable Awardees are recognized for their work at the C3E Symposium each year.
Biographies of the 28 C3E Award winners to date highlight the significant impact these women are making in clean energy. Print version (pdf).
Use the arrows to scroll through the winners. Click on names to read their bios.
Carla Peterman was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December 2012. Peterman led the CPUC’s adoption of an energy storage procurement framework, the first mandatory U.S. utility program for purchasing energy storage. Through Peterman’s work, investments in energy storage are increasing rapidly in California and across the country. She currently oversees the CPUC’s $1 billion-plus annual customer-funded Energy Efficiency Program, leads implementation of California’s 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard, and is in charge of the CPUC’s Alternative Vehicle Program, which supports California’s goal to put 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. She formerly served as a California Energy Commissioner. Peterman holds a BA in History from Howard University and an MS and MBA from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She is finishing doctoral studies in Energy and Resources at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dawn Lippert is the Founder and Director of Energy Excelerator, a startup program dedicated to helping solve the world’s energy challenges, starting in Hawaii. She has raised over $40M to help companies reach the market and achieve scale through targeted funding and strategic relationships with customers, investors, and corporate partners. The non-profit program has funded 43 companies thus far. Lippert also is Chair of the Board for the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a board of private and public energy stakeholders tasked with transforming Hawaii to 100% renewable energy. She founded and serves on the Board of Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE), a not-for-profit designed to build technical expertise, trust, and relationships to advance clean energy. Before moving to Hawaii in 2009, Lippert was a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton’s alternative energy team in Washington, D.C. While there, she helped implement the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. She holds a BA from Yale University and a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her favorite quote comes from her love for sailing: “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
Grace Overlander is the Manager of New Product Introduction at Tesla Motors, where she is responsible for the successful launch of more than a dozen distinct products. Her team recently launched new battery and electric components that are at the heart of the groundbreaking Model X sport utility vehicle. She was also responsible for the team that introduced Tesla Energy, which is revolutionizing markets for home and industrial energy storage. Prior to Tesla, Overlander instituted the refurbishment strategy for General Motors’ (GM’s) award-winning Volt. Her work at GM also established processes to drive product quality earlier in vehicle development, resulting in faster more successful launches. Overlander has been a champion for educating students and coworkers. She has sponsored internships in the sustainability and alternative energy space and championed plant tours and executive events to introduce students to electric vehicle technology. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and graduated from MIT as a Fellow in Leaders for Global Operations. She holds an MBA and a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering.
Anya Cherneff is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Empower Generation—a social enterprise that connects women in Nepal with global suppliers of solar technology, empowering them to distribute clean energy solutions in their remote communities. Empower Generation has launched 15 women-led solar businesses that collectively employ over 200 sales agents. These sales agents and entrepreneurs represent the only clean energy distribution network to reach the most remote communities in Nepal. To date, Cherneff and her team have distributed 50,000 solar products, bringing clean, safe power and light to more than 250,000 people. She has also delivered several talks at global energy companies and women-in-energy networks, inspiring others to join the clean energy revolution. Her entrepreneurial approach catalyzes engagement with energy companies and large international development agencies, fostering a supportive environment for local solutions. Cherneff is dedicated to promoting women’s rights as human rights and her previous experience includes founding the Human Trafficking Centre at the University of Denver. In early 2015, she was awarded a nine-month fellowship at the Global Social Benefit Institute at Santa Clara University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Columbia University and a Master’s in International Human Rights from the University of Denver.
Alina Zagaytova is an Assistant General Counsel at First Solar. She leads First Solar’s strategic partnerships and investments, mergers and acquisitions, project finance, and distributed generation. She has handled over $10 billion in financing and transactions for renewable energy projects. Zagaytova has led First Solar’s energy access projects in Africa and South America and developed innovative financing solutions specific to those regions. She has provided pro bono legal help to several clean energy start-ups, which have since become successful companies. In Washington, D.C., she founded and ran a networking group for young professionals in renewable energy, and she continues to serve as a mentor within her organization. She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a JD from Harvard Law School.
Erica Mackey is the Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Off.Grid:Electric Ltd., the world’s first massively scalable off-grid electric company dedicated to providing affordable and reliable energy. The company utilizes distributed renewable energy to sell power as a service to customers who suffer from an expensive or unreliable grid, or have no electrical grid access at all. Mackey has been instrumental in breaking international financing barriers by making African rooftops an investable asset for western capital. Utilizing an innovative pre-paid solar model she and her team will have connected more than 100,000 African households to modern, clean electricity by the end of 2015. She also launched the M-POWER Academy to recruit and train young East African professionals and place them in solar jobs. Mackey was recognized as a Forbes “30 Under 30” Social Entrepreneur, spoke at the USAID Development Lab launch and TED Global’s TED University, won an Ashden Award for Financial Innovation, and is an alumna of the International Achievement Summit. She holds a BS from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA from Oxford University.
Jessica Granderson is a Research Scientist and the Deputy of Research Programs for the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at LBNL. She leads a team conducting cutting-edge research on building controls, automation, and analytics, and she provides technical expertise and knowledge transfer to advance the energy management initiatives of the nation’s largest enterprises, national accounts, and public sector entities. Granderson is the co-developer of a turnkey hardware-software solution—the “Sensor Suitcase”—which automatically identifies cost-effective energy savings in small commercial buildings. This technology is now being funded for commercialization. Granderson also developed methodologies that are now used by industry to reduce time, cost, and complexity in verifying performance-based savings. She is dedicated to the growth and mentoring of students and junior staff and particularly supports those from groups historically underrepresented in Engineering and Science. She holds an AB in Mechanical Engineering from Harvard University and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
DaNel Hogan is the Director of The STEMAZing Project for the Office of the Pima County School Superintendent in Tucson, Arizona. In this role, Hogan provides professional development opportunities for PreK–12th grade educators, edits The STEMAZing Newsletter, and participates in numerous STEM outreach events. Hogan serves as an example to her students and as a mentor and champion to her colleagues. She recently co-organized several national professional development workshops for educators on topics such as energy, water, and engineering. She also serves on the Teacher Advisory Board for the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. Previously, Hogan was an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., where she led outreach on the Energy Literacy Framework, an effort involving 13 federal agencies and thousands of experts. While in D.C., Hogan was engaged in national-level STEM issues with a particular focus on K-Gray Energy Literacy. Hogan holds a BA in Physics from Coe College and a Master’s degree in Teaching from Southern Oregon University.
Kathy Swartz, Executive Director of Solar Energy International, has implemented the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Ready Vets training programs at the first two military bases. The training provides transitioning service members with the technical expertise to start a career in the renewable energy field. She also established Programa Hispano for Latina workers; women-only training programs; and the Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund for women pursuing training and employment in the solar industry.