Get to Know CLASP’s Six New Team Members

Over the past few months, CLASP has welcomed six new members to our teams in China, Kenya and Washington, DC, fostering new relationships and expanding our geographic reach.

Clockwise from upper left corner: Steven Zeng, China Program Lead; Win Njueh, Communications Associate; Katriana Dubytz, Climate Coordinator; Sandra Gari, Communications Coordinator; Qianqian Cui, China Associate; Lisa Kuhuthu, Communications Coordinator

Over the past few months, CLASP has welcomed six new members to our teams in China, Kenya and Washington, DC, fostering new relationships and expanding our geographic reach.

We asked our colleagues to share what they are most looking forward to about their work at CLASP and what they’ve been doing to remain grounded, safe and connected during the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the onboarding of the China Program Lead, Steven Zeng, and Associate Qianqian Cui, CLASP is expanding our team in China. Qianqian, who started working at CLASP in April and is new to the topic of appliance energy efficiency, is most looking forward to working alongside a group of professional colleagues with deep knowledge in this subject area. “I firmly believe that to be the best, you have to learn from the best,” she said. “[The team] is super dedicated in their respective fields of expertise.”

Steven similarly recognizes the expertise that CLASP brings to the table. “What really excites me is that CLASP is the leading voice of appliance energy efficiency in the world, and we are working in a very important area of supporting countries to fight climate change by setting up and improving their energy efficiency and environment policies.” Steven finds the work to have high potential for large-scale impact on China’s environmental efforts. “As China is the world’s largest GHG emitter, appliance producer, and exporter, a small policy improvement here could bring an unimaginable amount of reduction of GHG emissions and air pollution,” Steven remarked.

Lisa Kahuthu, who started at CLASP in early May as a Communications Coordinator based in Kenya, spoke enthusiastically about working with a team that’s motivated by the impact of the work they do. “It feels to me like my experience at CLASP will be very rewarding and an important part of my young professional career,” she added.

Katriana Dubytz, who began in May as a Climate Coordinator in the Washington, D.C. office, remarked on what she finds rewarding about her new role: “I look forward to the wide variety of work I will have the opportunity to support through the different geographies, policy areas, and product groups CLASP targets to mitigate climate change.”

Mitigating climate change, coupled with the goal of expanding access to underserved communities, is what excites Win Njueh, Communications Associate based in Kenya, most about CLASP’s work. “Knowing that the work CLASP does helps underserved communities access quality appliances and improves the quality of their lives gives me great joy,” they said.

And Sandra Gari, a Communications Coordinator also based in Kenya, speaks similarly about CLASP’s impact on her community. “Working and living in Kenya, I have seen firsthand the need of having quality appliances that address both the [on] grid and off-grid markets, so as to improve the quality of life,” she said. “So working with a team that is working to ensure that this information is available to all warms my heart.”

In addition to joining and strengthening CLASP’s expanding team, our six new team members have found ways to find connection and hope during a difficult time. A common thread that runs through the new team members’ pandemic experiences is the recognition of how important health and family and friends are, as well as the small joys of writing, reading books, and making art.

Qianqian, for example, has recently considered signing up for boxing classes to have some advanced training, and Lisa is spending free time on weekends going on hiking and cycling trips with friends, in addition to catching up on reading. Steven also finds comfort and fascination with books during the pandemic. Using his home library as an office space has given him a chance to read books that he otherwise wouldn’t have the time to.

Sandra enjoys catching up on movie and series binges, while taking care of her family. Sandra has also enjoyed doing some interior home decorating.

Win has pursued their interests while maintaining social distancing by taking motorbike riding lessons. Later in the year, they are planning on doing a bike trip that will take them out of Nairobi.

Katriana is investing more time in her artistic interests by crafting handmade cards, which she sends to friends and family. “Expressing gratitude and letting my loved ones know they are in my thoughts helps me feel connected in these often lonely times!”

Although CLASP has not yet had a chance to welcome most of our new team members in person, we look forward to doing so in the near future. Read about CLASP’s 2020 Annual Report to learn more about how the team has remained resilient and committed to their work and each other during these unprecedented times.

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