Meet Wendy Hado, CLASP Market Development & Innovation Team

In celebration of CLASP's 20th anniversary, each month we profile one of our team members. This month, we sat down with Wendy Hado, an Associate supporting the Global LEAP Awards.

In celebration of CLASP’s 20th anniversary, each month we profile one of our team members. This month, we sat down with Wendy Hado, an Associate supporting the Global LEAP Awards.

Wendy, tell us about your educational and professional background.

I have been interested in different cultures from an early age. At Dartmouth College, I studied anthropology and took additional courses in economics in order to better understand the economic issues that shape individual and social behaviors. It was during that time that I had the opportunity to take a field visit to Tanzania, where I discovered the use of efficient biomass cookstoves. This strongly impacted me and my educational trajectory, along with my professional career. From that experience, I became passionate about how environmental factors impact public health and decided to continue my studies in environmental health science and policy.

During my masters, coursework about climate change and its impacts on population health further developed my career choices. I began my climate change impact work by doing greenhouse gas emissions reporting, which led me to updating the greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the built environment across the District of Columbia. And that got me thinking. Although we spend a lot of time and resources developing new green energy technologies, we also need to promote the use of energy efficient technologies. I see affordable, durable, and efficient technologies powered by clean energy to be one of the worthwhile endeavors to mitigate climate change and build resiliency, while also greatly improving livelihoods of global off-grid populations; the people that will be most affected by climate change. When I discovered CLASP, it stuck out from other organizations I researched. It’s mission-focused and works with communities that lack access to life-saving energy services.

What is your role at CLASP and what are you currently working on?

I’m an Associate on the Market Development and Innovation team, focusing on the Global LEAP Awards competitions, where I oversee the products that have been nominated. After products are nominated, I manage the logistics of moving appliances from manufacturer warehouses to undergo performance testing at labs, and this involves a lot of communication and coordination with stakeholders. Once the 2019 Global LEAP Awards Winners and Finalists are announced next month, I will assist with providing results-based financing for the qualifying products.

What is the value of the Global LEAP Awards?

The Global LEAP Awards is focused on finding the best quality, highest performing, and most affordable energy efficient appliances on the market that haven’t been provided a lot of resources to-date. Although we are starting to see an increase in the number of companies designing appliances specifically for off- and weak-grid users, the market is still nascent, and little information exists about product performance. The Global LEAP Awards showcases the early risk takers in the off-grid appliance market; those that are designing and developing appliances for these types of conditions. Through voluntary third-party testing we’re able to highlight high-quality products, drive further innovation, after-sales programs, and additional investment for appliances in off-grid markets. Our goal it to make these off-grid appliances more accessible and affordable for users that stand to lose a lot in the face of climate change.

What do you enjoy about supporting the Global LEAP Awards competitions?

I really enjoy working with my talented teammates to troubleshoot challenges that come up while administering the Awards competitions. There’s a great deal of planning and preparation that go into the Awards, and some unforeseen issues force me to think outside of the box. Another thing that I enjoy about the program is learning about the technical features and components of appliances. Because I don’t have an engineering background, I want to become knowledgeable about the mechanics and operational components of off-grid appliances, and I feel that the Awards program helps me to do that.

What kinds of impacts has the Global LEAP Awards had on lives?

I recently took a trip to Kenya to better understand the impact that the Global LEAP Awards program is having on people. We went and spoke with a mother who purchased a Global LEAP Awards winning off-grid television and she discussed how it has changed her life. She told us that it allows her family to be closer, friends come over more often to hear what’s happening on the news, and it’s helped her grow her social network. She also feels a sense of pride that she’s able to give her family and community the opportunity to expand their knowledge of what’s happening around the world. In my role, the majority of my time is spent communicating with manufacturers and distributors, industry stakeholders, so this experience really connected the dots for me. I know this is a single story of the more than 1.1 million people CLASP has helped gain access to off-grid appliances, but listening to her solidified the impact that we’re capable of making on people’s lives.

How would you describe the culture at CLASP?

Starting from day one, you have to come into CLASP ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. And although the work is fast-paced and there is a lot to accomplish towards our mission, I appreciate that there is a flexible work schedule and work-life balance. There is also a general sense of collegiality that I truly appreciate. I am surrounded by thought-leaders who are accessible to patiently walk me through subject matters that I am unfamiliar with or have a difficult time understanding. The team is also very open to hearing your ideas and supportive in their implementation. I’m thankful to be working with some of the most knowledgeable people in the field and for the opportunity to dedicate myself to the mission of supporting the transition to a more sustainable world.


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