Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NYSERDA

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are core values at NYSERDA and in our work for the people of New York State and the clean energy market. We are passionate about building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable working environment and are committed to diversity in all its forms. Because our programs serve all New Yorkers, we are committed to hiring and retaining a diverse and engaged workforce and building a workplace that empowers all NYSERDA employees to achieve their full professional and personal potential. 

NYSERDA’s DEI Strategic Plan

In 2020, NYSERDA formally launched an internal strategic planning effort to promote DEI across the organization, and this strategic planning work concluded in mid-2021, culminating in the development of the Authority’s first-ever DEI Strategic Plan [PDF]. To develop this Plan, a consultant-led internal strategic planning team worked intensively over the past year to develop Guiding Principles for the effort and articulate the priority Goals, Objectives, and Strategies to organize NYSERDA’s forward-looking work, which is designed to realize progress over a period of approximately five years. In addition, the strategic planning team formed ‘Tactical Teams,’ featuring team members from across the Authority, to craft the discrete tactics – the specifics of what we will now do – to implement each respective goal, objective, and strategy. With the Strategic Plan formally issued as of the Authority’s October 5, 2021, Board Meeting, the implementation phase of this work has now commenced, and the DEI Strategic Plan will be used to guide Authority activity and implementation efforts, with a focus on internal activities but inclusive of external-facing impact as well.

Read the Letter from NYSERDA President & CEO Doreen Harris [PDF] that introduces the DEI Strategic Plan and underscores the importance of this work for NYSERDA.

NYSERDA’s Guiding Principles

Through the issuance of the DEI Strategic Plan, NYSERDA has also adopted a set of DEI-specific Guiding Principles to emphasize the values and priorities that undergird our work in the DEI space.

 

NYSERDA DEI Guiding Principles

Only as a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization can NYSERDA effectively serve New York.

NYSERDA will be a model to the clean energy industry for mission-driven diversity, equity, and inclusion.

NYSERDA will hold itself accountable at the individual, leadership, and organizational levels for effective and successful diversity, equity, and inclusion

NYSERDA will ensure that all feel seen, heard, and included through respectful interactions and openness to difference — the underpinning for successful diversity, equity, and inclusion

Continuous learning and openness to change will be the foundation to diversity, equity and inclusion at NYSERDA

 

Through these Guiding Principles, we will strive to be a model for effective and sustainable diversity, equity, and inclusion for the State’s clean energy industry as a whole. Here at NYSERDA, we are committed to an environment of continuous learning that encourages thorough self-examination and the inclusion of all perspectives, those of our colleagues, other industries, and the communities we serve as sources of knowledge, insight, and inspiration. We pledge to empower and integrate their insights and aspirations to positively impact programs and better serve all New Yorkers.

We will also create a culture of accountability for effective and sustainable diversity, equity, and inclusion at the individual, leadership, and organizational levels. Our leadership will set both the tone and expectations for performance to effectuate successful diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes.

We always will accept and respect our colleagues as people and assume their good intentions, truly hearing differing perspectives, refraining from judgment or condemnation, and respectfully working towards optimal outcomes.

Primary DEI Goals – Overview of NYSERDA Goals

As laid out in detail in the above DEI Strategic Plan, the following four goals organize the implementation work that lies ahead and is now underway across NYSERDA:

Goal 1

Create an nurture an invigorated and enduring culture of engagement across NYSERDA that puts people first through demonstrable commitment to the goals and aspirations for growth and success of each employee, both personal and professional.

Goal 2

Build effective and enduring diversity, equity, and inclusion that represents and reflects the New York State communities we serve and is free of systemic and structural biases, including racism, that are historic barriers to the equitability of opportunity -- both internal and external. 

Goal 3

Be accountable for our DEI efforts and outcomes with comprehensive metrics and measurements across NYSERDA to show achievement of our DEI strategic goals.

Goal 4

Endeavor to create the pathway for effective and enduring DEI by collaborating with and learning from other State agencies and clean energy organizations to build healthier and more diverse workplaces. 

Internal Capacity and Resources

  • DEI Officer and team: In 2021, Michelle Andry was appointed as NYSERDA’s first-ever DEI Officer. After six-plus years of service to NYSERDA on the solar and energy/climate equity teams, Michelle has been appointed to lead and form a new internal team dedicated to this DEI implementation work and general DEI activity more broadly. After serving as the leading voice of our DEI strategic planning efforts for the year-plus leading up to the issuance of the Strategic Plan above, Michelle has now taken on elevated responsibilities for and leadership of our efforts moving forward, spearheading the execution of our plans and tactics to promote enduring diversity, equity, and inclusion across the Authority. Furthermore, Michelle will serve as a permanent member of a new staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council – another critical component in our plans for progress (see immediately below). The rest of the new DEI team will be composed of a DEI Advisor and a DEI Senior Project Manager.

 

DEI Council Structure

 

DEI Council -- HR Director, DEI Officer, Executive, Staff At-Large, Staff Resource Groups

 

  • DEI Council: The NYSERDA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council is the nexus that brings together representatives from across the Authority to connect NYSERDA’s diversity, equity, and inclusion activities to the Authority’s broader mission-driven, results-oriented strategy. The mission of the Council is to boldly advocate for a vibrant culture of engaged employees that supports the advancement of NYSERDA’s goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Resource Groups and Affinity Groups: several resource groups and affinity groups exist for the benefit of NYSERDA team-members across the Authority.

     

    • LGBTQ+ Resource Group
    • People of Color (POC) Resource Group
    • Women’s Equity and Advocacy Resource (WE-AR) Group

Linking DEI with New York’s Climate Act Goals for Equity and Justice

We recognize there is a vital and inextricable link between our internal work on DEI and the outward-facing efforts we are helping New York undertake to build an inclusive clean energy economy, in pursuit of the Climate Act goals to ensure the benefits of clean energy investments flow equitably to disadvantaged communities across the State. You can learn more about our actions to promote climate equity and drive benefits to underserved communities in our Strategic Outlook here