Seattle City (spot)Light: Julie Banerjee, Senior Program Manager

The Basics
Years of Service: Two
Division: Customer Care & Energy Solutions
Role: I focus on conservation programming for our new construction and multifamily customers, specifically affordable housing and efficient, low greenhouse-gas-emitting properties. In 2020, I also had the opportunity to support the Utility Discount Program, which was expanded in response to COVID-19.

Background
Hometown:
Wenatchee, Washington
Alma Mater: Western Washington University and Columbia University
Discipline/Trade of Study: A bachelor’s degree in international business and a master’s in public administration in environmental science and policy.
Tell us about your family: My family is constantly changing because my husband and I foster dogs for a local rescue organization. We also have a lot of extended family in the area (about 15 aunts and uncles and 20-plus cousins). Although we have not seen them in person during COVID-19 , we’ve maintained a weekly Zoom since March 2020. The calls can get a bit unruly with so many people on the line, but I am thankful for the clamor as it provides a proxy to in-person gatherings.

“City Light seemed like the perfect place to apply the skills I learned in my master’s program. It’s a utility with a long history of energy conversation, is customer focused, and is part of the City of Seattle, which provides a unique opportunity for exciting policy development.”

Just for Fun
What’s something you have learned more about through quarantine?
My husband and I live in the Greenwood area, and I have to say that the neighborhood has to be my favorite part about living here. During isolation, we’ve gotten to know neighbors better through socially distant happy hours and joint neighborhood yard sales, which has been nice!

What’s your favorite indoor activity? I’m a pretty voracious reader. This year I’ve particularly gravitated toward BIPOC women authors writing science fiction, such as N.K. Jemisin and Rebecca Roanhorse. Their writing was especially powerful to me during the pandemic because I got to live in the futures they’ve imagined, and it pushed me to think about the future I’d like to live post- pandemic.

What’s your favorite travel memory/experience? I worked in Washington, D.C., for international aid organizations, collaborating with grantees worldwide on process involvement and procurement. After D.C., my husband and I moved to India where I worked for a social enterprise that focused on increasing access to solar and other products in urban communities. I was also involved in selecting and testing new products like solar fans and water filters. Working in these communities and living in a densely populated area, it became quickly apparent how important strong local government and environmental policies are. Water scarcity was becoming an alarming issue, and almost all potable water had to be trucked in or purchased in water bottles. Local government efforts were also draining local water tables. This experience inspired me to go to graduate school to study public administration in environmental science and policy.

What do you enjoy most about working at City Light? If I had to pick one thing about City Light that I absolutely love, it would be my team. We have come together during this last year, and I feel very grateful to see them every day. If I get to pick more than one, I’d say the work is thought-provoking, and I love getting to be a part of creating the future for the City of Seattle.