An Interview with Leyline's First Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) Manager Kiah Glenn (She/Her)

Leyline is excited to welcome its first justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) manager, Kiah Glenn. The creation of Kiah's role is part of Leyline's commitment to expand diversity and address inequity in the renewable energy industry and our broader society. Since the release of its Statement on Equity in 2020 and the formation of the Leyline Addressing Racism Working Group ("LAR"), Leyline published eight quarterly Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reports. Kiah will undoubtedly advance and further formalize Leyline's collective commitment to anti-racism and social equity. We recently interviewed Kiah to get to know her background and role at Leyline.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to your current position at Leyline Renewable Capital?

Ten years ago, I left New Jersey and moved to North Carolina. I worked for seven years in higher education at Duke University, and subsequently at Elon University doing JEDI work for the campus community. Recently, I sought to bring those skills to a different sector, and that search brought me to Leyline Renewable Capital.

I got into this field of work, because of my own lived experience. In my childhood, I watched my parents have to constantly advocate for my brother and me. They had to push back against systems that non-marginalized parents never had to address. When I got to college, I had to become my own best advocate. With all of this experience, I eventually moved into spaces where I became an advocate for others. My hope is that eventually I don't have a job, because JEDI will be a natural part of our world.

  • Your role is JEDI manager. What does JEDI mean, and why is it an important element of equitable business practices?

JEDI stands for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. This work is different from pure "diversity" initiatives in that it seeks to also address structural workplace inequalities. Such disparities in distribution of power, opportunities, privilege, and resources prevent individuals of historically marginalized populations from fully participating and thriving. Justice work looks to address these challenges, for example, by considering equal compensation in hiring and advancement practices. The equity component of my work recognizes that different people need different resources to reach outcomes that are equal. It involves considering the barriers that folks face and how to remove them. Lastly, the diversity factor in JEDI considers who is or is not in the room and looks to include all voices from all walks of life. Inclusion focuses on bringing all those voices together and making sure every one of them has a platform to be heard and valued.

  • Can you tell us about your role? What are your goals and current initiatives?

Broadly, I want to make sure that Leyline integrates JEDI into all aspects of its work and company culture. Leyline has equity goals for its renewable energy work, and I want to make sure those goals are met. For example, I want to make sure we are reaching, hiring, and retaining folks from diverse backgrounds, as well as implement company-wide JEDI trainings and workshops. I am building processes and structures to ensure JEDI touches everything from underwriting to investments.

I oversee our two internship programs: the Renewable Energy Externship at Leyline (REEAL) and the Environment, Social Governance (ESG) Internship. I work closely with our director of people and culture, so all our hiring and onboarding processes are as inclusive as possible.

Finally, I lead, design, and facilitate opportunities for staff to advance a more equitable and inclusive culture, such as an internal JEDI employee resource called Leyline Addressing Racism. My day-to-day is different, depending on what I am working on or who I am meeting with, but there is something great to work on every day.

  • What has been the main focus of your work since you started the position?

In my first three months, Leyline encouraged me to learn the company, meet the team, and familiarize myself about the history that preceded my hiring. That introduction provided great insight into Leyline as a company and helped me feel grounded.

Since then, I began organizing all of our JEDI work. Everything we do should make sense and tell a story, so I have been streamlining and planning our future endeavors.

  • What excites you about working with Leyline?

I really appreciate the trust that the entire Leyline team has shown me. They believe in making JEDI part of every facet of the company, and they trust my leadership. It's truly refreshing, and it makes me excited for the work we can and will do.

  • How does the company support you as someone early in her career?

Though I have only been here a short time, I have been encouraged to attend conferences in clean energy to expand my knowledge and network. I joined Renewables Forward, an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in clean energy. Leyline also created a reporting structure that makes sure I am always being heard and supported.

  • What else do you want to share about yourself?

I am many things to many people: a mother, a sister, a soror, a daughter, a friend, a confidant, a teacher. All of these things define me and highlight my constant commitment to the things I hold dear to my heart: my community, my family, and my friends. The people in my life really sustain me and make it possible to do the work that I do on a daily basis.

JEDI work can be a heavy lift, and the people I surround myself with help to keep going. I'm constantly learning and growing from friends and mentors, and I try to pass this idea of continual learning onto those I engage with in the JEDI space.

Outside of work, I enjoy cooking and collecting cookbooks from the Black Diaspora. I love doing community service with my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In my spare time, I enjoy watching international dramas and baking shows. I also love spending time with my partner watching anime and Marvel shows. Finally, I love going to skate night, thrifting, and spending time with my friends and my mom.

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