We think it's important for readers to learn about our employees - their background, what led them to Leyline Renewable Capital, and their role. In June, we interviewed Managing Director of Originations Todd Kice, and this month, we sat down to get to know our second Managing Director of Originations Christy Searl. Both Todd and Christy joined Leyline roughly the same time and work together generating leads and sourcing deals for the company.
Tell me a little bit about your background and what led you to Leyline.
I am a lawyer with a background in finance, real estate, and energy. I worked at Chadbourne & Parker (now Norton Rose Fulbright) and litigated project finance issues. At Lehman Brothers, I covered the entire bank and its financial products. While working with the real estate development teams, I saw the importance of bridge and mezzanine financing - exactly the kind of financing that Leyline provides to developers (Leyline's Bridge Capital). I also had the opportunity to work with energy, power, and financial investment bankers on mergers and acquisitions.
I understand the entire project finance lifecycle, from deal sourcing to structuring to investment closing, and I have seen what happens when deals go awry. After Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection, I worked for the Lehman Bankruptcy Estate. I took the lessons I learned from the Lehman Estate to Burford Capital, a company that is similar to Leyline in size of investments, investment objectives, and portfolio diversity. While there, I learned to source, structure, and close my own deals. All these experiences provided me an extensive network of contacts.
I am excited to bring my knowledge and connections to Leyline. My industry connections and experience sourcing, structuring, and closing deals are integral to advancing Leyline's financial solutions for clean energy project work. I'm doing what I've always done, which is making capital work for individuals and businesses, but now I'm doing it entirely in the renewable energy industry.
I live in New York City and stayed in the city during the pandemic. When my 13-year-old son and I went for our daily walks during lockdown, we could see how much cleaner New York City had become - even something as small as being able to see to the bottom of a water puddle became noticeable. I realized how precious our natural resources are, and I'm glad to be at a company like Leyline that is pushing clean energy forward.
What is the focus of your work, and what are your goals over the next year?
My goal over the next year is simple and that is to leverage relationships with former colleagues and industry contacts to find individuals who need renewable energy capital for their business. A key priority is to also connect with those who, for one reason or another, have historically lacked access to capital.
One solution we have is our Leyline Growth Capital product, which provides financing for businesses that lack assets or cash flow, but have good operational history or show a promising future. This financing offers a fast way for new businesses to get cash, acquire capital assets, and reach milestones more quickly. This financial product also puts capital in the hands of people who historically have not had access to capital, such as disadvantaged or underserved groups.
The finance and bankruptcy sectors are male dominated. I have been fortunate in my career to have had both male and female mentors. But as a woman, I understand that there are barriers to entry in any industry. Leyline wants to be accountable for how we include diverse communities in our work for environmental change and how we contribute to systemic change. I believe in these principles, and I want to make a difference with the help of Leyline's capital.
So, my goal right now is to use my knowledge of finance, power, real estate, and private equity as well as my skills and relationships to advance renewable energy.
What is something that Leyline readers should know about you?
My 13-year-old son is excited about my new job. He recently learned that an energy storage solution is needed to better regulate the power grid. I told him that he can invent a solution and start his own company. When he sees that I can make someone's business vision come true, he knows that the sky's the limit for him. I am excited about his future.
I also love everything about New York City, whether it is off-Broadway theater, live music, the arts, or just simply taking a long walk. I also enjoy skiing, as you can see from the above picture from earlier this year in Big Sky, Montana.