What is your role at ILLUME?
I am a research analyst with ILLUME and have the pleasure of spending my days talking to utility customers to understand their experiences and concerns or pouring through published data from a variety of sources to gain a perspective on the market. All this research would ultimately result in a dense report, but at ILLUME I have the privilege to experiment with artistic new ways to communicate what are usually complex and nuanced findings as easily actionable think-pieces.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
That’s a hard question to answer. I was born in Zimbabwe and grew up around Southern Africa (Malawi, Botswana, and South Africa) and between Michigan and California. I moved to Tucson, Arizona a couple of years ago, and this desert reminds me a lot of my childhood days in Botswana.
Who or what inspires you in your work?
Coffee? Just kidding. I’m inspired by the generation that comes behind me and by the ancestors that came before me. I’ve heard it said that, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Sometimes it may feel like progress is slow coming, but I remain hopeful because I can see the benefits of those who persisted before me, and I can see the younger generations making bold strides forward as they demand a better world. All of it, full circle, is awe-inspiring.
Do you have any pets?
I don’t have any pets, but I have an ever growing (pun intended) collection of house plants that bring me joy. I’ve also been learning how to garden in the desert.
What are your favorite hobbies?
My favorite hobbies include reading, gardening, and going to festivals. I love being part of a happy crowd of people, live music, good food, outdoors…that’s my happy place.
What’s your favorite quote or motto?
“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. -Zimbabwean proverb
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve been lucky, I haven’t had any job that I didn’t like. Although, I will say that working in the service industry (retail sales and catering) was a real roller coaster of good and terrible interactions with people.
What is the best concert you ever attended?
I was at a Burna Boy concert in Houston, Texas this summer. The music was great, and the artist was amazing, but what really made it the best concert ever, for me, was the crowd. It was a night of impromptu dance circles and such a wonderful energy. I also got to share the experience with three of my best friends. Not much else can top that, except maybe a Stevie Wonder concert, but that hasn’t happened yet.
What is your superpower?
Because my childhood was very…“nomadic,” I grew up among many distinct cultures. Growing up as the “new kid” and the “outsider” helped me gain new perspectives and, as I’ve grown into adulthood, this translates to a special superpower of “insightfulness.” I can usually see another side to a story or a different perspective on an issue. I’m grateful for my life experiences because of this.
If you could have chosen another career path, what would you be doing?
I love flowers. I would love to work in a flower shop or plant nursery. When I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a flight attendant, still secretly do, but I’m afraid of flying.