Growing to Meet the Change Our Industry Demands

Posted March 21, 2023

When Sara and I started ILLUME ten years ago, we could not imagine the company we have today.
ILLUME began with the dream of centering human needs and aspirations in every aspect of our energy program design, delivery, and evaluation. It is safe to say that—ten years later—we have been successful. Each day, our team of 40 technical consultants, strategists, and designers help deliver solutions to our clients and are solving society’s most urgent challenge: transforming our energy industry to mitigate climate change by equitably serving our communities with impactful, enduring, and resilient energy and climate solutions.

To meet this challenge, we began to re-envision how ILLUME would enter our second decade of life. Our goal was three-fold. Our first objective was to find a better way to communicate and channel the diversity of our services in a manner that aligns with our client’s needs and our team’s technical expertise. Second, we wanted to ensure that our leadership team was structured to support our services and our team. Third, we recognized the importance of doubling down on our commitments to support the growth and development of our team.

Growing to Meet the Change: Our Services

At ILLUME, we offer an incredible diversity of work for a small firm. From in-depth, in-home ethnographic research to emerging technology portfolio design to creating equitable investment frameworks, ILLUME boasts an impressive body of work that is well-positioned to support our clients at this moment. The question we had to answer for ourselves was this: what is the best way to structure our company to do that?

We begin to answer that question by organizing the services we provide into five practice areas:

  • Success Planning, Support, and Measurement: Focused on delivering incisive, supportive, and strategic evaluability assessments, market tracking, evaluations, and strategic planning for mature energy programs and services.
  • Human Insights: Focused on exploring and identifying behavioral, cultural, and market solutions through thoughtful research and discovery.
  • Equity: Focused on delivering research, program design, community engagement, and policy advising to support the equitable delivery of energy and climate solutions.
  • Opportunity Identification: Focused on identifying and developing a pipeline of emerging technologies, services, and solutions through rigorous research and development, piloting, and portfolio integration.
  • Custom Services: As always, we will continue to work with our clients to help them innovate and solve the challenges they are facing during the energy transition. We will develop customized services with our clients to support them as they face new problems, develop new methods for understanding those problems, and new solutions to be proven out together.

Growing to Meet the Change: Our Leadership

To honor this vision and ensure we have the leadership in place to realize it, we have empowered our team to lead our practice areas and provide executive oversight to key areas of our company. We are proud to introduce the following new roles at ILLUME:

  • Executive Vice President, Revenue: Jes Rivas has been promoted to this role to oversee the development of our Opportunity Identification and Development, and Equity practice areas and to use these spaces to develop new solutions for our clients and revenue streams for ILLUME. 
  • Executive Vice President, Operations: Laura Schauer has been promoted to this role. We are excited to see her keen attention to detail and process in her oversight of ILLUME’s Success Planning, Support and Measurement, and Human Insights practice areas. Within these areas, Laura will be able to hone our company operations while remaining in lockstep with the needs of these two practice areas.
  • Vice President, Talent Development: We have empowered Eileen Hannigan in this role, with the specific task of identifying the technical, social, and professional needs of our team. In addition to developing training, mentorship, and wellness strategies, Eileen will personally oversee projects where additional training and staff development is needed.
  • Vice President, Finance: Don Smith will serve as the lead of our team’s finance, IT, and human resources oversight ensuring the contractual requirements of our clients are met and expectations exceeded.
  • Principal Consultant, Market Development: Amanda Gassé will lead our market development activities, supporting Jes Rivas and our Practice Areas leadership in external communications, branding, and market engagement.

Growing to Meet the Change: Our Team

As owners, we recognize that our organizational changes are coming at an unprecedented time for the workforce. But more importantly, after three very difficult years for our team—many who are still adapting to the changes that were ushered in by the pandemic—we also recognized that it is essential to double down on our investment in our team. In addition to developing two positions dedicated to our team’s well-being (our VP of Talent Development and our Talent and Engagement Manager), we designed a coaching and investment strategy that is tailored to position and individual needs.

At ILLUME, we always say that we feel bullish about our future. That has not changed. We are certainly a different company than we were in 2013. We could not be prouder of who we’ve become. At our core, we remain a team of passionate individuals committed to helping our clients create people-focused solutions that are increasingly ambitious, effective, and able to serve multiple bottom lines.

Listen to our podcast series, Current, to learn more about Anne and Sara’s vision for ILLUME along with Executive Team member interviews.