Leigh Michael



Leigh Michael is a Director specializing in customer research, developmental evaluation, and policy and program evaluation. With nine years of experience delivering and evaluating sustainability interventions, Leigh is particularly interested in helping her clients understand—and act upon—their stakeholders’ unmet needs. Leigh is a subject matter expert in qualitative customer research, and applies methods such as in-depth interviews, focus groups, on-sites, surveys, and desk research to better understand the behaviors, attitudes, and motivations of customers. Leigh understands that evaluation should be in service of equity and applies a nuanced lens to research to understand the cultural and structural context underpinning any research effort. Leigh applies her skills in project management and research design to support program innovation, and she does it by synthesizing complex analytics into a clear story with actionable results. When Leigh isn’t interpreting stakeholder insights, she’s likely backpacking around (beautiful!) Washington State, cooking sans measuring cups, or reading a mystery novel.


Leigh is located in Seattle, WA.

Related Resources

Understanding Customer Motivations to Reshape Solar Programs

In 2021, ILLUME conducted research to help a southeastern utility understand customers’ experiences with under-subscribed solar offers and to understand how best to serve customers through renewables. Read this case study to find out what we learned.
Click on the title to read the case study.

ComEd Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) Study Report

In response to the goals outlined in Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), ComEd is developing initiatives for workforce development, electrification, resiliency, and the renewable energy transition – and seeks to do so in a way that equitably addresses and works to correct historic environmental injustice. ComEd enlisted ILLUME to perform a study to inform both its implementation strategy of CEJA’s goals. This report summarizes the analysis, findings, and recommendations from this study.
Click on the title to read the report.

Inclusive Program Design with Communities at the Center: Moving from Lip Service to Meaningful Actualization

In this presentation, given by Leigh Michael at the AESP Annual 2023 Conference, Leigh talks about how utilities can design inclusive programs by including community-based organizations throughout the process in meaningful ways.
Click on the title to view the presentation.

Equity, Policy Response, and Ceramics: A Conversation with Leigh Michael

In this episode of Current, an Energy Podcast, Anne Dougherty sits down with Senior Managing Consultant, Leigh Michael, to talk about her background in the energy industry, the projects she’s passionate about, and what fills her happiness bucket.
Click on the title to listen to the podcast.

A Square Peg and a Round Hole: Advancing Equity in the Energy Industry

Many states, agencies, and utilities are entrusted with translating equity policies and goals into actionable strategies in their policies and programs. In this case study, ILLUME shares valuable lessons from our work and provides a guide to taking preemptive steps that lay the groundwork for transformative change.
Click on the title to read the case study.

From Policy to the Real World: Realizing an Equitable Energy Future

This session will present best practices on how decision-makers at the state, agency, and utility levels can translate oftentimes opaque policy directives into tangible goals and actionable frameworks.
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Maximizing Impact and Equity with Innovative Policy Strategies

Crack the code to transform federal, state, and local policies into tangible, equitable impact during this webinar with ILLUME Directors, Dr. Alex Dunn, Pace Goodman, and Leigh Michael. Moderated by Dr. Sydney G. Roberts (SEEA). 
Click on the title to watch the webinar.