February Staff Spotlight: Meet Marissa Leshnov!

Welcome to our February edition of our Staff Spotlight feature, where we share a brief interview to introduce you to some of our amazing staff members here at GRID Bay Area! This month we are introducing you to our SolarCorps Workforce Development and Volunteerism Fellow, Marissa Leshnov! Marissa’s friendly attitude shines just as brightly as the sun as she welcomes the Bay Area’s hundreds of volunteers and job trainees into our solar community.  Keep reading to hear more about Marissa!

Gender Pronouns?


How did you come to GRID?

At the University of Alabama I studied renewable energy, but mostly from the research and development side. I spent my last semester in South Africa, where I saw energy access issues much more amplified with huge gaps in energy access in many parts of the society. I would see one side of a freeway where all the nice houses had solar panels on the roofs, and then just on the other side of the same freeway would be non-regulated townships with makeshift houses and wires snaked all over to just one utility pole. Everyone has energy needs, but there I was only seeing one part of the population having those needs met. That experience made me realize that my work after college would have a greater impact if clean energy was accessible to everyone.

I learned about GRID shortly after moving to the Bay Area last year. I loved the mission, loved volunteering, and loved everything that GRID stands for. I volunteered at Solarthon as a Solar Champion and then applied to the SolarCorps Fellowship Program right after!

What GRID Value most resonates with you?

Equity. Inequity is the issue that GRID rose from to address, and it’s important to make sure that we’re letting those that are most impacted by the issues have their voices amplified in creating solutions. And with my role in workforce development, I get to help the industry better reflect those communities that we’re serving.

Favorite GRID moment?

At the SolarCorps retreat, some of the fellows made a bonfire on the beach. I got to talk to to a bunch of fellows from all different offices and departments, and learned my new favorite riddle: a king is paying a carpenter to build a house over the course of 7 days. The carpenter must be paid every day before going home and he must be paid the same amount every day. At the end of the 7 days his payment will equal a bar of gold. The king is only allowed to cut his bar of gold with 3 cuts - how does he cut it? (Send your answers to Marissa at mleshnov@gridalternatives.org!)

Fun fact about you?

I taught myself Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” dance!

GRID Alternatives is grateful for the generous support from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS).  The SolarCorps Fellowship Program is made possible with additional funding from AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Bank of America