GRID's "How I Got Here" Series: Stella Ursua

This is the latest in a series of regular profiles introducing the GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles staff. In their own way, each member of our team brings a passion for renewable energy to the day-to-day work of Los Angeles' most socially-minded solar company. Here's how one of them got to that point: Stella Ursua, Clean Mobility and Partnerships Manager.

Familiar with communities in the Southern California region from top to bottom, Stella Ursua, Clean Mobility and Partnerships, is a homeowner with extensive roots in the City of Long Beach. A witness to the diversity and disparities that a place like Long Beach can contain, she understands environmental metrics play a key role in informing the kind of services that people need. Long Beach residents are typical of a lot of places in Greater Los Angeles: they need clean energy to run their homes, but they also need good jobs to put food on the table, and affordable ways of getting places, and breathable air during their commutes. Stella has become an expert at showing these good people (and their cities) that pretty much all of this can be unlocked through a good partnership.

The background for Stella's involvement in locally-generated clean energy can be found in her nonprofit, Green Education, Inc., which is well-known in Long Beach for its events, educational opportunities, and more. Over five years ago, Stella's role heading up the Green Education group saw her cross paths with Adewale OgunBadejo, Workforce Development Manager at GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles today. Adewale's firsthand account of what GRID did on the roof piqued Stella's interest, leading her and her longtime spouse to volunteer for solar photovoltaic installation in the Harbor area. There, she met Solar Installation Supervisors (SISes), saw the no-cost Energy for All model in action, and became even more inspired by the notion of an all-inclusive green energy movement! About a year after first connection with the GLA executive team, she made some inquiries about opportunities in the future growth of the mission, and subsequently we offered her a position as our Strategic Partnerships Manager.

Since that point hitting the ground running in 2016, Stella has spent a year doing partner-focused work for the single-family program, another 1+ year providing direction to the single-family program's staff as Outreach Manager, and now going-on-two-years with additional focus in her work on clean mobility. Stella loves the opportunity to share and talk about advanced technology, but do it in a setting that emphasizes collaboration and values-driven paths. While her work at GLA builds on her two decades doing organizational development at Fortune 500-type companies, there is a consistency of direction and vision to the teamwork she sees in the nonprofit sector that continues to inspire. "Back in 2008 was the last time I worked for a for-profit company," Stella remembers. "That's when I said, 'I'm done!' I committed to sustainability because everything about it was calling me." And she's still here at GLA for a fifth year!