Bright Employee: Colleen Woodson, Chief of Staff


We’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Colleen Woodson, Chief of Staff.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
EnergyScoreCards Minnesota is definitely on this list. That was a 2-year research project where we got to study 500 properties to determine if hands-on benchmarking results in energy and water savings in buildings. (Spoiler: it does!) It was an awesome experience to work with amazing partners and participants. You can read more about EnergyScoreCards Minnesota here.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?
People may not know I’m a mechanical engineer. I think my engineering background helped me learn about solving problems of all kinds. Understanding parameters, stating assumptions, and methodically working through a problem is a skill that’s been useful to apply in lots of scenarios.

What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?
That’s an unfair question! Our services are most valuable to clients when they are combined with one another. Serving our clients with all the expertise we have in-house – engineering, data, analysis, software, procurement, new construction, on-site generation – is what makes us unique and able to provide more value to our clients.

You were promoted to Chief of Staff after managing the Energy Analysis team for 2 years last summer. How did your experience leading the Energy Analysis team prepare you for this role?
Being a part of, and then managing, the Energy Analysis (EA) team gave me a great perspective on the whole company. The EA team interacts with every team at Bright Power on many types of projects. Seeing first-hand the communication between EAs, Software Development, Account Managers, East and West Coast engineering Teams, and our internal Operations team – I saw a lot of diverse needs and situations. Working on processes for the Energy Analyst team naturally meant I had to understand other teams’ processes and needs, which really prepared me for the unique challenges as Chief of Staff: coordinating the diverse needs of the organization while effectively communicating across the company.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, what advice can you give to women starting their careers in the energy industry?
Oh boy, I could give a lot of advice! Here are two that come to mind:

  • Ask for feedback. The way feedback works in a work environment is drastically different from how it works at school, and I’ve found that to be one of the harder adjustments for folks early in their career. Get in the habit of asking your manager, coworkers, and clients what they thought of the work you delivered, and then be open and receptive to their response!  The more specific, the easier it will be for both of you. Try out asking questions like: “Was that email clear and concise enough?” and “Would you have gone about this any differently?”
  • Surround yourself with diverse examples. Look for people (ladies, especially look for other women!) who have made different decisions about their lives and careers, and talk to them. When I took on a promotion after returning from maternity leave, I spoke to women who made different decisions about taking on more responsibility while they had young children. Having different (see a trend?) real-life examples helped me imagine what it would be like to make that decision, feel confident that I could make the right decision, and that all of these options were possible! In real life! When it’s time to make a big decision, I strongly encourage you to take stock of the people you know and purposely seek out a diversity of experience. It helps to have reference points in many directions to really imagine the range of possibilities for yourself.


You can hear more from Colleen in her interview with Sustainable Career Pathways.