Road to Groundswell: Nicole Sonderegger

Groundswell is excited to welcome Nicole Sonderegger to our team as our new Solar Program Operations Manager. Nicole brings with her a passion for empowering underserved communities and experience leveraging business acumen to build sustainable and scalable solutions for a more equitable and greener future. 

In this installment of our "Road to Groundswell" series, Nicole shares her story.

 

What led you to Groundswell?

I am passionate about advancing and improving ventures with social and environmental missions. Last year, following this passion, I began a master's program in social entrepreneurship. An assignment focused on a real social enterprise led me to find Groundswell. I quickly became captivated by the organization's approach to empowering communities and eventually chose to partner with Groundswell to conduct research for my master's thesis.

What do you do at Groundswell? 

My role consists of supporting new solar business development and helping manage technical projects. I will help identify new opportunities and ensure existing ones move forward.

How is this work similar to what you've done before?

I have experience in new business development and working with underserved communities in the private and public sectors. In my previous job, I created partnerships with employers to place underserved adults into gainful employment. Before that, I worked in software sales at Oracle, creating new business opportunities for the company by identifying and working with federal agencies with IT modernization goals. 

How does the work at Groundswell align with your passions?

When I first learned about Groundswell, I was surprised to discover the many ways that Groundswell's work aligns with my passions. I am driven by creating opportunities to empower underserved communities and believe community solar can significantly impact marginalized communities by reducing energy burdens, building local resilience, and creating good jobs. Moreover, I believe it is imperative that we adopt greener technologies and reduce our harmful impact on the environment. I am excited to support the growth of solar energy to help achieve this goal.  

What kind of impact do you hope to make at Groundswell?

I hope to help Groundswell identify new opportunities and continuously improve existing services to deepen and expand its positive impact on communities and the environment.

Are there any fun facts about yourself that you would like to share? 

You'd never guess it, but I grew up in San Jose, Costa Rica. I moved to the United States for college and have remained here ever since.

I also figure skated in Costa Rica for about ten years — which makes little sense given how warm it is there year-round, and there was only one ice rink in the whole country. But I loved it!