Shalaya Morissette, Chief of the Minority Business and Workforce Division at the U.S. Department of Energy joined VIA for a chat about equity in energy for VIA Visionaries interview series

Our network of people who believe in VIA’s mission to make communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable has been growing exponentially this year. Through our outreach, we have the privilege of meeting exceptional people in the energy industry who are also making a positive impact on the world.

So, when we met Shalaya Morisette, Chief of the Minority Business and Workforce Division at the U.S. Department of Energy, we knew we wanted to host her at our headquarters for one of our VIA Visionaries interview series.

First, a little background on Shalaya.

Shalaya has been with the U.S. Department of Energy for just over a year in her role within the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. Prior to joining the DOE, Shalaya spent over five years with National Grid, where she served as a safety and compliance officer. She has devoted the majority of her career to education, including teaching high school students engineering in energy, and serving as a board member for her alma mater, Georgia Gwinnett College. Shalaya is a highly regarded leader in the clean technology space, as evidenced by high-profile speaking opportunities around the globe. She has served her community in numerous ways including President of the Greater Boston chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, the first African American board member of New England Women in Energy and Environment, and committee member of Browning the Green Space.

We knew given our common vision and Shalaya’s impressive background, this was going to be an interview for the books!

Speaking on camera on Labor Day in Somerville, our CEO, Colin Gounden asked Shalaya questions about her decision to work in the energy sector, who inspires her, and the ways companies can improve on their equity and diversity. Some of our favorite moments from the interview were when Shalaya beamed with joy as she talked about her daughter and teaching her about energy (catch the 6:35 mark for a cute story!).

For us at VIA, our favorite moments are always centered around our team and it’s clear Shalaya feels the same. Another favorite quote from Shalaya during the interview was when Colin asked, “Is there a special moment, favorite memory, or something you are most proud of in terms of accomplishments [in the last year at the DOE]?” 

“Oh, there are several. Most of them involve my team. I have an amazing team of people that are incredibly dedicated and talented. But, I will say, Alaska. One, I never thought I would get there. But, going to Alaska and seeing their fabrication lab. They have an amazing lab dedicated to natives there. And they have every piece of equipment. There is so much intention. They are still doing things like making drums the old school way…”

To hear the full response to this question (9:20 mark) and the entirety of the interview, watch the video below. Spoiler! you might hear a little something about a moose!

We’re thrilled to share that we have quite the line up of special guests for our VIA Visionaries exclusive interview series. Next week, Hilary Flynn of MassCEC will join us for a live-stream chat about Policy, Investment, and Climate. Be sure to follow VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) for the latest on this series and more!