As we celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we sat down with Jessica Yu, senior energy efficiency program manager, founding board member of Strength in Our Voices, and an active member of our Asian American Employee Resource Group and EcoTeam.
Jessica started her Delmarva career in the summer of 2020, as a remote worker in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. While she didn’t meet her coworkers face-to-face until almost two years later, Jessica found acclimating to her new role to be a pretty simple process. After all, she was well-prepared for the transition. Prior to joining our team, Jessica had already spent eight years working with a consulting firm that specialized in serving clients in the energy industry and earned a Master of Science with a concentration in global energy management.
As a senior program manager, Jessica helps businesses save energy with oversight of a portfolio of commercial energy efficiency programs. Future opportunities are promising too, Jessica said, “I see a lot of diversity in leadership positions which lets me know that there is a fair chance for all employees at this company. I see people like me, a woman of color, in positions that I can reach one day.”
Jessica was born and raised in Washington, DC, where her parents immigrated from China as graduate students. Even though her parents came to the United States as young adults, keeping culture and traditions intact was a priority to her family. Jessica even attended a Chinese speaking school from the third grade until high school graduation where she honed her language skills and deepened her appreciation for Chinese traditions. One of many ways she stays tuned in to her Chinese heritage today is through learning how to cook from her mother and other Chinese chefs (even through YouTube!).
When she’s not working or trying out a new-to-her recipe, Jessica devotes her time to the causes she cares about. She is a founding board member of a local nonprofit called Strength in Our Voices (SiOV), whose mission is to create environments of trust and support through open dialogue, education, empowerment, and positive change. One of the programs SiOV offers is an evidenced-based youth suicide prevention program with a proven capacity to positively change school culture. Since 2015 when Jessica helped launch SiOV, the training has been delivered to peer leaders and trusted adult advisors in more than 20 middle and high schools throughout Virginia and the District of Columbia.