Why the Increasing Diversity in Utah is Encouraging with April Weathers

April is the Director of Sales Operations at residential solar company, Blue Raven Solar. She is also the chapter lead for SoGal Salt Lake City and involved with the Utah chapter for WRISE.

At Blue Raven Solar, she is responsible for ensuring that sales representatives get new recruits, office support, and other resources. April hails from a small town in Oregon, but prefers city living, especially when she can be car-free. Though she studied Government and Spanish at Claremont McKenna, she found a home in operations from her time at McMaster-Carr in Los Angeles and through her roles at Blue Raven Solar. Outside of work she loves engaging on the topics of tiny homes, diversity in film, and all things coffee.

Tell us about Blue Raven Solar and your position with the company?

Blue Raven Solar is a residential solar company based in Utah. The company was founded five years ago and has grown exponentially in that time. Last year we were named the Utah Valley’s fastest growing business by Utah Valley Magazine.

I started with Blue Raven just under three years ago and was tasked with building the department responsible for handling permits and other red tape involved in going solar. I became the director of operations after a year, wearing many hats in that role before moving to the sales side of operations as the Director of Sales operations and logistics. The team I work with now is responsible for supporting our outside sales reps through recruiting, training, technology, and other resources.

There are some amazing people who work at Blue Raven – they are what keeps me motivated.

Where does UT sit compared to other states when it comes to renewable energy?

I can speak most directly to residential solar and for that, Utah sits right in the middle. There’s no legal mandate to change the balance of energy sources from a certain percentage of non-renewable to a certain percentage renewable and the net metering rules (what give homeowners a benefit for going solar), are more favorable to the utilities than to homeowners. Still, solar has thrived here, because of a general interest in energy independence and a healthy state tax credit for putting panels on your roof.

Tell us about WRISE and your role with the UT chapter?

I first learned about WRISE a year ago when a colleague of mine attended a solar industry conference and saw their booth. The booth wasn’t staffed at the time and when they pointed out how sad that was, it stuck with me. I was a woman in renewable energy, and I wanted to both represent those like me and be represented.

It took me another nine months to reengage with the group by reaching out to the Utah chapter lead via email. I got a response from this generic email address right away and I was thrilled – there was someone engaged in this organization that I could talk to! The chapter lead, Jamie Yarmoff, and I agreed to meet over coffee and talk about how we could collaborate. When we met, Jamie mentioned wanting to have a launch event – I’ve done a lot of random event planning in my life, so I knew I could be helpful.

Since our launch in mid-July, I’ve been engaged in different event planning for the group, including the WRISE UT event partnered with the Royals game at Rio Tinto this past September. The Rio Tinto facility has solar panels and the Utah Royals are a women’s soccer team still in their inaugural season, so it was exciting to unite the two causes of supporting women and supporting renewables.

What do you think is one of the big issues facing women in UT?

Between higher numbers of women graduating from college to women moving here from out of state and seeking work, the percentage of women in the workforce feels like it’s growing. With that, women in Utah are faced with working environments in which men still holding most higher-level positions and men in those positions are having to adjust their management styles.

I think generating sustainable pipelines into higher-level roles is the best thing you can do to promote diversity, but it comes with challenges. Similarly, dropping women into roles where they are only surrounded by men can put strain on both sides and leave those women feeling isolated and unsupported.

Still, for the women coming through those pipelines, it is challenging not to see yourself among those who currently hold those higher-level roles – making you wish for women who can to stick it out in isolation. It is equally challenging for men in those roles to relate to and engage with women who want to be in their position down the line.

I am encouraged by the increasing diversity I see in Utah, though I recognize the challenges of transition. I think the best we can do is have conversations with the men who are eager to be allies, encourage men to ask questions and be our true allies when we can’t be our own, and continue to foster the pipeline of women who come after us.

What is a perfect weekend for you in Salt Lake City?

A perfect weekend for me includes some sort of physical activity in the morning – a hike in the summer, skiing in the winter, and a spin class at Rebel House in between. Then I indulge in a cappuccino or iced latte and some breakfast, typically eggs and toast. My afternoon is spent relaxing with a book or bopping around the city. Evenings are spent with friends either at the movies, dinner, or at home.

What are your favorite names?

I feel like this question could trip people up, but I think of this often. The names are these: December, Faye, Autumn, Michelle, Skye, Forest, Edward, and Montgomery.

What is it that you most dislike?

I dislike hugs, the cognitive dissonance I feel about homelessness and engaging in politics, and pizza.

What is your greatest regret?

I’ll stick surface level here: not riding horses more as a kid, choosing to study for my Econ exam instead of going to dinner with the actors who played the Weasley twins, driving a Prius C instead of a standard size Prius, and getting the same haircut four years in a row.

How would you like to die?

In my sleep, when I’m old enough to have enjoyed life, but not so old that much of my body has started to fail.

What is your motto?

You win some, you lose some.

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