Hi Everyone! I’m back from my d.light sabbatical!
I can’t express how amazing it was for me to completely disconnect from d.light, literally leaving my phone and laptop in Hong Kong. My time off gave me a chance to reflect on issues I hadn’t paid nearly enough attention to. I noticed how crucial it is to stop working on day-to-day operational issues, and gain a completely new perspective on the business and where the world is heading. This has caused me to refocus within d.light on some super amazing, but much longer term projects, which I’ll hopefully be able to share soon. Perhaps more urgently for me, since I’ve been living in India and Hong Kong, was to reconnect with friends and family and see what’s important in their worlds now! I literally had two separate 10 year reunions this summer – which were amazing – including the 10 year anniversary of my Peace Corps service in Benin, where I lived without electricity for four years, and which catalyzed my passion to bring affordable, and safe light to all.
Coincidentally, it also was the Peace Corps 50th anniversary this summer, and I was extremely fortunate to receive the Sargent Shriver Award for Humanitarian Assistance at an award gala in Washington, DC last month. Although the award was in my name, I’d like to acknowledge all d.lights’ employees, past and present, who put an unbelievable number of hours into making sure we deliver a quality solar lighting product to millions of off-grid families. It’s working — we’ve almost delivered safe bright light to another 1 million people over the summer, in 45 countries! Go go go.
Upon returning, I was also pleasantly shocked by how fast d.light is growing organizationally. During the short time I was away, d.light decided to open a new office in the San Francisco Bay Area, and added about 10% new employees in Singapore, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Two of the new employees actually transitioned into fulltime positions after successfully completing our fellows program (http://www.dlightdesign.com/fellowship_program.php), which was a great outcome.
As I have been thinking about the opportunities d.light has ahead of us to tackle energy inequality, I jotted down a quote I saw while walking around FDR’s memorial in Washington DC, which summarizes what drives me:
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it’s whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”