As a Program Manager for Cleantech San Diego, Alyssa oversees the Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN), an incubator program funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission. SCEIN provides clean energy startups with a range of free services in order to accelerate their commercialization.
Alyssa graduated with a B.A. in Community Studies and a B.A. in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is now serving her fourth year on the YNPN San Diego Board as Vice Chair and last year was a fellow of the San Diego Leadership Alliance's Institute program.
A native San Diegan, Alyssa loves craft beer and cruising around Balboa Park. In her free time, she enjoys visiting art museums, reading, photographing, and getting lost on road trips. You can find her on social media @a_gutnerd (Twitter) and @alyssabefree (IG)!
Now let's hear directly from Alyssa!
What made you want to join the YNPN board?
I was actually encouraged to join the board by (then current) board members who saw me take over Book Club - one of YNPN San Diego's regular events at the time - when its organizer moved away. I stepped into this leadership role without taking on a governance position within the organization and they wanted to fix that! They knew I'd make a committed board member and would benefit from the experience.
What is your favorite thing about your career thus far?
I love that I work for a nonprofit, but serve the startup community. I get the best of both worlds! The broader role of Cleantech San Diego is to foster collaborations across the private, public, nonprofit, and academic landscape for the benefit of our regional economy and the environment. It is so much fun to work as a connector and in an industry (clean/green technology) that has such a positive impact on our planet.
What is something you do during your day that always makes you smile?
Offering advice, referrals, resources, and business opportunities to the startups in our program. You never know what thing you pass along might play a major role in their success moving forward. When they receive awards and recognition or reach major milestones, its the best feeling knowing you were one of many people who helped them along the way.
What has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a part of YNPN San Diego?
There are so many things, it's hard to pick just one! Ultimately, I'd have to say that serving on the board of YNPN San Diego has helped me learn what it takes to run an organization, from creating/managing budgets, to carrying out strategic planning activities, and developing systems for effective communication between board members outside of organized meetings.
What would you say to someone on the fence about becoming a member, or even joining the board?
YNPN San Diego has given me so much - everything from dear friends to valuable lessons in what it means to be a leader. But the more you put in, the more you'll get out. Start by becoming a member, then join a committee or shoot for the board. It's about investing your time, money, and energy into personal/professional growth.
Thank you, Alyssa, for all you’ve done for YNPNsd! Learn more about our Advisory Board here!