Blog | Just Transition
April 26, 2022
Updated October 4, 2022 | Cleantech Leaders Roundtable & Clean Energy Business Network
The Mária Telkes Fellowship is hosted by the Cleantech Leaders Roundtable and Clean Energy Business Network. Cleantech Leaders Roundtable (CTLR) is a community of peers including cleantech CEOs, investors, and influencers. This community facilitates trusted exchange of information, collective problem-solving through partnerships, and amplification of individual business and communications efforts. The Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) is the small business voice for the clean energy economy, and partners closely with CTLR on events and industry collaboration.
Meet the 2021-2023 inaugural cohort and the 2022-2024 cohort of the Mária Telkes Fellowship. Applications for the 2023-2025 cohort will open in late spring 2023.
The program will match each fellow up with an experienced and well-connected senior leader in the cleantech industry, who will serve not only as a mentor but a sponsor who can foster relationship-building and professional growth to help champion their mentee on a path to executive leadership. This program is intended to help talented individuals tap into networking connections, positive exposure, and champion-building opportunities to realize their full potential for leadership. While certainly not a comprehensive solution to the lack of diversity in the cleantech industry, this initiative will help provide more inclusive and expanded access to professional growth opportunities. We seek to advance fellows with an interest in working in cleantech business, technology innovation, or nonprofit leadership.
The program is broad in focus and seeks to encourage diversity in all its forms, including but not limited to race, color, religion, culture, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, and economic status.
The fellowship is named for Mária Telkes (December 12, 1900 – December 2, 1995), a Hungarian-American biophysicist, scientist, and inventor who worked on solar energy technologies. Telkes is considered one of the founders of solar thermal storage systems, earning her the nickname “the Sun Queen.” She was a prolific inventor of practical thermal devices, including a miniature desalination unit (solar still) for use on lifeboats, which used solar power and condensation to collect potable water. She moved to Texas in the 1970s and consulted with a variety of start-up solar companies, including Northrup Solar, which subsequently became ARCO Solar, and eventually BP Solar. By the time of her death, at the age of 95, Mária held 20 patents, most of them relating to solar energy innovations. Rising through the cleantech industry in a time when many women faced significant barriers in the workforce, particularly in scientific areas, Mária can serve as an inspiration to future generations of cleantech leaders.