Faces of The Energy Co-op: Meryl Sands

By Georgia Mae Lively–1/28/2020

Meet Meryl Sands, our new Member Recruitment and Business Development Lead, who brings six years of renewable energy sales and management experience to The Energy Co-op. Meryl is also an avid cyclist and theater person. Our Member Services Associate, Georgia Mae Lively, sat down with them to help introduce them to The Energy Co-op community:


Georgia Mae Lively: In your own words: what do you do for The Energy Co-op?

Meryl Sands: I’m the member recruitment and business development lead, and that means my job is growing our membership and engaging the members we already have, as well as working with local businesses and organizations to create partnerships and connections.  I will also be running workshops and trainings to help our members gain the skills to bring in new members and help the community understand energy better.

GML: What originally brought you to Philadelphia?

MS: I went to Swarthmore College for undergrad.  I liked that it was only a couple hours from New York City (which is where I’m from).  While I was there, I had a professor who really wanted all of us move to Philly and practice theater here. Growing up in New York, I had always thought that being a theater artist meant your full-time job would be auditioning.  But he presented a very different idea that really appealed to me: you could have a sustainable life as an artist in Philadelphia.  So, I moved to Philly after graduating and I stayed here.  And it was then, when I was brand new and trying to figure out how to be a person in the world, that I started selling renewable electricity.

GML: Since your educational background is in theater and performance, how do you use those skills in your work at The Energy Co-op?

MS: Well, of course there’s a performative aspect to leading trainings and meeting new people.  But my training is really in collaborative creation, so I’m excited to use that background to work collaboratively with our member volunteers on growing our membership and furthering our mission.  I feel really grounded in the power of laughter and storytelling to open people’s minds and change the world.

GML: Here’s a scenario for you: one of your friends is visiting Philadelphia for the day.  What do you tell them to do and/or see and/or eat in that one day?

MS: When I have a friend visiting, I nearly always take them to Fiume, which is a speakeasy style, tiny cocktail bar with live music on top of Abyssinia, an Ethiopian restaurant. You can get the Ethiopian food brought up to the bar, and it’s the most special, perfect thing.

GML: How do you practice sustainability in your own life?

MS: Well, I love riding bikes.  I think of my bike as my car. I can do pretty much anything with it.  I was vegan for about seven years. I’m now pescatarian, but food and eating sustainably is something that feels important to me.  I really try not to make trash, so I carry a water bottle, travel mug, fork, knife, handkerchief, and reusable straw with me pretty much everywhere I go, even when I’m traveling.

GML: Do you have any goals or resolutions for 2020?

MS: My personal goal is to spend at least three hours a week in my studio, working on artmaking.  I also have the goal of increasing our membership. I’m so excited to meet our members, get to know them, and work with them. I have a big goal of building as many relationships as possible with our members, which is exciting because I love making new friends.