While it was wonderful to restart the newsletter least week, I have to admit that I still want to hide. I feel embarrassed. My life isn’t exactly perfect. (Spoiler alert: I’m a perfectionist to some degree.)
I feel embarrassed because I haven’t just picked something and stuck with it. I feel embarrassed because things keep changing, and when I share that we’re going to do this and then we do that, it feels like I didn’t follow through.
I also feel like hiding because I don’t feel like I’m a good person to be around. I’m not cheery all the time. Or rather, I’m not cheery very much at all. I put on a good face for a conversation, but it can be exhausting.
I don’t feel productive. I’m depressed. I don’t even go outside much.
My partner is also experiencing a lot of personal growth, but it’s been challenging. The lows were lows.
I’m sharing all this to acknowledge mental health. Undoubtedly, we all will feel some strange emotions as the world opens back up. It’s ok to have feelings. Feel them. COVID is a trauma that we all will carry with us through our entire life, like the Great Depression did for everyone who was alive during it. We know the kids are going to be different. We have to acknowledge that we are different.
All of this is to say that I am trepidatious about “catching up” with people. People I care about. I’m embarrassed. I go silent.
Talking about it publically, to the whole world, via this post is much easier for me than an individual conversation. Maybe it’s because I think that the other person might pick up on the fact that things aren’t perfect, and I’d have to explain myself. Or maybe I feel that the last year I haven’t accomplished anything. Stepping away from things as a form of self care is an accomplishment, but my heart doesn’t believe it yet. I’m beginning to acknowledge that this time is valid, as in, a valid use of my time.
Everything is on purpose. Or, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I don’t know what’s coming up, I can’t think much beyond next week.
What I DO know is that I’d like to start working part time, whether advising, or helping people build their personal websites, or consulting, or coaching startup founders. I look forward to speaking engagements again.
Thank you for listening.
BTW - I’m in St. Petersburg, Florida. If you find yourself around here, let me know.
I really like making websites. I also really like helping people discover and tell their stories, from the professional to the personal.
This website, that you are viewing right now, has served me for years. Having a website and being “discoverable” is crucial for professional and personal growth. Make it easy for the people who could want to work with you. List out your skills and experiences. Have links to what you’ve done. Put it all in one place, and link to it from all your other profiles.
What this package includes
What you’ll need to do:
Email me at emfoukes at gmail dot com.
It's been three years since I sent an email to my newsletter list.
When I started at Tesla, I stopped sending my weekly email of climate and tech events in the bay area.
Now that I've left Tesla, I thought it was fine time to restart.
What will this newsletter be now? I’m going back to my roots, where this weekly email was some news about energy and tech, then a list of events. Going forward, I start with energy and tech news and resources, then include something more ‘lifestyle’. For example, I have an off grid property in OR and I’m a foodie.
Please forward this email to anyone who could find it interesting and share whatever you like on social media.
To get started:
3 things from cleantech
To give a broader update: Much has changed.
Let's see... the past 3 yrs...
Priorities changed, so I...
With the new year:
I'm figuring out what's next, but my goal is relaxation and focusing on what matters. With all the change in the world, I’m sharing my story in case it can help anyone.
What the email used to be:
When I moved to the Bay Area, I didn't know many people so I went to interesting events to meet interesting people. I've been sending out an aggregated list of events in the Bay Area related to clean energy and technology for three years now. It's something I do in my "free time" so sometimes the formatting and notes are quite casual. Hope you enjoy it!
Below is my last post from April 12th, 2018:
"I joined Tesla's Leadership Development Program this week. It's a two year rotational program where I'll work on 6-month projects, eventually landing in a role where I can make the most impact to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
Me outside Tesla's Fremont factory on my second day at Tesla, in 2018.
It’s a custom 46’ Watercats sailing catamaran. It is 62’ tall and 24.5’ wide.
We picked it up in Freeport Florida, 3 hours inland from the gulf. It’s already been an adventure. This post is about all the pretty pictures. I’ll write more about the challenges later.
Yes, we’ve seen dolphins. They were swimming all around us.
We bought 150 acres in southern Oregon, on top of a mountain (technically a butte). We have views in every direction, including Mt. Shasta.
Our home perfectly frames Mt. Shasta.
A life bio/status update
As of May 2021, I am in St. Petersburg, Florida as our boat is being fixed up. We have a 46 foot sailing catamaran.
I am originally from Metro Detroit. Growing up, my dad was unemployed on and off from the time I was in 3rd grade. I know what financial insecurity feels like.
I funded undergraduate and graduate school for myself. I still have $100k of debt from it.
I worked at PG&E, a fortune 200 utility company in California, then briefly at a utility scale wind company. I was laid off and then I co-founded a startup, UtilityAPI. We built the product, grew the team, and funded the company. We raised private and public funding.
I was named a Forbes 30 under 30, I spoke at two White House events, and guest lectured at Stanford and Berkeley.
After 3 years it was time for something new and I consulted for a year, then joined Tesla's Leadership Development program. I had 6 bosses in the first 6 months. I ran a war room for Model 3 deliveries, tracked down vehicles and documented processes (or lack there of).
During end-of-quarter pressure, my husband sexually assaulted me. It was a tough time.
The leadership program was rotational, so I secured a new role in material flow engineering for the Shanghai Factory. The first week in the new job my boss for that role changed. After material flow, I joined inventory control. I am thankful to my bosses during that time.
I filed for divorce in June 2019. It was finalized later that year. I sold our condo.
In July 2019 I met Rus at Fly Ranch. We have been together ever since. We house sat for a few months and then settled into an apartment in Jack London Square in Oakland. I continued to work at Tesla.
I bought a Mazda Miata Convertible around Thanksgiving. He bought a van in February and worked on his tiny house on his property in Joshua Tree.
March: with the lockdown in sight, we decided to live #vanlife on this property and build tiny houses. I worked remotely. It was much better to be in a beautiful desert than in the anxiety-filled bay area. one month in, he dug a trench to run power and water to the property from the neighbor's house.
We were there for 2 months, then it became too hot. He also needed surgery in Los Angeles. He had sliced his left hand when cutting a bottle into a water bowl for some puppies we rescued in the desert.
After the surgery, we went back to Oakland, and social unrest started. Restaurants and businesses were boarded up, the Target was looted. The city I loved was unrecognizable. It didn't exist anymore. Covid fears and social unrest on top of it. It was too much. Why were we staying there? We stayed in the van around Sonoma for a few weeks, then returned to Oakland to pack our things up. Life was stressful to the point where I went on leave from Tesla. We dropped off most of our stuff in Joshua Tree, then headed to his parent's house in Phoenix.
My grandma died in May and we attended the memorial service in metro Detroit over the 4th of July weekend. My mom moved back in with my dad and brother.
We were there for 2 months, waiting for supplies to come in so we could really build out the van. It was over 115 degrees 90% of the days.
We found a property we liked in Oregon and bought it: 150 acres on a mountain top, with an off-grid home. Views in every direction. It had a metal exterior and reclaimed wood beams from a mill. We bought it sight unseen for $260k, less than anything in the bay area or even northern California.
When we arrived, visibility was under 200ft because of wildfires. We immediately had to go get the UTV we purchased because we couldn't get up our "driveway" with the van. We drove through just burned forests to get to bend for the UTV.
We settled into our place in Klamath Falls and I officially left Tesla in early December.
Rus and I married in December 2020.
The January 6 insurrection accelerated our plan to get a boat. We found the catamaran in February and closed on it in March. We hired a captain and flew to Pensacola, Florida to get it.
The captain sailed us into two storms. The main sail ripped and we lost an engine. Now, we're getting things repaired.
Professionally, I made my first angel investment and also spoke at an entrepreneurship event for the US State department.
The past year has been more challenging than what I can put into words right now. The world is suffering, and we feel that on the individual level in a myriad of ways. Depression is real. Mourning is real. I mourn the loss of the city I loved and the lifestyle I worked for. There are many more struggles that I have been through during this time, and I'm not ready to share them all. There were many dark days.
These posts compliment my weekly newsletter: