Leynah McGarghan, Experiential Strategist at REACH Strategies, did not expect to land in the world of electric transportation. “I was a history major! I wanted to work in museum curation,” she laughs. Having been raised in a community where sustainability and environmental impact was important, she ended up working with her college’s sustainability team on event planning, and found her way to REACH. She relates her experience working on projects to her interest in museum curation: “The design, the education, and working from the ground up all fit into the curating aspects that I love so much.” The rest, as they say, is history. Leynah is a powerful force in this field; having helped launch the Recharge America program, she has worked with hundreds of entities to help them actively engage with their communities. From participating in hundreds of test drives to REACH’s new virtual education curriculum, Leynah has led the charge in breaking down barriers between community members and their understanding and adoption of EVs.
Leynah’s ambition is for EVs to become the norm, not the exception. She cites the high levels of advocacy for EV adoption in countries like Norway and the UK as examples of why EVs aren’t just a trend: “They have so much availability with electric vehicles and infrastructure that it doesn’t make sense for people to buy petroleum vehicles anymore.” She reflects, “Maybe down the line that’s something that will transfer to the US, but people aren’t immediately thinking about it. That’s something that we really need to work on.” Apart from encouraging availability, Leynah sees the opportunity for utility companies to educate their customers as a huge step toward widespread adoption. Somerville, Massachusetts has even allowed EV drivers to charge off lampposts, which are hardwired for outlets, an idea that Leynah thinks could have been instrumental had the program continued. “There are ways to think outside the box,” she says.
As for what inspires her about her job, Leynah is very clear: “Seeing that EV smile!” She recalls moments during test drives when potential drivers’ minds changed from an EV naysayer to an EV enthusiast: “Having that experience is what I enjoy the most.” Similarly inspiring is the huge number of women she has worked with in this field. “It’s really a female empowerment club,” Leynah remarks, “Everyone I have worked with in the clean transportation field has been a woman.” She’s full of advice for the newer generation of people interested in working in the clean transportation field, especially people whose voices don’t ordinarily get heard from as much. “This is a field in which someone who’s just trying to find their voice can really flourish,” she says, “I highly encourage people to work in clean transportation, especially women.” After all, women are going to rule the world, and as Leynah puts it, “We’ll do it with EVs!”
Tune in soon for another blog post in our series: Celebrating Women in EVs – Women’s History Month