Heidi VanGenderen is the Director of External Affairs in the Office of Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to this role, she served as the Director of Public Engagement in the office. In these capacities, Ms. VanGenderen has helped implement a multi-faceted public engagement and outreach program to convey the Department’s activities, the Administration’s energy priorities, and help facilitate a robust, ongoing policy discussion with Departmental officials and stakeholders on all issues within Department’s jurisdiction.
Ms. VanGenderen has worked on energy and climate issues in the non-profit, public, academic, and private sectors as an organizer, writer, researcher, and public speaker for the majority of her professional career. Prior to her current post, she served as Director of National and Regional Outreach for the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) where she was part of the policy team. Prior to ACORE, she served as a Senior Energy Advisor for the Worldwatch Institute.
A Colorado native, Ms. VanGenderen previously served as Colorado’s first gubernatorial climate advisor, where she oversaw the creation of the state’s first Climate Action Plan.
Ms. VanGenderen helped establish Colorado’s citizen-initiated renewable energy standard. As a Senior Associate, Ms. VanGenderen worked closely with the Wirth Chair in Environmental and Community Development Policy at the University of Colorado’s Graduate School of Public Affairs for eight years where she focused predominantly on energy and climate change. She also served as Deputy Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, a private initiative focused on developing policy recommendations on climate and energy security.
A graduate of Carleton College, Ms. VanGenderen is also a 2009 alumna of the Chevening Fellowship program, focusing on finance and investment in a low-carbon economy.