Molly Podolefsky is a Director in Guidehouse’s Sustainability practice and serves as People Development and Delivery Lead for North America. In this role, Molly oversees recruiting, hiring, staffing, culture, education and training for a team of over 40 sustainability professionals. Molly also serves as Guidehouse’s global lead of environmental, social and governance (ESG) sustainability solutions and capabilities. Additionally, Dr. Podolefsky leads a team of over 40 engineers, sustainability professionals and data analysts in India on Guidehouse’s Global Energy Team (GET).
Molly designed, built and brought to market Guidehouse’s ESG strategy and reporting solution suite, developing the tools, templates and processes to deliver world-class ESG services to large corporations and agencies across North America and the globe. She recruited, hired and trained a team of ESG professionals who serve on engagements providing ESG services to a wide variety of organizations from government agencies to tech startups to multi-billion-dollar, multinational corporations in the restaurant, healthcare, life sciences, retail, banking, finance and energy sectors. Bringing her deep experience with behavioral economics, energy-equity issues, environmental justice, diversity and inclusion and quantitative analysis to ESG, Molly has produced a unique line of ESG offerings pairing quantitative rigor with deeply human-centric methods and an emphasis on the social (S) aspects of ESG.
Dr. Podolefsky currently manages ESG engagements with agencies and firms across a wide array of industries. Typical engagements involve guiding a firm through analysis of its current state, peer benchmarking, ratings analysis and optimization, materiality assessment, ESG roadmap and strategy development, and formal ESG reporting and disclosure. As a leader in ESG, Molly regularly meets with boards of directors and executive leadership teams of major corporations, building consensus around and fluency in ESG topics and issues. An avid public speaker, Dr. Podolefsky routinely presents on ESG, environmental justice and sustainability topics to industry organizations, law firms and utility leadership, helping groups navigate and understand the rapidly changing ESG landscape. Molly recently concluded a two-year research and strategy engagement for NYSERDA helping develop a plan to provide equitable access to cooling for vulnerable NYC populations in the face of climate change, while mitigating associated increases in grid load. Leveraging deep expertise in stakeholder engagement, she conducted structured dialogues with community groups, environmental justice and climate action groups, state and local government officials, technology vendors, scientists, university researchers and medical experts to conceive a holistic city-wide plan maximizing benefits for traditionally marginalized communities.
Dr. Podolefsky earned her doctorate in Economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with an emphasis in energy and environmental economics, focusing her research on the effectiveness of solar incentives in California. Her dissertation utilizes a cutting-edge geographic discontinuity method to quantify the effectiveness of the California Solar Initiative at incentivizing residential solar adoption. This research was published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (JAERE) in 2015. Dr. Podolefsky taught undergraduate courses on micro and macroeconomics, mathematics, industrial organization and game theory at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Denver campuses during her Ph.D. work. Previously, Dr. Podolefsky worked as a mortgage broker and taught math, science and English as a Second Language (ESL) in the Los Angeles Unified School District for many years. She draws inspiration from her experiences as an economist, social scientists and sustainability practitioner from her early career experiences teaching and learning from young people in inner-city Los Angeles, advocating for social and environmental justice on behalf of students, families and communities.