Employee Spotlights

Getting to know Persefoni: Meet James Newsome

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April 14, 2023
July 12, 2021
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James Newsome hiking
James Newsome / Persefoni

1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)

My pops was a truck driver, so throughout my childhood, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel across the United States, and I was always amazed by the diversity of people and places we would encounter. At some point during that time, I began to appreciate the journey more than the destination. I'm glad I learned this lesson early because my path to Persefoni has been one of the most amazing journeys of my life. About 18 months ago, Kentaro and I met up to discuss a company he was starting. At that time, I was leading Data Engineering and Data Science teams at a Fortune 500, but after he explained the opportunity we had to use data to solve one of the most immediate crises in our times, I was on board.

2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)

As the Head of Data Engineering and Data Science, I'm fortunate to lead a diverse and talented group of teammates who are amazing to work with, as we build a solution that enables organizations to manage and reduce their carbon emissions. As one of the earlier teammates at Persefoni, I was able to work alongside co-founder Kim Stroh to build out our backend data system from scratch. I spent a lot of time reading and then re-reading the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, making architecture decisions, and then scratching my head when a part of the codebase didn't work the way we needed it to. At this point in the platform's evolution, I now spend as much time building our Data Engineering and Data Science team as I do working with the other product teams on new features and enhancing our existing core platform features.

3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?)

I haven't lost hope that the world - as a team - will figure out how to decouple growth from increasing emissions at a rate that will enable us to mitigate the impact of Climate Change, and I believe Persefoni will be part of that story. I see it happening real-time with our customers. From my experience also in accounting and finance, I know first-hand that you can't improve what you can't measure. I hope that during my time at Persefoni, the idea of managing and reducing emissions becomes just as important as the company's bottom line.

4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)

Couldn't imagine any other home. However, for me, it's more personal, as Climate Change is a civil rights issue. Climate change disproportionately affects low-socioeconomic status households, and a lot of those households are people who look like me. These communities are often not able to prepare or rebuild their communities when natural disasters occur, along with having a greater likelihood of living without access to clean water and clean air. I truly believe these issues will not be addressed until there is accountability. Persefoni is in a great place to help cement this accountability, and that's why Persefoni is a great home for me. Now that I've been here, I really can't imagine being anywhere else.

5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)

I absolutely love being outdoors exploring! Whether that's backpacking, hiking, kayaking, or any other excuse to explore, that's me. However, there is a rule in my house that Saturday is a RUGBY DAY! More than anything, I enjoy watching my 14-yr-old son Isaiah compete on and off the rugby pitch - though sometimes I do miss the days I use to compete myself. Never know ... I may just have to dust off my cleats and get back out there.

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“Once in a Lifetime" is a series of articles designed to help our customers and partners learn more about Persefoni's truly passionate team. We're not just building award-winning software ... together, we're helping to decarbonize our planet.