LeChi (Chi) brings technical expertise to help clients conduct environmental impact assessments, implement regulatory permit compliance, and solve challenging environmental compliance issues with creative and practical solutions.
1. What is your favorite ESA moment/memory so far?
Working at ESA by accident. Yep. How is that even possible? I was initially hired as a junior botanist/intern by a PhD candidate from UC Davis, who was working on a project studying rare plants growing in Gabbro soils. The grant was funded and executed through ESA, and the PhD student was working in collaboration with an ESA biologist at the time. Once the field season was over, ESA decided to invest in me and hired me permanently. The rest is history!
2. What does it mean to you to be part of an employee-owned company?
I have a lot of pride in our company. There is a sense of belonging, ownership, and responsibility that is akin to being part of a family. This means that each professional moment is an opportunity for us to represent ESA the best we can.
3. What has been your favorite job in your career and why?
Hopefully it's obvious to those I know that ESA is my favorite "job." However, discounting ESA, my other favorite job was actually 2 jobs. Let me explain. I worked as a busser at Sun Mountain Lodge while I interned with Pacific Biodiversity Institute located in Winthrop, WA (kind in the middle of nowhere in the Cascade mountains). Imagine: dead of winter, deep snow, maybe 3 restaurants in the main strip of town, and the nearest movie theater is 2 hours away. These two jobs taught me to be patient, to be present, and to work hard for what you want. The lesson that came later once I was able to reflect was: to get where you want to be, you need to start somewhere. You need to take chances. It's hard to see where the leap will take you, but without the discomfort, there is no transformation.
4. What keeps you coming to work here at ESA every day?
The people! Sure, the paycheck is great for cat food and indoor soccer fees, but deep down it's the colleagues at ESA that motivate me to perform at my best daily. There is so much talent at ESA and I feel honored to be a part of "the team."
5. What is your hidden talent?
I'm kind of obsessed with personal finance and bio-hacking for improved cognitive and physical health. I dive deep and know a lot more than the average person about these topics. It's not really a hidden talent, more like a hidden passion!
6. What's your favorite thing to do when you are out of the office?
Play soccer! I learned how to play a few years ago when a few of us at the Sacramento office formed a co-ed team. I guess I'm hooked.
7. What are three skills that you bring to the ESA team? In other words, what should colleagues know to reach out to you about?
- I'm a great editor/senior reviewer for many different types of documents related to biological resources. I'm trained as a generalist biologist, so I have experience in producing a wide variety of written documents and conducting many types of fieldwork during the past 13 years.
- I can manage large teams and projects that require complex environmental permit compliance (like the CA High Speed Rail team) and love fast-paced work. I thrive on a bit of chaos. Call me if you have a big field deployment project that needs organization, leadership, and tools to help it run smoothly.
- I'm a collaborative, servant leader. This means whatever project I am involved in, I am there to serve the interest of the ESA team and our client. I ensure we succeed as a team, but also everyone on the team is heard and can exhibit their own sense of leadership.
8. What is the greatest bit of advice a parent or mentor has given you?
"Go for it." Although this seems like someone is giving you the permission to chase after what you want, I think many of us don't give ourselves that permission and we wait for others to tell us that. The only permission you need is from yourself.
Chi's passion for traveling and backpacking has taken her to many places around the world, including this crater lake in Iceland.