Growing up in Massachusetts and California, Taylor Lane (MBA/JD 2018) went hiking and rock climbing with family and friends in Maine and the Rocky Mountains. “I came to value the importance of open spaces and conservation,” she says. “I find being outside both inspiring and calming.” That love for the natural world led to a question for Lane: How to deliver affordable, reliable, sustainable energy with the lowest possible environmental impact.


In college, she had always seen herself as a lawyer, attracted to the problem-solving aspect of the work. “The energy sector is heavily regulated, so there’s an incredibly valuable role for experienced legal expertise in the sector,” says Lane, who spent three years working at PowerAdvocate to help energy companies comply with new EPA regulations in a cost-effective way. “At the same time, creative business models were emerging that enabled investors to earn a healthy return in industries, with the dual purpose of being clean and improving our electric generation mix,” she recalls. “That was inspiring—it seemed like such a creative way to align stakeholders and unlock this enormous market. I began to think that if I could measure my career success, it would be by bringing capital to work to address climate change.” After enrolling at Harvard Law School, Lane entered the dual degree program with HBS to gain a deeper understanding of how to apply business models from different sectors to challenges in the energy industry.

“HBS has been a phenomenal experience so far,” says Lane, who serves as co-president of the Energy & Environment Club. “Many people come to HBS for career-switching purposes, so the club offers a number of peer-to-peer learning sessions across a variety of topics to address the need to build knowledge in the sector.” Community building is another priority: “We want to provide opportunities for likeminded students to meet outside their section,” she says. “Some of the most valuable advice I’ve received has come from folks in the club who either worked in the industry before HBS or introduced me to someone in their network who could speak about it.”

The club has also coordinated with the Business and Environment Initiative to present alumni panels on careers in clean tech. “The activation energy required to enter this field is higher because there isn’t the same recruiting presence as some other companies,” Lane says, noting that the BEI also set her up with an alumni mentor: “It’s been so helpful to have that guidance, and to get some perspective on what your career could look like five or ten years out of HBS.”

During a summer internship, Lane worked on the storage development team at NextEra Energy, a publicly traded company with the largest wind and solar portfolio in the United States. Next she’d like to consider the financing side of the equation. Exploring her options, Lane feels certain that clean energy is the best fit for her. “This field is fundamental to our nation’s welfare,” she says. “We’re blessed with incredible natural resources, but climate change is the biggest challenge facing our generation—so how can we harness private sector capital to create the opportunities that will address that challenge while delivering meaningful returns to the market?” Lane hopes to work alongside many others to address that question in the years ahead.

This story was originally published by the Business and Environment Initiative.