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Welcome to SOLV Energy's Cultural Corner! As a way to illuminate our DEI path, we have introduced a new series highlighting diverse perspectives on career and life featuring members of our SOLV Energy team. Cultural Corner will build awareness and encourage appreciation for our variant cultural backgrounds!

Tell me about yourself. Who are you? Where did you grow up? How do you identify? My name is Vanessa Leite. I identify as a gay, first generation Portuguese American. My mother emigrated from the Azores and my father emigrated from the Northern mountains of Portugal. I grew up in a diverse town in New Jersey, called Union, where I learned to appreciate and celebrate culture.

What do you value most? I value family, connection, and nature the most. Treat others the way you want to be treated; including the planet.

What were you told as a child that you still believe today? “A união faz a força” which translates to, “In union there is strength”. I grew up playing soccer and being part of a team. This helped me to understand that we are more powerful when we come together.

How does your cultural heritage influence who you are? Growing up in a Portuguese household I saw how hard my parents worked to create the life we had. They taught me resiliency, how important community is, to be passionate about life and to respect the Earth we live in.

What family traditions or superstitions do you have? When the Portuguese national team plays and one of our family members doesn’t have on a jersey, the team will inevitably lose.

What cultural similarities and differences do you have with your closest co-workers? While my co-workers and I come from varying backgrounds and are all in different stages in our lives, we are all passionate about making an impact in the world.

Please share something that you’d like everyone at SOLV to know about your cultural heritage. The Azores and mainland Portugal are beautiful places to visit and immerse yourself in a culture centered around food, community, and nature.

Why is it important to you that SOLV Energy recognizes Pride Month? In today’s world where everything is so politicized and hateful, it brings me great joy to work for a company that celebrates pride month and talks about it openly. We need allies at a time like this and having SOLV Energy, the leader in utility scale EPC solar, be upfront and open about being supportive of pride month brings a true feeling of acceptance and belonging to me and to others in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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