Chéri Smith

President & CEO

Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy

Chéri Smith is the founder, president, and chief executive officer of the Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy. She is a descendant of the Mi’kmaq Nation of present-day Northern Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. She founded the organization now known as the Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy in 2016. Chéri has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles in the energy sector, including as head of workforce and training for Tesla and SolarCity.

She was a founding director of the American Council on Renewable Energy and held senior advisory roles with the US Department of Energy SunShot initiatives: Solar Ready Vets, Solar Instructor Training Network, and Solar Career Map, and was a senior consultant for the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Chéri serves as an advisor to the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and served as an advisory board member for the Pennsylvania State University Masters of Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems program. She has been a long-time member of the core education committee for Solar Power International (now RE+), director of Native American projects for GivePower Foundation, and is a former Buffalo & Erie County, NY Workforce Investment Board Director. Chéri is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Indigenous Communities Fellow and MIT Solver. She won the 2022 GM Prize and was a finalist for the 2022 Elevate Prize. She is a Climate Leader, trained personally by Vice President Al Gore in the early days of The Climate Reality Project.

Chéri is studying for a Micromasters degree in solar energy engineering at Delft University of Technology and studied for her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration at Boston University. Chéri is the proud mother of a daughter in college and two sons (one an Army wounded veteran and the other a solar crew foreman), raising them on the shores of the ancestral homelands of the Narragansett in Rhode Island. Her husband is a Coast Guard Master Captain who – like her ancestors – makes his living as a fisherman.

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