Christianne Sanchez Robinson enjoyed her career in advertising. But eight years in, she realized that climbing the ladder to become a chief marketing officer wasn’t something she wanted to do.
Robinson started considering graduate school. Her mom—who worked at a law firm as what they called a runner at the time, carrying messages and legal documents around the office—recommended that her daughter give law school a shot. At first, Robinson dismissed the idea, but after thinking about the skills needed to be a successful lawyer—reading, writing, analytical thinking—she decided to give it a go.
The Austin native attended the University of Houston Law Center. After graduating, she worked for a couple of small firms before landing at Just Energy in 2012.
Just Energy, Robinson explains, sells natural gas and electricity supply to residential and commercial customers under long-term fixed-price, price-protected, or variable-priced contracts. The company also offers energy efficient solutions and green energy products.
“It feels like I found my fit,” Robinson says. “For me, the in-house route was something I was really familiar with, because this was my second career and I’d already been in that corporate world. I really felt like my skills as a marketing person helped me transition to being part of a business team.”
Over almost a decade at the company, she’s seen a lot of transitions, but she’s always rolled with the changes. Robinson started out as legal counsel, and in 2018, she was promoted to senior legal counsel.
“I have benefited greatly from mentoring opportunities,” Robinson notes. And she tries to pay that forward, most recently by offering mentorship and providing engaging projects to a paralegal team member.
“I share about experiences from my own path and help her along in her own professional journey,” Robinson says. “I try to lead by example and be very open. Anytime my direct report, my paralegal, or anyone needs me, my door is open. I try to be available, listen, and work on solutions together. Knowing we are all on the same team is very important to reaching that common goal.”
Being in-house requires Robinson to be a jack-of-all-trades. In general, her responsibilities are to support all of Just Energy’s teams—operations, sales, IT, HR—drafting and negotiating agreements and helping people navigate anything with any legal implications.
Robinson has also played a key role in Terrapass, the environmental solutions arm of the business that works toward a more sustainable planet by pursuing solutions to climate change. She explains that Terrapass provides customers with renewable energy credits and carbon offsets to lessen the impact of their carbon footprint.
“With the urgency of climate change, we are well focused on providing consumers—individuals and businesses—with the ability to reduce their environmental footprint,” Robinson explains. “One of our latest initiatives is a cryptocurrency offering, Terrapass Coin. We know customers want more control and visibility over their purchases, especially with something as intangible as carbon offsets. Cryptocurrency is something a customer can buy, sell, or trade, and it’s a hot market right now. Introducing this digital asset gives customers control over the carbon offsets they purchase and a better connection with the environmentally sustainable projects they’re supporting.”
Something else she’s proud of is working closely with sales and supporting what she calls the “lifeblood of our company.” Robinson likes to refute the belief that legal is the antithesis of the sales department, and she does what she can to help them achieve their goals.
“It’s up to me to get things turned around quickly and ensure that I’m not the bottleneck when we’re trying to sign up a new vendor, get them in store, and get them selling our product,” she notes. “I take pride in being quick, being diligent, and thinking creatively.”
All in all, Robinson takes pride in the role she plays to facilitate Just Energy’s ability to bring its core electricity and natural gas commodities, energy-efficient solutions, and evolving sustainable options to a broad range of consumers. “I am proud of what Just Energy has been able to achieve, and I look forward to doing what I can to help the company as well as my teammates succeed,” Robinson enthuses. “I’m excited about what the future holds!”
In addition to her great work at Just Energy, Christianne Sanchez Robinson regularly provides legal services to those who need it most. She volunteers for Houston Volunteer Lawyers, working mostly on family law cases.
To help one client—a woman seeking a divorce from her husband, who had been in jail for years—Robinson had to learn the dynamics of serving papers to someone in prison. She also volunteers her time answering legal questions on the phone, offering advice, and guiding people on the right path.
“It’s very different from my day-to-day in-house. I think it’s important to train your brain in different ways so you don’t get stuck,” she says. “It’s really rewarding to help people navigate the legal system.”
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