Sungevity women leaders talk risk, resolve and respect in today’s solar industry
We know that it takes an ongoing commitment to training and mentorship to break gender biases. It means being willing to engage in tough conversations as a team, ensuring the executive team serves as a role model and making room for mentorship for women at every level.
Women now represent a higher percentage of the solar workforce than ever before. The Solar Foundation’s 2016 jobs census showed that women accounted for 72,753 solar workers – 28% of the total. This is up from 49,556 or 23.9% in 2015. We think that’s great, but it can still be much better. We’re dedicated to helping this trend along by providing leadership opportunities and support so that more women can succeed in solar.
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we invited some of Sungevity women leaders to offer their advice to women starting their careers in solar – and any industry.
Kelly Griswold // Senior Vice President, Business Development
Be authentic. Learn and grow, but don’t feel pressured to conform to something you think others want you to be. This can be difficult when a pretty narrow trail has been blazed with respect to women in positions of power. Don’t let that deter you. Don’t give up.
Anne Goodrich // Vice President, Brand Marketing
Get to know yourself. Be aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. And know that it’s okay to have weaknesses. Everyone does. Play to your strengths, focus on them and seek out roles that leverage them. Seek allies to help you shore up in other areas. You’ll be able to accomplish anything.
Laura Hunko // East Coast Recruiting Manager
Stand up for what you believe in the workplace. Ask questions, make suggestions and offer up solutions. However, don’t just make a suggestion. Know why you’re suggesting it. Back up your opinions and suggestions with data and facts to help influence company outcomes in the workplace and be taken seriously. Women also need to “ask” for more responsibility. Empower yourself! Take on a special project, ask questions, identify problem areas and always offer up solutions. If the playing field isn’t level, level it!
Shannon Everley // Vice President of Acquisition Marketing
Sometimes a bend in the road may look scary at first but as long as you continue to learn and grow, it’s a valuable detour. It’s not always a signal to jump the fence for a greener pasture. Sometimes when your boss/role/resources aren’t perfect it’s your best time to step up and shine. Also, run toward feedback. Ask for it and listen.
Hima Chintalapati // Director of Pricing and Financial Products
Don’t limit yourself to the narrow tasks that your management may have assigned to you. Rather, focus on what you love about your work and the larger business context of what you’re collectively trying to achieve with your co-workers. This means being curious and taking the time to understand requirements, asking lots of questions, and sounding out your thought process so that you can learn and grow. It also means being able to speak up and push back when you don’t agree with something. This isn’t “leaning in.’ Rather, it’s knowing how to hold your ground and being comfortable with yourself as you are. Remember that your managers are also learning from you all the time – your feedback will actually help them coach and mentor you better.
Add to the conversation. Contribute your advice in the comments section, and help more women become future leaders in solar and in every industry.