The emergence of an increasing number of programs focused on driving equity and equality for women in male-dominated industries is a step in the right direction; it’s vital that the same focus is allocated to industries now beginning to gain traction. Thanks to recent measures introduced by the Federal Government in an effort to slow the progression of climate change, the renewable energy industry is one such sector that has seen significant growth over recent years. However, the fact remains that women represent 26 percent of the entire solar power workforce when this can be more.
While the specific reasons for this statistic aren’t explored in the study, it stands to reason that the historical implications of women working within male-dominated industries can be a factor. In an effort to remedy this, Solar Energy Partners, affectionately known as SEP, a whiteglove solar power service with the mission to make installing home solar power systems easy, is championing the women of their workforce. As such, Jodi Cahn, North Bay Assistant District Manager at SEP has met with us to discuss her experience and thoughts around working with the organization and in the solar power industry as a woman. Read on to learn more.
What was your background prior to working for SEP? Was there a catalyst that made you decide to enter the solar industry?
“Prior to my move to SEP I worked in the film industry as a Writer, Director and Producer while supporting myself as a seminar leader, teaching professionals business negotiation skills. During this time, I realized just how serious climate change and global warming is, so I started training with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality Leader. My resourcefulness from the film industry, the people skills gained through corporate training, and my passion about the planet and taking action to curb climate change made the transition to my current position at SEP quite logical. I’m motivated to make a meaningful impact through my work – it’s a bonus that I can make enough money to support my family while doing it.”
It’s clear your progression to solar was natural, did you encounter any challenges while making the transition?
“Yes! Sales is a whole different beast compared to the film industry and corporate training. Luckily, some of those skills are transferable, but I did have to rapidly adapt, learn how to self-motivate even when it felt tough, and learn about solar power systems as opposed to the knowledge I already had around climate change. The experience has been exhilarating, however, and it does continue to stretch me in the best of ways. I believe this experience and overcoming the challenges presented to me has made me a much stronger and well-rounded person and salesperson.”
Was there a particular draw for you to work with SEP?
“I didn’t take this decision lightly, and from my research – SEP stood out. The organization is driven by a group of passionate and caring partners, who not only want to make a positive difference, but also understand the importance of training their sales teams. My favorite thing is the camaraderie, the continued support and encouragement to chase and catch the mastodon – that big sale – every day, as well as the opportunity to strengthen myself as an individual and build on my professional skills.
As a woman, what has your experience been like working with SEP? Have you found the solar power industry to be welcoming for women?
“To answer your question about the industry being welcoming, yes and no. The reason why I say no is because the industry as a whole is heavily dominated by men, and that can be overwhelming sometimes as it’s quite competitive and that aspect doesn’t particularly resonate with me – though I’m sure it does for some women! That said, SEP is totally supportive of me and the women I work with – I’m never short of opportunities for collaboration or to give and receive support, so I think it’s quite balanced overall.”
Would you recommend other women to work with SEP? What level of support could they expect?
“Of course! At SEP talent is valued regardless of gender. Hard work and dedication are the most important keys to success within the business, and if you are willing to put in the work you will be recognized, applauded and appreciated. In the solar business it’s about numbers – if you achieve the right numbers, you will receive the appropriate recognition, as well as financial success, no matter who you are.
As for support, I have never been left wanting. I receive a massive level of support and guidance from both the organization and the colleagues I work with. SEP provides ongoing training and personal mentoring, so on that level, the organization is unparalleled for me. I have never before received this kind of support in any of my past roles.”
What is the number one benefit of working with a company like SEP? Do you believe that you’re remunerated in line with your male colleagues in similar positions?
“As I said earlier, the support is definitely the number one benefit of working with SEP. That, however, is almost tied with the financial opportunities and potential for wealth creation. The business is very firm in its belief that all sales representatives are created equal, and our pay is the same based on our experience, performance and accomplishments. As a whole, it’s very transparent.”
Please learn more about Solar Energy Partners, please visit: https://solarenergy.partners