The Sunnyside Podcast

The Sunnyside Podcast makes solar energy relatable, accessible and attainable to businesses. Through this podcast you’ll hear directly from solar industry veteran, Sharon Lee, as she takes you behind-the-scenes with industry titans and shares her experience of balancing the role of Vice President of Sales at a top Solar company with being a ”boy mom”, wife and rabid college football fan. Learn more at www.VeloSolar.com.

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Episodes

2 days ago

Episode Summary: In this episode, Sharon Lee talks with Brooke Haman about the latest innovations in renewable energy and how Georgia Power has incorporated them. Brooke tells us how the solar industry has gone through a multidimensional change that has affected not only the ways in which energy is produced but also the consumers' desires and needs. Additionally, she deepens on her work values and the importance of mentorship and inclusion for her, and how she has incorporated them into programs at Georgia Power.   Sharon Lee Sharon Lee taps over a decade of solar sales experience, having led the creation of a solar division for a leading manufacturing/construction firm, resulting in over 17 MW of solar in its portfolio as well as solar ultimately becoming its highest-grossing revenue vertical. Lee has been involved in the GA Solar Energy Association, serving on the board of directors as the marketing chair, organizing the annual conference, as well as vice-chair, and ultimately the first female chair of the organization in 2015. She is also a charter member of the Professional Women in Building chapter of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Women in Solar Energy (WISE). Lee earned her B.S. degree in communications with double minors in marketing and psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, after spending three years at the University of Tennessee in the pre-health curriculum. Lee is the mom of two boys, ages 14 and 11, and a rabid college football fan. She and her husband, John, spend most of their free time at the baseball or football fields unless they can steal away for a quick round of golf.   Brooke Haman Brooke is in charge of the managing strategy, design, and implementation of renewable energy procurement and self-build programs in Georgia Power. Throughout her trajectory, she has worked with companies like the Southern Company system teams and industry stakeholders like an External Affairs Project Manager to investigate and include emerging technologies as part of Georgia Power's generation fleet and/or customer offerings. Brooke has worked on Georgia Power for over 10 years as  Renewable Energy Principal, Renewable Development Lead, Green and Renewable Energy Project Manager, Metro Sales, and Energy Efficiency Project Manager. She is currently the Renewable Customer Projects Supervisor.   Insights from this Episode What has happened in Sharon's life lately How did a communication major end up in the solar industry What changes has Brooke Haman noticed in the solar industry How the definition of utility-scale has changed over the years How does Brooke manage mentorship with her co-workers The reason why Brooke's group in Georgia Power attracts women in the solar industry The importance of accessibility for the renewables programs The relationship between Georgia Power and the Public Service Commission The purpose of the rate case   Quotes from the Show:  “We as consumers look at every single day businesses that we choose to patronize or places we choose to purchase something… and you’ll see that they all have these little stamp that they are carbon neutral or you know, they’re doing their part”- Brooke Haman in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “To me is sort of the spirit of mentorship [the one] you have to build, you know, you have to build horizontally and vertically because I can’t do it all on my own right? Um, chicks that know what they are doing”- Brooke Haman in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “We got [Georgia Power] a lot of customers with a lot of renewable goals and needs and we want to be part of the solution, but we just really want to work to find that solution on the front end instead of the back end”- Brooke Haman in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “[About Georgia Power] really trying to be more carbon-free with our generation resources and at the same time provide more renewable programs for customers to participate in as they have those goals”- Brooke Haman in “The Sunnyside Podcast”   Stay Connected:   Sharon Lee LinkedIn: Sharon Lee  Facebook: Sharon Lee   Brooke Haman LinkedIn: Brooke Haman Georgia Power: https://www.georgiapower.com/   Subscribe to our podcast + download each episode on Spotify.   This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Tuesday Jul 05, 2022

Episode Summary: In this episode, Sharon Lee talks with Amanda Bybee about how her profound desire to generate an impact in the world in her early 20s led her to work with solar energy. Amanda tells us a little bit about her background and her professional trajectory that landed in the solar industry. In this way, she talks about O&M, what is the focus of the company, the business strategies, and in general how she has developed herself as a professional with ONM before and after the pandemic as a woman.   Sharon Lee Sharon Lee taps over a decade of solar sales experience, having led the creation of a solar division for a leading manufacturing/construction firm, resulting in over 17 MW of solar in its portfolio as well as solar ultimately becoming its highest-grossing revenue vertical. Lee has been involved in the GA Solar Energy Association, serving on the board of directors as the marketing chair, organizing the annual conference, as well as vice-chair, and ultimately the first female chair of the organization in 2015. She is also a charter member of the Professional Women in Building chapter of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Women in Solar Energy (WISE). Lee earned her B.S. degree in communications with double minors in marketing and psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, after spending three years at the University of Tennessee in the pre-health curriculum. Lee is the mom of two boys, ages 14 and 11, and a rabid college football fan. She and her husband, John, spend most of their free time at the baseball or football fields unless they can steal away for a quick round of golf.   Amanda Bybee Ms. Bybee has worked in the solar industry since 2003. Her entrée was promoting renewable energy policy in Austin, TX at Public Citizen, where she served as the coordinator of the Solar Austin Campaign. The campaign worked closely with Austin Energy to establish the first solar rebate program in Texas in 2004. Ms. Bybee then went on to work at Meridian Energy Systems, a solar EPC company. Ms. Bybee joined Namasté Solar in January 2006 as an early member of the team. She held numerous roles over her 11 years there, from technical sales & design to business development. While there, she worked to obtain a federal charter for a unique financial institution that funds clean energy products and services: Clean Energy Credit Union (www.cleanenergycu.org). This was only the 17th federal charter issued since 2010 and the first in the state of Colorado for over 30 years. She continues to serve as a volunteer on the Supervisory Committee of the credit union. In 2016, she helped earn an award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to found the Amicus O&M Cooperative (www.AmicusOM.com). The O&M Cooperative brings together a network of providers across the country to provide coordinated services for geographically distributed portfolios. She now serves as its CEO, and is committed to the mission "to ensure that solar PV fulfills its promise as a responsible and reliable energy source, for generations to come." She obtained a BA in English and French from the University of Texas at Austin, and through solar, has found her "inner engineer."   Insights from this Episode Amanda's professional trajectory How Amanda landed the solar energy field Amanda's personal background What is a cooperative approach in terms of the energy business What is Amanda looking for in the members of O&M The importance of the geographic scope for the members of O&M The environment that O&M seeks to create on a corporative level What a female style of leadership means to Amanda What advantages has Amanda found in this style of leadership How the pandemic changed the working style in general The importance of mentorship The importance of technology for climate change friendly practices in the solar industry Projects in which Amanda is working on   Quotes from the Show:  “When I graduated college I knew that I wanted to do impactful work and I thought if I was gonna line up all the problems in the world as dominos, what are the dominos that are in front of the line that is affecting everything else”- Amanda Bybee in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “[About O&M] We’ve been also working within the membership to ensure that our technicians are trained to a certain standard, to ensure that all carry the safety credentials, to ensure that we are approaching the work in a way that is safe, efficient and profitable”- Amanda Bybee in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “[About feminine leadership] When you are responsible for running a business that is situated in a historical context of these life-altering events, I really feel it's like…a call for a new kind of leadership ”- Amanda Bybee in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “All these quarantine periods and … making space for your employees to deal with  both mental trauma associated with all these stuff and as well as the physical aspects of it, these all add up to to a lot of new business challenges”- Amanda Bybee in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “Studies also show that managers tend to perceive greater productivity from workers that come into the office and when you’re working from home you do not tend to establish the same type of sticky emotional bonds with your coworkers, you don’t have the opportunities to facetime with your manager as much”- Amanda Bybee in “The Sunnyside Podcast”   Stay Connected:   Sharon Lee LinkedIn: Sharon Lee  Facebook: Sharon Lee   Amanda Bybee LinkedIn: Amanda Bybee    Subscribe to our podcast + download each episode on Spotify. This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Tuesday Jun 07, 2022

Episode Summary: In this episode, Sharon Lee talks with Mary-Hayden Britton, a very talented woman who landed in the solar industry by accident but has remained strong and influential 8 years later. Here we talk about a little bit of who Mary-Hayden Britton is, not only as a worker in the solar industry, but as a mom and woman, what role she has in Velo Solar and how she is constantly trying to evolve by helping other women maximize their positions and careers in the solar industry, which is traditionally dominated by males.   Sharon Lee: Sharon Lee taps over a decade of solar sales experience, having led the creation of a solar division for a leading manufacturing/construction firm, resulting in over 17 MW of solar in its portfolio as well as solar ultimately becoming its highest grossing revenue vertical. Lee has been involved in the GA Solar Energy Association, serving on the board of directors as the marketing chair, organizing the annual conference, as well as vice chair, and ultimately the first female chair of the organization in 2015. She is also a charter member of the Professional Women in Building chapter of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Women in Solar Energy (WISE). Lee earned her B.S. degree in communications with double minors in marketing and psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, after spending three years at the University of Tennessee in the pre-health curriculum. Lee is the mom of two boys, ages 14 and 11 and a rabid college football fan. She and her husband, John, spend most of their free time at the baseball or football fields, unless they can steal away for a quick round of golf.   Mary-Hayden Britton: Mary-Hayden Britton has a Bachelor in Science from Elon University and a Masters in Human Resources from Cornell University. She is currently the Director of Operations of Velo Solar, but in past years she has worked as the Director of Service of Hannah Solar LLC, and the Sales Administrator of SolarMax. She participates in different important groups of the solar energy field such as TenneSEIA (Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association) and the Solar Energy Group. She is a great believer in mentoring and networking, which is why she always tries to give more light to women and help them rise in the solar industry.   Insights from this Episode: How long has Mary been with Velo? How Sharon and Mary landed for accident in the solar industry? The mentors that have influenced Mary during her career How Mary got involved in mentoring other women The challenges in the solar industry What makes Velo Solar unique Mary’s relationship with her son   Quotes from the Show:  “[About inclusivity in Velo Solar] These are not traditional support admin roles and I think that it's great that we’re showcasing diverse roles as women at Velo”- Mary-Hayden Britton in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “I did learn along the way that I should be mentoring other women so I did make it a priority to do that from each company that I’ve been involved with and I encourage women to get also involved in network and continue to grow and learn as they build their way up”- Mary-Hayden Britton in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “[About challenges of the solar industry] Given the state of the world we’re seeing a lot of shortages in supplies so we have had to constantly look at new technology and come up with other solutions”- Mary-Hayden Britton in “The Sunnyside Podcast”   Stay Connected:   Sharon Lee LinkedIn: Sharon Lee  Facebook: Sharon Lee   Mary-Hayden Britton LinkedIn: Mary-Hayden Britton    Subscribe to our podcast + download each episode on Spotify.   This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Tuesday May 10, 2022

Episode Summary: In this episode, Sharon Lee talks with Abigail Ross Hopper, a woman who was a lawyer trying to figure out how to be a professional and a mom, and who landed in the solar industry by accident. Here we talk about a little bit of who Abigail Hopper is, how she has worked hard to create spaces for women and people of color for them to find their voice not only in the solar industry, but also in the professional environment. Abby tells us how she has built her way up in the solar industry, what are some of the latest updates of the solar industry towards cybersecurity in terms of policies and strategies.   Sharon Lee: Sharon Lee taps over a decade of solar sales experience, having led the creation of a solar division for a leading manufacturing/construction firm, resulting in over 17 MW of solar in its portfolio as well as solar ultimately becoming its highest grossing revenue vertical. Lee has been involved in the GA Solar Energy Association, serving on the board of directors as the marketing chair, organizing the annual conference, as well as vice chair, and ultimately the first female chair of the organization in 2015. She is also a charter member of the Professional Women in Building chapter of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Women in Solar Energy (WISE). Lee earned her B.S. degree in communications with double minors in marketing and psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, after spending three years at the University of Tennessee in the pre-health curriculum. Lee is the mom of two boys, ages 14 and 11 and a rabid college football fan. She and her husband, John, spend most of their free time at the baseball or football fields, unless they can steal away for a quick round of golf.   Abigail Hopper: Abigail Ross Hopper is the President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America's solar energy industries. She oversees all of SEIA's activities, including government affairs, research, communications, and industry leadership, and is focused on creating a marketplace where solar will constitute a significant percentage of America’s energy generation. Before joining SEIA, Abby was the Director of the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, where she led the agency that oversaw the leasing and development of all offshore energy, from oil and natural gas to offshore wind. Abby graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland School of Law and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College. She is the very proud mom of three children and loves to read, ride her Peloton, do hot yoga and lie on the beach in her (not so free) time.   Insights from this Episode: What brought Abby into the solar industry What inspired Abby to bring women in the solar industry together How being a woman impacted Abby’s career How the impact of women has changed over the five years Where Abby sees the most opportunity for young women in their careers How does solar energy relate with cybersecurity What does Abby see as a long term strategy for the US solar industry Long term problems of the solar industry Where is solar industry today General information about SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association)    Quotes from the Show: “There is no one career path, specially for young women who are kind of struggling with: how do I be a mom and how do I be a professional, there’s no one way and there is also no timeline”- Abigail Hopper in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “I love being a woman and I love the comradery I feel with a lot of my colleagues who are women. I love talking to young girl women or women early in their careers who are really trying to figure out how to be a mom and how to be a professional and how to shift back and forth in those roles over the curse of the day ”- Abigail Hopper in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “Solar companies are just like any other rational economic actor, there’s nothing fundamentally altruistic about  them, they’re not necessarily motivated by just making everyone feel good about their energy use, you got to make payroll, you got to pay taxes”- Abigail Hopper in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “Solar is going to be the predominant if not one of the predominant field sources in the next ten years”- Abigail Hopper in “The Sunnyside Podcast”    Stay Connected: Sharon Lee LinkedIn: Sharon Lee  Facebook: Sharon Lee   Abigail Hopper LinkedIn:Abby Hopper Twitter: Abby Hopper   Subscribe to our podcast + download each episode on Spotify.   This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Tuesday May 03, 2022

Episode Summary: In this episode, Sharon Lee tells us about The Sunnyside Podcast, what it is going to be about and what to expect from it. Basically, the purpose of this podcast is making solar energy relatable, accessible and attainable through the stories of different women who are solar industry titans, which is a male-dominated space.          Sharon Lee: Sharon Lee taps over a decade of solar sales experience, having led the creation of a solar division for a leading manufacturing/construction firm, resulting in over 17 MW of solar in its portfolio as well as solar ultimately becoming its highest grossing revenue vertical. Lee has been involved in the GA Solar Energy Association, serving on the board of directors as the marketing chair, organizing the annual conference, as well as vice chair, and ultimately the first female chair of the organization in 2015. She is also a charter member of the Professional Women in Building chapter of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Women in Solar Energy (WISE). Lee earned her B.S. degree in communications with double minors in marketing and psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, after spending three years at the University of Tennessee in the pre-health curriculum. Lee is the mom of two boys, ages 14 and 11 and a rabid college football fan. She and her husband, John, spend most of their free time at the baseball or football fields, unless they can steal away for a quick round of golf.   Insights from this Episode: What The Sunnyside Podcast is going to be about The principal purpose and message of The Sunnyside Podcast What to expect from the Podcast   Quotes from the Show:  “Solar may be considered a male-dominated industry but that's only numbers, women are moving mountains everyday from engineering, design, legislative policy making…they can do it all, we can do it all”- Sharon Lee in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “Guests on The Sunnyside will include folks from all across the industry and variety of markets”- Sharon Lee in “The Sunnyside Podcast” “I hope you’ll stick with us as we learn and grow together talking about what makes this industry [solar] thrive and expert women who are leading the pack in the thick of it all, balancing life and enjoying this crazy ride”- Sharon Lee in “The Sunnyside Podcast”   Stay Connected: Sharon Lee LinkedIn: Sharon Lee  Facebook: Sharon Lee   Subscribe to our podcast + download each episode on Spotify.   This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.   

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The Sunnyside

Each episode takes us into the male-dominated world of commercial solar energy, and highlights the women, from all over the nation, who are taking this industry by storm. We talk about the industry itself, its joys and challenges, and the female leadership styles that might blaze a new or different trail. We also go beyond the 9-5 and talk about life, kids, pets, hobbies and all of the fun stuff! Join us! 

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