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 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 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”
LinkedIn: Sharon Lee
Facebook: Sharon Lee
Twitter: Abby Hopper
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This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.