The solar industry is predominantly a male one, with 68 percent of the U.S. solar workforce being men, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Energy employment report. While POWERHOME Solar has more men than women employed as sales consultants and installers, the women that POWERHOME has hired play an integral part in the company’s success. And with March being Women’s History Month, we wanted to introduce a few of those who are making a significant impact for the company. We couldn’t do what we do without them!
No. 2 in 2019 sales at age 21
POWERHOME runs a yearlong contest among its sales consultants to keep everyone pursuing lofty, but achievable targets over 12 months. Through the first two months of 2019, the company’s No. 2 performer among all the representatives is Raven Stephens, who joined POWERHOME in August 2018 and has worked relentlessly in pursuit of these goals.
Stephens is based in Virginia and runs appointments throughout the state. The 21-year-old got her foot in the door through a fellow POWERHOME consultant, Andrew Brown, that used to work with her at Umansky Honda in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her work is proof that she’s kicked the door wide open, and it’s been a personal game-changer for her. She says she’s a better person because of the opportunity to work for POWERHOME.
“My people skills have improved. I’ve gained more self confidence, looked at my future differently,” Stephens said. “More doors have opened. Financially, there’s no stress, which is always different because I didn’t come from anything. And my work ethic has changed. I’m more driven, hungry and dedicated. I think the word to describe it is I am blessed to have the opportunity to work for such a great company that’s pretty promising for the upcoming years.”
Being female and being a top performer both mean a lot to her.
“Yes. I believe in girl power,” Stephens says. “I try to stay away from the stereotype that men are the only top performers in sales. It definitely makes me feel good. My age, being one of the youngest consultants, and also being a woman, it’s an industry that more females need to get into, and the sky’s the limit. It makes me feel good that I have been able to be successful with the company.”
Spend 15 minutes talking with Stephens, and it’s apparent why she’s successful. Not only does she spend time away from appointments learning about the industry, she invests time in following up with customers, and that is paying off already for her with referral business.
“I treat all my customers like family after the fact,” Stephens says. “Follow up is extremely important, and that’s how you build a reputation for your company and yourself where they send more customers to you in the future.”
February a huge month for POWERHOME women
But Stephens is far from the only woman who is a standout performer for POWERHOME. Company sales data from February showed that women led three of the company’s 10 districts.
Among that trio are Sunnie Schweim and Heather Galliway, who are both based in Detroit. For Schweim, also known as “Sunnie Solar”, helping customers make a great investment from financial and environmental perspectives is a treat. She loves the job, and she loves the difference she is making.
“I grew up a tomboy, so I guess deep down I hated hearing, ‘Oh, your a girl,’” Schweim said. “I’ve always wanted to be treated equal. I have always felt that I could do anything just as good as men, career-wise. Nowadays I forget that part — when it comes to helping people, it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or woman. Just being honest and treating people with respect is the key.”
But Schweim’s childhood was at times difficult. She said there were times when she went without food and was homeless before her father could establish himself. But despite multiple moves between Belleville, Michigan, and Bradenton, Florida, as a child, it never stopped her from becoming the best person she could be. Her sales career has included stops at American Blind and Wallpaper, selling those products over the phone and being among the top 5 percent in sales for the company, and also for Empire, where she was among the top 10 sellers of flooring. She believes her life experiences can help her relate with any customer.
“I’m really proud that I went through the struggles and still managed to be successful,” Schweim said.
Galliway’s path to POWERHOME was a unique one. As the former executive director of marketing for nine imaging centers, Galliway was used to speaking with physicians to bring business to her company, so she knew how to build relationships, trust and give presentations. Those skills are all very important to be successful as a POWERHOME consultant, and Galliway surely has them.
And as a former manager of a Home Depot years ago, Galliway knows what it’s like to work in an environment that’s primarily male.
“I don’t think of myself as working primarily with men,” Galliway said. “I think of myself as an equal, part of the team making a difference and helping people every day. I’ve found satisfaction in that I took on this challenge though it was outside of my comfort zone and I’m excelling among some of best. The team’s support was a tremendous help in getting me to where I am to date.”
Who installs solar panels for POWERHOME? These ladies do
Among all the crews that work for POWERHOME, the company currently has four installers that are women. Two of those are Dnazia Anderson (known as Nae) and Demetrice Ashton, who both work out of the company’s Chester, Va., office. A friend of Anderson’s referred her to POWERHOME, and she jumped at the opportunity to join the company last July. The 19-year-old is a carpenter, and those skills translate to this job. On top of that, she’s training to become a journeyman electrician.
“I get a lot of recognition all the time, especially from customers,” the 19-year-old Anderson said. “I love it. Customers are excited to see me. I love what I do, and I think it’s a great opportunity and an amazing job.”
Ashton’s background is a little different, as she had prior experience installing utility-scale solar panels. She loves the challenge of taking those skills and helping homeowners realize the many benefits of solar. What’s especially fun is teaching homeowners how their system will operate when inspections have been passed and the homeowner’s power company swaps the meter to get the system operational.
“It’s actually really pretty fun,” Ashton said. “I get to give [customers] opportunities to experience [solar], because they don’t really know much about it.”
We are so proud of all of the women making a difference for POWERHOME, and the company is continuously looking for women and men who want to change their own lives and make a difference for customers. Visit https://www.powerhome.com/phs/careers.html for opportunities in our six-state footprint (which soon will be seven), and we would love to hear from you.
Or, if you are simply a homeowner who is interested in working with our team to switch to clean, renewable energy at your home, we want to hear from you. We have a team dedicated to qualifying homeowners and their homes over the phone. Please call 800-765-2715 to see if your home qualifies.
These female faces of POWERHOME are ones that can help you realize your own renewable energy goals. Say hi if you happen to run into any of them!