Hey there, Solar Warrior!
Today’s entrepreneur is an inspirational business builder, Michele Magee, President of GivePower Foundation. She launched and scaled seven businesses, including being a key member of one of the early solar finance companies, and has led teams as large as 1400 people over the course of her career. She’s a sales, marketing and operations all-star with a lot of experience to share.
At 26, a young Michele and her husband started their first businesses while she was busy with her day job at CBS Radio. And that was before she even got into the solar industry, which itself was a serendipitous moment she tells all about in the discussion. When asked what guiding principle helped her work well with her husband (and others), her advice was “Know your strengths, be respectful of your partner’s strengths, and stay in your lanes.”
But it was Michele’s fortuitous meeting with Hayes Barnard in 2005 that changed the course of her career. After a rapt discussion about radio strategy (Hayes was a customer at the time), Hayes asked one question that convinced her to leave a 13-year career in the radio industry. We get into that moment, and how that key question brought her to the mortgage company that eventually launched Loanpal, now known as GoodLeap. Her focus has been on helping hardworking families save money. And that through-line has consistently driven her vision through multiple key marketing & operations roles.
A 2007 conversation with Hayes about building schools in Africa ultimately became the business model that is, today, GivePower. It was the internal philanthropy initiative from Paramount Equity through to SolarCity, and as Paramount (and later SCTY) grew rapidly and did exceptionally well they were able to fulfill their dreams of giving energy equality to thousands of families in developing nations.
Today there are nearly three and a half billion people on the planet that don’t have consistent access to electricity and clean water. In June 2020, GivePower went live in Likoni, Kenya to provide access to clean drinking water for up to 35,000 people every single day with their Solar Water Farm Technology. Now, Michele has been tapped by Hayes and the GivePower board to lead the Nonprofit into its next decade of growth & giving.
Connect with Michele on LinkedIn