Speaker: SaLisa Berrien, Founder and CEO, COI Energy
What inspired you to start your company?
SaLisa Berrien: I was inspired by my customers and also my daughters to start my company. When I think about my customers over the last couple of decades, I would constantly hear customers ask for something and I was not able to deliver it to them. And so when I had the opportunity to go out and start, COI energy, it was really about How could I help them solve this problem that they've been asking for and do it in a way that was fast, simple and cost effective. So I ventured out to start COI energy to help businesses eliminate the energy waste ahead in their buildings and then use that waste to do several things improve their bottom line to help them clean up the environment and also to help others within their community. And then, for my daughters, it was really about leaving a legacy for them and for their children and their children's children. I want my daughters to be able to say If my mom could do this, I could do it too, so they would be fearless and and say I can go out and I could solve problems and what those problems I solve, I can make the world a better place. And so my basic mission in life is to leave the world better than I found it. So the space that I occupy, if it's the same when I leave, I didn't do my part, and so that's what inspired me to start my company.
Why is Women’s History Month important to you? What are your plans for the month?
SaLisa Berrien: Women's History Month is very important to me because I have three girls and I do believe that sometimes you have to see it in order to believe that you can be it so shining the light on women for the month of March, it helps young girls be able to dream big and also see the possibilities. So what COI energy is doing for the month of March? We are highlighting women in business and politics and also in the startup ecosystem, showing young girls that they, too, can be climate tech professionals. They, too, can run for political office. They, too, could be whatever they want to be.
What is your most important diversity goal for women in your organization?
SaLisa Berrien: The most important diversity goal for women in my organization is that they fill over 50% of the top ranked positions.
Can you share how Google Cloud products have helped your business develop?
SaLisa Berrien: COI energy is in a mature, clean tech space and people ask what makes us different from all the competitors in that overcrowded space? And the answer is very simple. We bake our bread better and that we do that utilizing Google Cloud each and every customer on our platform. They've received customized solutions based on their individual needs were we're utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver a fast, simple and cost effective solution.
What is the biggest challenge for the next generation of women as they begin their careers? What advice do you give them?
SaLisa Berrien: One of the biggest challenges I see for the next generation of women as they go out and begin their careers is having the lack of technical and business acumen tied together. My recommendation is, as you seek out your degrees look and highly, consider a stem degree and then tie that in with some business courses while you're pursuing your undergraduate degree. That is going to take you a long way because you will not only know how to solve technical problems, but you will also understand the business impacts that would have. So that's my recommendation. I'm super excited to see this next generation lead the way for us for generations to come.