Raina Russo’s Candidacy Speech for the SEIA Board of Directors Election 11/11
EcoOutfitters co-founder and president Raina Russo is running for one of the five Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Board of Director seats. Voting, which is open to all SEIA members will close on November 22.
Here is her candidacy speech, which she presented on a SEIA webinar for all those running on 11/15/11…
I am so honored to be included in this mix of such dedicated solar professionals. I want to thank SEIA for their exemplary leadership, tackling critical issues head on and empowering us all to do our part in ensuring the continued growth of solar energy. This mission, I believe, is far greater than any individual can imagine.
I personally live and breathe solar all day, every day. My home is solar powered, my work is solar dedicated and I pretty much talk solar from morning to night. I want to make a difference and believe solar energy is the path to solutions for our energy challenges today and for our future. Solar pays itself off and pay itself forward! And I am honored to have found a career that enables me to set a great example for my children while allowing me to go to sleep at night knowing I am doing my share as an active steward of this planet. Some of you may have heard the saying “Think Globally, Act Locally.” I personally believe that it’s possible to think and act both globally and locally.
So a bit about my background … I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, lived in the “concrete jungle” of New York City, and at the age of 10 moved to Israel, “The Land of Solar and Honey.” As every Israeli, I was taught to highly respect the environment and take pride in our planet and was encouraged to always look for innovative ways to integrate local resources into bettering the quality of life. Solar hot water is standard in every home in the country and water conservation is a necessity for survival.
I went on to serve in the Israeli army, Intelligence Core, and learned the value of taking pride in one’s country and serving responsibly as an active citizen.
I studied to be a Civil Engineer at the Technion Institute of Technology and after moving back to the US began my professional career as a project engineer for Tishman Construction, a top green global scale construction corporation. Tishmanbuilt the original World Trade Center and is now re-building Ground Zero. During my tenure there, I became accustomed to being a female engineer in a male-dominated environment and was inspired to help other women realize their potential and break through gender barriers. I look forward to continuing this quest in adding some “girl power” to what is currently a fairly testosterone-rich solar industry.
After marriage and having our first child, I decided to fully embrace the “mommy role” while being active in the community. I became the president of a local Women’s group, founded a civic activist group and sat on the Executive Board of my children’s school. I chaired many fundraising events focused on raising environmental awareness and always integrated my activities into our family life so that my children could learn and share in the experience with me. This philosophy carried through to our own solar installation. It not only was a family decision but it has become a full family experience and my children now race off the school bus to be the first to read the meter, eager to see how many kilowatts we produced during the day.
Coupling my parenting, construction & green experiences I co-founded EcoOutfitters.net. A business devoted to playing an active role in educating mainstream America on the power and potential of solar and helping consumers to find the right installers for their specific needs. In my role I embrace the challenge of keeping my finger on the solar pulse and constantly look for ways to articulate the solar message.
Our company provides free solar savings reports that clearly and comprehensively display the benefits of solar, and I uphold that clear and passionate communication in everything I do — through social media, blogging, as moderator of the new #SolarChat on Twitter and any other method that enables me to interact and connect daily with both solar- curious people and solar industry professionals.
I am a messenger on a solar mission and if elected to the SEIA Board, I promise to shout the solar message from the rooftops as they get covered over with panels! I believe in solar energy as a key to our country’s future and will support the organization with the same passion and energy that I put into all of my endeavors. I think my unique history and perspective will serve the group well.
Thank you and best of luck to all my outstanding fellow candidates!