TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — We’ve all heard how the glass ceiling in business keeps women from making it to the top, and that’s especially true for African American women. But the executive you’re about to meet has electrified her field and is making waves.
CEO and Founder of COI Energy Services, SaLisa Berrien, hasn’t always been in a position of power.
“The challenges as you probably could imagine is number one being a woman in technology and then an African American woman. So as many people know investors typically don’t invest in women. As an African American I couldn’t just be mediocre,” Berrien said.
She now owns an energy technology company, COI Energy, and some big companies want what she has.
“I’m trying to move our company forward with respect to customer service and customer satisfaction, and I think a technology like this is really going to help us leapfrog the other companies,” said Lloyd Yates, EVP Customer & Delivery Operations, Carolina’s President, Duke Energy.
SaLisa’s technology helps businesses optimize their electricity usage.
“So I started off everything totally bootstrapped, cashed in stock and 401k’s. I never knew that people thought I was kind of weird and I didn’t look at myself as a geek growing up,” Berrien told Ivanhoe.
Now SaLisa embraces her inner geek, and follows these secrets: find what’s missing in the field you want to pursue and focus on that. Get a patent as soon as you can. Shadow or intern and be aware of who’s in your circle.
“The people around you, those are the people that will propel you forward,” explained Berrien.
USF’s Allison Madden is in her circle. SaLisa’s company is part of USF’s technology incubator.
“She stands out in a crowd in these environments but she understands what she’s doing…she understands the technology in a male dominated field,” said Allison Madden, USF Director of Research Foundation Operations.
By any measure, energy is SaLisa’s driving force.
SaLisa said her first job was at a fast food restaurant for minimum wage and now she heads up a multi-million dollar company named COI for circle of influence.
Contributors to this news report include: Emily Maza Gleason, Producer; Katie Campbell, Assistant Producer; Chris Tilley, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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