By Hernando Buitrago

The 6th Annual Socially Responsible Business Conference took place March 14, 2014 at Mills College in Oakland. This piece is part of a series featuring panelists and companies that will be presenting at the conference. For this highlight, we talked to Chief People and Corporate Services Officer Susan Hollingshead about the factors that play a role in building and sustaining culture at Sungevity.

Oakland, CA based Sungevity is the fastest growing residential solar company in the US. With an employee headcount that has grown eight fold to 400+ in the past four years, Sungevity stands today as one of the largest B Corporations. The company was founded in 2007 with an unbelievable focus on the customer, and on social benefit principles intrinsic to the renewable energy market.

“We run our business around the theory that we can be successful by delighting our customers,” says Hollingshead. This approach means that beyond offering an “insane customer experience,” the company engages their customers in meaningful initiatives. Through a partnership with the Sierra Club, Sungevity contributes to the environmental organization for every client that goes solar. Beyond making a sound economic decision, customers get the opportunity to connect to socially responsible principles.

For Hollingshead, a serial entrepreneur with nineteen years experience in the Brownfield industry, being at Sungevity is a result of having realized years ago that wherever she was, she needed to be part of something that mattered. “In the Brownfield business you could see the positive impact that cleaning and repurposing properties had for the communities around them,” she says. It was a transformative social endeavor.

Cross posted from the Center for Socially Responsible Business at Mills College

Read more at Live Work Oakland, the new business/tech innovation site from Oakland Local.

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