A Leader's Humanity: The Effectiveness Super Charger Interview with Mary Powell
Erik Thompson interviews Mary Powell, the CEO of Sunrun, the largest residential solar, storage, and energy services company in the U.S. She is the former CEO of Green Mountain Power (GMP), the 2018 Vermont Business of the Year. Is there a place for love at the edgy negotiating table? According to the Harvard School of Business, positive negotiation relationships are important not because they engender warm, fuzzy feelings, but because they engender trust – a vital means of securing desired actions from others. Mary’s innovative approach to negotiation is a fascinating lesson in leading with kindness and humility.Highlights of Erik's conversation with Mary:Why the road less traveled is often the right one for execs. Mary's upbringing in NYC, enrollment at the High School of Performing Arts (made famous by the movie FAME), and her lifelong advocacy for animals led to her leadership role as CEO of a major utility. Non-traditional CEO candidates can win. GMP board chair and Bruegger's Bagels founder Nord Brue discusses making the decision to hire Mary, someone who took an unconventional path to the role of CEO.Why focusing leadership on “culture over strategy” is a winning approach. Mary's culture of innovation put GMP on the map when she entered into an early partnership with Tesla. Mary credits her success to GMP's North Star: "An obsession with customers, obsession with service, and obsession with providing green, clean, affordable service to Vermonters."How thinking differently and understanding the value of pioneering an “energy sharing economy” led to better outcomes for her company and customers.