Holly Hanbury-Brown’s desire to protect the environment has been a driving force in her life since she was young. Her parents, originally from Australia, are very conscious about their impact on the environment and passed that on to her. She recalls reading the works of Laurie David, an environmental activist, as early as age 14.
Holly moved to California to attend Santa Clara University, where she earned a degree in communications. After college and some time spent producing empowering media for girls, her first role in the energy industry was with Green Charge Networks. When she joined Green Charge in 2014, she was one of only 10 employees working for this small startup. Green Charge has since grown to over 50 employees and is now an industry leader in commercial energy storage.
Making the move to Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, a Daimler company
In 2016, Holly began her current position at Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, where she leads marketing and communications. Mercedes-Benz Energy focuses on providing sustainable energy storage systems and solutions for homes, companies and utilities. These storage systems accumulate solar power during the day and store it for use overnight and for backup power. Mercedes-Benz is one of the first large and recognizable brands to enter this segment of the energy market, and Holly is excited to be a part of it.
Energy storage is a fast-paced industry that certainly requires GRIT — growth, resilience, innovation, and transition — which is our theme for the third annual HERWorld Energy Forum on March 8. Holly will be one of our speakers at the event. (Get your tickets here!)
“This industry is not for the faint of heart. In this arena, a passion for clean energy is what drives you and gives you the GRIT to forge through,” Holly says.
Energy storage is growing exponentially as new and innovative solutions surface. Holly believes you must be resilient to keep up. She feels that the ability to form partnerships among multiple organizations to transition to clean energy is critical.
Excited about the future
Yes, it takes GRIT to make it in the energy storage industry, but Holly is very excited about what the future holds as she and others continue to make strides toward more clean energy. She sees people all around her who are full of passion and drive to keep the environment at the forefront of the energy industry. She loves the pace of change: Even though it is fast, it is creative and innovative.
And despite the challenges with legislation, Holly is hopeful that more states will provide incentives like California’s SGIP program for clean energy.
Women in the industry
Holly frequently travels to trade shows and other events for Mercedes-Benz Energy. While this experience has allowed her to see many of the new and innovative changes, she’s also witnessed one thing that has been very slow to change: Energy is still a male-dominated industry.
But Holly has proven time and again that she has the tenacity to overcome stereotypes and demonstrate knowledge and skills on par with her male counterparts. She recognizes that you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone to keep moving forward. And she appreciates that women are progressing past the boundaries — with GRIT and determination.
“I would like to see more gender equality at the board level, though,” she says. “Female board members are important, and we need more of them in energy. But I am excited when I meet women who have been in the industry for a while — especially when they tell me that they see progress taking place.”
Holly is thankful for new startups with female co-founders that implement a more gender-balanced structure in their companies. She often looks to female veterans in the industry for motivation and guidance. The progress of women in the energy industry makes this an exciting time — for all of us.