Celebrating Sherren Harter, Freedom Solar’s Chief Marketing Officer
August 22, 2022
Sherren Harter is Freedom Solar Power’s chief marketing officer (CMO). She’s also a 2022 nominee for the annual Austin Business Journal’s Women in Business in Central Texas Award. Her words of advice? “Get out of your comfort zone, and then live there!”
Freedom Solar wouldn’t have soared to its great heights without Sherren. That’s exemplified in her recent promotion from marketing director to CMO. This distinction crowns her as a dedicated executive team leader and sets a precedent for other women to reach crucial positions.
When Sherren isn’t at work, she spends time with her three children, husband and friends. She loves to be active, both physically and in her community! She’ll run half-marathons for fun or to support a fundraiser like Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run, which Freedom Solar sponsored in support of the Austin Hike-and-Bike Trail.
At the end of the workday, you can find her at the gym. There, she’ll burn off steam with her team members and C-suite colleagues alike.
What Sherren Has to Say
Q: How do you juggle kids and an executive role effectively?
“What I have learned is there is no such thing as having it all. But, you can have balance. You can’t focus on everything in one day, but you can take a broader look to see what needs extra care or focus that day, whether it be your family or work.”Sherren harter
Before joining Freedom Solar, Sherren obtained her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin – McCombs School of Business. She also earned a BBA in management information systems from UT. And she brings 15-plus years of marketing experience and eight years of renewable energy industry experience to Freedom Solar — she served as Green Mountain Energy Company’s director of marketing.
When Sherren joined Freedom Solar in 2017, the team was significantly smaller than it is today. She worked at a desk in the warehouse as the only marketing member among the solar panel boxes, start-up style.
In 2020, Freedom Solar added her to the executive team. That team previously consisted of only the company’s five owners, and she started growing the marketing team. Her dedication to the company that she wholeheartedly believes in paved her way to becoming the CMO.
Moreover, she stands as a voice of authority. This also allows her to take on more responsibility and influence the company’s decisions, like expanding nationwide. She now encourages her team to understand what about their talents sets them apart from the rest.
Then, she teaches them how to capitalize on that value:
“Speak up and show people why you are valuable. Follow your instincts. Take jobs that radiate potential and land you as part of a team that is receptive and open to change. And then just prove yourself. Make sure you know what you are talking about and do the hard work necessary to gain the executive team’s confidence. Get out of your comfort zone, and then live there!”Sherren harter
To date, she’s grown the marketing team to nine people, eight of them women. Sherren takes a personal interest in each one. In addition, she encourages them to identify and capitalize on their own unique skills, abilities and talents. She also urges them to challenge themselves when needed and be confident in the value they bring to the team.
Sherren has her eyes on the big picture and maintains an “all-in” mindset for every marketing task, big or small. And she leaves no stone unturned — she encourages a collaborative environment and emphasizes leaning on one another to get the job done.
“I joined Freedom Solar primarily because of Sherren. As a working mom and someone who’s been at start-ups before, I’ve experienced both good and bad team cultures, and I wanted to be somewhere that offered a supportive environment and the opportunity to make a difference. Sherren motivates us by focusing on the good — she gives us positive feedback, even when we fail (because we grow). She paints the bigger picture of how our hard work is improving business metrics and on fighting climate change. She encourages us all to maintain balance because we can grow and do our best work when we all enjoy our jobs.”lauren martin, senior marketing manager
The team of marketing professionals that Sherren oversees all play vastly different roles. She has an indescribable talent for tying all their pieces together to create expertly branded and high-value products. Plus, she wants everyone from her personal and professional life to become powerful, successful people who prioritize integrity and growth at every turn — no matter their position on the leaderboard.
That’s what makes a boss a true leader.
Q: What would you recommend to someone wanting to break into the clean energy market?
“The clean energy market is a passion field. If you don’t care about the ‘why,’ it won’t work long term. If you have a talent and interest in it, you will be valuable. Networking with individuals in the field is what will get your foot in the door fastest — find the ones who can teach you the ropes and introduce you to their peers. One, ‘How can I help?’ with the right person could launch you into a new career.”sherren harter
Because of leaders like Sherren, Freedom Solar is truly a special place to work. There are no egos.
Everyone’s all-in for the mission. And that mission is as much about each employee’s success as it is about the company’s success.