Seeing CWEEL: Alexa Stone

Alexa comes from a line of strong women and credits her mother as an inspiration, “My mom is an amazing woman.  An immunologist who was a Chief of the National Institutes of Health for Contraceptive Development.” Alexa is a founder and president of her own firm, regularly volunteers - see above for the multiple roles she holds in AEE & CWEEL alone! She wanted to work from a national platform, so she joined CWEEL after being involved with AEE locally.

Alexa is such a strong part of the CWEEL network that she was nominated not once, but twice! 

In the words of her nominators, “Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a mission driven organization working to alter the course of climate change by advancing solutions that reduce environmental impact and improve equity and quality of life. Alexa has been working in a non-traditional field for women since the beginning of her career. [...] People who knew Alexa from Corporate America say ‘when the corporations wouldn't listen to her, she started her own business’. Alexa is an advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion. [... ]Working with Alexa is always a pleasure, very much a team player and strategic thinker with exceptional people skills. I'd recommend her as a leader in the industry. Her passion for the environment is the basis for her business and community work. She also gives back through 100 Women Strong as an active member. She is genuine. She has a very clear vision; and the passion and desire to implement that vision.Alex a is a very self-motivated individual and is well respected in her field and within the "sustainability" community. She is dedicated, persistent and motivated to better herself, her team and as well to better others”. Another spoke of her CWEEL service saying, “Alexa is an amazing person who has been very helpful on our Career Advancement Committee. She has planned a number of webinar and moderate panels pertaining to career and clean energy opportunities and related topics.”

Alexa was kind enough to share a lot of detail about her career path thus far. Below, you will find more of her story.

In Her Own Words

Many people are unfamiliar with the many, varied roles out there. We would love to hear more about your roles from the start of your career through today. It is always interesting to showcase how people came to be where they are, what their motivations were at different points, influences, etc. Share as much of your story as you would like, below.

My childhood was filled with hiking, backpacking and mountain climbing. How could I not develop a love and affinity for nature growing up in the Pacific Northwest?  How did that turn into a career?  It was a bumpy path since, when I graduated, there was no such thing as a degree in sustainability! 

I graduated with a degree in International Business and a Minor in Chinese. One week after graduation I as on a plane to Beijing, China to become graduate English Instructor at the Chinese Academy of Science. Little did I know I would be fleeing just 11 months later from the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. 

When I came back to the U.S. I wanted to use my knowledge of Chinese.  I found a job in a start up company importing printed circuit boards from Taiwan. We worked in the basement of the owner's Dad's house and grew that business to $11M. It was crazy and exciting translating what these US telecoms wanted to the Taiwanese engineers during the "Dot-com bubble".  

Electronics kept pulling me and soon I was covering a 9 state region marketing telecom test equipment to AT&T. It makes me laugh to recall how I I traveled every week with printed copies of "Mapquest" all over my dashboard. No GPS! PS. I ended up marrying a manager from AT&T. 

Finally I took a job at Home Depot Corporate.  I knew this was where I could reduce energy consumption and that was my goal. I learned as much as I could about lighting from Philips, Sylvania, Lithonia. The time had come for a massive market conversion to LED and I wanted to be a part of it! #earlyadopter

While at Home Depot I worked closely with our local government to support the writing of a grant application for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding .  We were awarded $1M to covert part of the Orange County Convention Center to LED.  The energy savings was great, but it was the GHG reduction that really got me excited.  I knew from that moment, I wanted to focus my life on reducing GHG emissions.  

I founded ecoPreserve in 2009 and haven't look back since.  It has not been easy.  We've been through so many rough times, but I would never ever change my decision.  ecoPreserve Team Members are committed to our mission - to alter the course of climate change - and to our values.

What has been the biggest benefit of being a CWEEL member?
The biggest benefit is the people, dare I say women.  I could say the "networking" but its really just knowing these smart, hardworking, kind, and committed women. 

Any other thoughts on the CWEEL community you would like to share?
I have been involved in a male dominated industry my entire life...electronics, engineering, buildings, facilities. It worked out fine, but I always felt isolated.  Let's be honest, there is a shortage of female mentors! It's getting better, but really could have used a female mentor in my early years.  CWEEL provides the kind of guidance I needed.  Having a bench of women leaders you can turn to is reassuring and helpful.  We're here for you!