Sharie Derrickson, Vice President of New Wind Energy Solutions in Nashville, along with 13 other female military veterans, were honored at the White House this week as part of Pres. Obama’s “Winning the Future,” initiative. Fourteen female military veterans were selected that have provided exemplary leadership at the local, state or regional level. “You are the leaders in our businesses and schools in our communities,” Mrs. Obama said.
“You all are part of a long line of women who have broken barriers – defied expectations and served this country with unparalleled courage and determination,” the first lady said.
“And the beautiful thing about our veterans – and this is especially true for our women veterans — is that long after you stop serving this country, you don’t stop serving it after you hang up your uniforms.”
Meeting the president and the first lady in the East Wing of the White House, Derrickson said, was an overwhelming experience. “They are rock stars, but so personable and warm. It is invigorating and re-energizing when you know that my passion of a sustainable world is shared all the way up the chain of command. They treated us like honored guests with the works – champagne, hor d’oeuvres, a military jazz band.”
New Wind President, Stuart Wiston, who attended the event, said he is proud to have Derrickson on his sustainability team. “Our company makes it a priority to hire veterans because they bring so much to the table. Getting Sharie was a stroke of luck. Her dedication to her job is unsurpassed and that is a trait I find in all my former military employees. She is a well-spoken advocate for what we do here and she deserved this recognition from the White House not only as a female veteran but as a spokesman for global sustainability. She works hard to help corporations save money and enhance their communities and not be a burden on them by using best practices. She cares about her clients. It’s not as much a business to her as it is a mission.”
A former Navy Stars and Stripes newspaper journalist and a photojournalist for Navy Combat Camera, Derrickson, a service-connected disabled veteran, went on to get her bachelor’s degree and worked her way up the ranks in the growing sustainable energy sector, championing clean energy and responsible usage. “While I am amazed at the fact I was selected, I am glad I was given a platform for my passion – putting our planet back in balance with a comprehensive approach and with a logical progression.”
Derrickson said that while “green measures” are necessary for economic independence, cultural preservation, and resource management, she also added that her experiences in the military helped her come to a conclusion that sustainability is a key component of national and global security. “This is what I said during our panel discussions in Washington D.C. I am not sure everyone has thought of sustainability in this light, but it is fact that is often overlooked. I will continue to put that in the sustainability message.”
“Whenever a community becomes unable to be self-sustaining, their infrastructure breaks down, like what happened with Hurricane Katrina for example, and that has catastrophic effects. Their economic base deteriorates, as well as their cultural stability. Keeping the world – its people and their resources balanced – is vital not only for a healthy planet, but for our national security and the security of all people across the globe. Once a country loses its own ability to sustain itself for whatever reason with the basics, the country dissolves or turns into either a world-wide burden or a world-wide security threat.”
“Sustainability is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world and I am proud to work in it and educate others about it. It is a business where the saying ‘It’s not personal – it’s just business’ does not apply. It is personal for me. The businesses I work with – the children of Somalia and Haiti – and Japan and the United States – and my own daughter and granddaughter — will not have a stable world unless we sow more than we reap and establish balance, which, in turn, may lead to peace. Just as when I was in the military, peace, is still the final objective.”
“I am very honored and humbled to be in the ranks of these fine inspiring women. I will work hard in the sustainable arena to live up to this award.”