Steph Barry

Managing Director

The below interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

How did you get to where you are today? What is your training or education? 

I have always been interested in the rest of the world. I chose UC San Diego’s Eleanor Roosevelt College because it focused on international studies. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it—the UN? Politics? Journalism?—until I did a shadow program through the career center.  

I shadowed a woman at Donjoy, a medical device company based in San Diego, who oversaw international business. I was immediately hooked! I got my first job because I interned at the World Trade Center and wasn’t shy about networking and introducing myself.  

Then in my favorite women-helping-women story, I got my next job when a woman I worked with at the company I left recommended me, encouraged me to apply and prepped me for the interview because she wanted me to experience greener pastures.   

As part of my undergraduate degree, I studied languages and studied abroad in Germany, Spain and Mexico. Because of my Spanish, I got my job at WD-40 Company as the administrative assistant to the head of the Latin America business. I moved up from there into marketing and general management.  

A few years in, I decided to get my MBA to get more business background. University of San Diego had a night program. It took me almost 4 years instead of 2 since I traveled so much but I got my Masters in International Business. But the real secret to how I got where I am today is that I always keep my eyes open for opportunities. I push myself to learn, grow and do things that make me feel uncomfortable. I am constantly looking at the angles and figuring out where things are going. I weigh those up against my abilities and my desires and then go after what I want.  


Describe your job. What does a typical week look like for you? 

In my role, I oversee all the business outside of the US and Canada. We have customers in over 80 countries. My week consists of setting priorities, working strategically with the customers, keeping our team motivated and problem-solving.  

I’m often on the phone in the early morning to talk to Europe or respond to emails. I work with the office in person or remotely in the middle of the day and then I talk to Asia in the afternoon or evening. I’m on the phone a lot but it’s important to stay in touch and keep things moving forward. 

What is something you find challenging about your job? 

What I find most challenging is making remote communication feel more personal. I am very much a face-to-face person. I also tend to focus on what is in front of me. So I make a conscious effort to reach out to people in the office and our customers around the world by whatever means works best.

What do you love most about your job? 

I love the company story and that as an organization we’ve stayed true to our values. The product is something I believe in which makes working all the more enjoyable. 

It’s also amazing working in a space that is completely day lit, which the Solatube space was specifically designed to be. You feel like you are part of the day even though you are in the middle of a building. I love that it brings joy, health, productivity and sustainability to the world. 

What advice to you have for others thinking about working in Energy, Construction, & Utilities? 

People always give the advice to find a product you love and then you will love your job. I have worked with many great brands and business models. This is the first time I feel like the product I am selling is making a positive difference in the world. But at the end of the day and the end of your career, it’s a lot about the people you work with and for.  

You could have the best product but maybe the company culture isn’t so good. Or you could have an amazing leader or company culture but the product isn’t something you feel good about. So if you can get both a product and a company that meet your values, that’s fulfilling work!  

Master's in International Business from University of San Diego