Greene spreads water solutions globally

Water Missions International co-founder Molly Greene shows some of the water residents in many parts of the world must drink to try to survive. Greene spoke at the Charleston Regional Business Journal's Influential Women in Business event held Thursday on Daniel Island. (Photo/Kim McManus)
Water Missions International co-founder Molly Greene shows some of the water residents in many parts of the world must drink to try to survive. Greene spoke at the Charleston Regional Business Journal's Influential Women in Business event held Thursday on Daniel Island. (Photo/Kim McManus)
Charleston-area professionals gathered to honor 12 influential women in business in four categories during a luncheon held Thursday at the Daniel Island Club. (Photo/Kim McManus)
Charleston-area professionals gathered to honor 12 influential women in business in four categories during a luncheon held Thursday at the Daniel Island Club. (Photo/Kim McManus)
Click here for more photos from the 2013 Influential Women in Business awards luncheon.
By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published July 11, 2013

Imagine turning on a faucet and having nothing come out.

Imagine that the closest water supply is hours away, and the only mode of transportation is walking.

This is the plight nearly 1 billion people face worldwide to get drinking water. Molly Greene has made it her mission to get clean water to people in developing countries and disaster situations worldwide.

“These women will walk up to six hours a day to fetch a supply of water that we wouldn’t let our pets drink,” said Greene, the keynote speaker at the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s 2013 Influential Women in Business luncheon on Thursday. “They know that they need clean water so that their children will live.”

Greene and her husband, George, sold their Charleston-based environmental engineering company in 2001 to tackle their mission for clean water full time. They co-founded Charleston-based Water Missions International the same year. It currently supplies water solutions to 49 countries.

The couple designed a safe water solution that needed to be easy to use, easy to transport and incredibly durable. The systems can be maintained for up to 20 years.

“Our mission is both enormous and urgent. There is something we can do. In the U.S., we spend $2 billion annual on Easter candy alone. Think of what that money could do to provide drinking water around the world,” Greene said. “We are blessed to be a blessing.”

Roughly 200 attendees came to the luncheon on Daniel Island to hear Greene and the finalists speak about how they have made an impact in their business and community.

“The passion is in your heart. Bring that passion to your business because it does make a difference,” said Christine Osborne of Wonder Works, a Charleston toy store she started 23 years ago.

Tina Hadden of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District was one of two female engineers in her graduating college class, as well as the first female engineer at the U.S. Army Corps in Charleston in the 1980s.

Shauna Mackenzie of Mackenzie Image Consulting started her firm at the age of 22 in Charleston. After the position at her first job post-college was terminated, she decided to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur.

“One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was starting a business, but the best decision was starting it here in Charleston,” Mackenzie said.

The sixth annual Influential Women in Business Awards recognizes local women who have demonstrated professional excellence and leadership in their careers and community services.

Each nominee had to be a resident of and employee in South Carolina. Judges scored each nominee individually on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest.

2013 Influential Women in Business Winners

Volunteer
Finalist: Gitta Wombwell, Safe Ports
Finalist: Annette Nielsen, Costal Community Foundation
Winner: Gigi Manning, Air Force Reserve Command

Rising Star
Finalist: Stewart Bauknight, Modus 21
Finalist: Shauna Mackenzie, Mackenzie Image Consulting
Winner: Susan Johnson, MUSC

Executive
Finalist: Valerie Morris, College of Charleston School of the Arts
Finalist: Heather Walker, Booz Allen Hamilton
Winner: Tina Hadden, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District

CEO
Finalist: Christine Osborne, Wonder Works
Finalist: Debra Turner, WebsterRogers LLP
Winner: Cindy Burbage, American Heritage Ambulance

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