Diversity and Women in the Energy Industry
Feb 26, 2018
Takeaways from the 2018 AESP Conference Leadership Roundtable
I’ve been attending Association for Energy Services Professionals (AESP) conferences, sessions, and brown bags for almost 10 years, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this Diversity and Women roundtable. First, the room for the session was on a different floor from the other conference sessions and was also smaller than the rest. For once I was early (I'm usually trying to squeeze in as many sessions as possible), so I was able to slowly watch as that small room filled up to standing room only. What a great sight to see! The session room may have been small, but this was not a disadvantage. In fact, it created an intimate setting and led to great interactions between the moderator, panelists, and attendees.
Diversity and Women are obviously very relevant topics in the energy industry and in the world today. But do we ever get a chance to have an honest and open conversation? In a space that is welcoming, non-judgmental, and our careers don’t feel on the line? Better yet, with individuals facing similar discussions in the same or similar industries? This is what AESP is all about. Sessions like this are what make AESP, as an organization, dynamic and ensure we can continue to advance our industry through discussions like this that provide the best types of professional development and support for everyone.
My personal key takeaways from this roundtable include the following:
- Get yourself a personal Board of Directors. That is, mentors, sponsors, friends, and family that take an interest in helping you develop your career.
- Be intentional with and plan your career.
- Do your homework early.
- Know the key stakeholders in your company.
- Take risks—especially in the beginning of your career.
- Speak up!
- Remember where you begin isn’t where you will necessarily end up.
- Make connections in your industry.
- Words matter. “I’m a mom AND a marketing professional dedicated to my work.”‘ (Not “I’m a professional, but also a mom.”)
Some takeaways for organizations include the following:
- Create a deliberate gender and diversity plan.
- Measure successes from that plan and adapt as needed, regularly.
- Create a level playing field.
- Foster mentorships for everyone. (Men and women can be mentors to men and women alike.)
- Lead by example. Lead and live your new culture at every level of the organization.
From left to right: Sabrina Brooks, Michelle Branigan, Quinn Parker, Attendee, and Kim Winslow
Moderator: Quinn Parker, AESP
Speakers: Michelle Branigan, Electricity Human Resources Canada; Sabrina M. Brooks, PECO; and Kim Winslow, KCP&L
AESP is continually seeking ways to serve a diverse and evolving energy industry. This Leadership Roundtable will be a facilitated discussion in an intimate setting that will be focused on diversity and the growth of women leaders within the industry. Three successful female leaders will share their perspectives on diversity in the energy/utility industry, as well as their own career trajectory. This will be a productive session wherein attendees can learn more about the state of workforce diversity in the energy industry, be inspired by the accomplishments and careers of these leaders, and come away with actionable insights to apply to their own careers.
AESP Mission Statement
We are a dynamic community of energy professionals dedicated to advancing the industry through professional development, networking, and supporting for a resilient, sustainable energy future.