Tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally
My background is in chemical engineering. I work as an engineering consultant in a climate change and energy risk management consultancy called Energetics. What this really means is that I get to do a mix of different and interesting things every day with an inspirational team and some great clients! You can often find me helping various government departments and some of Australia’s largest emitters to understand and report emissions and pollutants, address climate risks and opportunities, help shape corporate sustainability-related strategies and governance processes, forecast carbon prices, and develop data validation tools.
On a personal note, I was born in Perth, grew up in Perth, studied in Perth and after spending four years completing my PhD in the UK, came back to Perth (did someone say I like Perth?). I’m a bit of a sun-worshipper and love cycling, bushwalking and just pottering about the garden. Many years ago, I was hugely impacted by a book on sustainable farming, and ever since I’ve tried to implement sustainable gardening practices at home and sought related learning experiences further afield. I have pursued some interesting activities such as being a shepherdess in Israel, spending time on sheep farms here in Australia and cultivating weeds in my garden. When I’ve had enough sun, you can find me applying science in the kitchen (cooking, fermenting things or making soap), reading, or perhaps completing some other craft activity.
What was your pathway into energy management?
The seeds were first planted for a career in renewable energy during my chemical engineering degree in Perth. Although I enjoyed my course, I soon realised that oil and gas operations were the focus of our courses. Having a personal belief in the importance of sustainable and environmentally responsible practices, I turned down a graduate position with a major global oil and gas operator, and instead undertook a PhD at the University of Cambridge to study renewable energy, believing I would pursue a career in academia. I immensely enjoyed my PhD, however I realised that I wanted greater contact time with people in my career and towards the end of my PhD, I started looking for work in the renewables industry. In my search, I fortuitously discovered Energetics, which is where I’ve remained ever since.
What leadership impact do you hope to make with the scholarship?
To date, although I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with others as part of a team to drive changes in Australia’s energy future, I would like to help lead larger changes in Australia’s energy future. I would love to leverage my existing client relationships to further inspire and influence Australia’s largest emitters to make more sustainable energy decisions. It is very difficult to change engrained corporate behaviours and developing better leadership skills will enable me to step up to this challenge to drive better corporate decision making. I am also excited to share my learnings with others that have not currently been awarded the scholarship, to encourage and empower them in their journey towards leading other organisations towards more sustainable solutions.
In a male-dominated industry, what advice or encouragement would you give women who want to work in the clean energy sector?
Our CEO, Mary Stewart has some fantastic advice for women working in male dominated industries, such as the clean energy sector. Although women may often be the minority in various aspects of the sector, this can be used to our advantage. Indeed, as a minority, we stand out! With the right support, women may have the potential for their voices and impacts to travel further.
Why is it important to support female leaders in the clean energy industry and what improvements could be made to increase the number of women in renewables?
I believe that to have a balanced and robust clean energy future, we need both men and women contributing to and leading certain aspects of the sector. However, to increase the number of women in renewables, we need to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders. If young children are imbued with a sense of responsibility to act sustainably and have some grasp of the range of jobs within the renewable sector, when they begin to seek work, renewables or perhaps another sustainability-related sector will most likely be at the top of their list. I have seen these principles in action with the Robogals initiative here, where young children are inspired to pursue engineering at an early age and are able to ask career-related questions of engineers in the sector.
This Scholarship is made possible by the generosity of our partners.