In conversation with the successful Chloe Munro Scholarship 2021 recipients, who will all be undertaking a leadership course delivered by Education Provider, Women & Leadership Australia.
Tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally
I’m an engineer in the Operational Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Management team at AEMO, leading investigations on the impact of DER on power system emergency response schemes and designing integration solutions. Outside of work, you’ll probably find me at the swimming pool, climbing gym, on a hike, or (just to mix it up) playing board games. The latest book I read was ‘Warring Tribes: The Story of Power Development in Australia’ outlining the history of Australia’s power grid – it’s riveting reading.
What was your pathway into the renewable energy industry?
I think what reeled me in was knowing that clean energy is our future. We’re at a truly special time where we can transform both the energy industry and our climate context, and I wanted to be part of that wave of change. I’ve been involved in various fields in renewable energy for close to a decade now: modelling solar thermal applications in mining, working for a solar PV installation company, developing frameworks for utility wind and solar integration, and studying ways to integrate DER in Australia’s east and west coast grids.
DER integration is incredibly fulfilling for me because we're at the cutting edge here in Australia, we’re leading the rest of the world, and consumers are the ones driving this change: truly the ‘power of the people’ at work.
What leadership impact do you hope to make with the scholarship?
Working in renewables is rewarding because the leaders in this field aren’t just at the top of their game – they’re building the future. I’ve had the privilege of working with incredible leaders like these throughout my career, and they inspire me every day. If I can share this light with others, so they too want to be part of this new energy landscape, it would be an absolute honour.
In a male-dominated industry, what advice or encouragement would you give women who want to work in the clean energy sector?
Australia is leading the world in its renewable energy penetration levels. We’re changing the way we power the nation. It’s a change that will soon make its way across the world.
Some people are still going to say you don’t deserve to be in the room, that you’re only there ‘because you’re a woman’ or ‘because you’re a diversity candidate’ if you’re from another traditionally underrepresented group. Remember, your expertise matters. Your understanding matters. You matter. In fact, you’re crucial - people from diverse backgrounds see the world differently and solve problems differently. That’s exactly the kind of thinking we need.
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?
The energy industry has changed more in the last 10 years than it did in the 100 years before that. Now more than ever, we need sharp and inquisitive minds who can lead the change – our industry (and climate) demands it. We need unique insights and steady vision across a variety of disciplines and fields. Diversity in leadership is exactly what builds that foundation of change.
Near and far, there are so many inspiring female leaders: Chloe Munro was a trailblazer without whom the clean energy industry would look very different today, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr Jenny Riesz, who put me up for this scholarship – a true visionary who predicted the issues we’re seeing today long before they started to emerge, and began laying the groundwork for improved DER integration.
We stand on the shoulders of giants as we build a clean energy future. There’s something powerful in being able to look at a leader and say: ‘that could be me’. There’s something powerful that occurs in industry when we work with people across a range of backgrounds and allow ourselves to think differently. The problems we’re trying to solve and the solutions we’re trying to create have never been seen before. This is the best time to realise and implement new ideas and perspectives – the best time for women and other underrepresented groups join the charge (pun intended) into the future.
If you would like more information on our scholarship opportunities, please click here or email [email protected]
This Scholarship is made possible by the generosity of our partners.
Looking to start your clean energy career journey? Find your role in Australia's clean energy transition with the Clean Energy Careers Guide.