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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.

Kelly Seo Headshot

Kelly Seo
Senior Associate - Legal
Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally

I was born in Korea and migrated to Sydney with my family when I was 4. I completed a Bachelor of Laws and International Studies degree at UNSW and undertook an exchange year in Barcelona. I managed to squeeze in a short internship at the United Nations World Food Programme headquartered in Rome, before starting my legal career in Sydney.

It is important to me to be able to make a meaningful social impact through my career and so I consider myself very fortunate to now be working as a Senior Associate in the Legal Team at the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The CEFC has a unique mission to accelerate investment in Australia’s transition to net zero emissions and I am inspired every day by the passion and dedication of my organisation.

The lawyers at the CEFC work across all clean energy technology types, investment products and structures within the CEFC portfolio of investments. This can be anything from a debt investment into a development of a solar or wind farm to an equity investment into a clean energy start-up.

I find working in the clean energy sector exhilarating and challenging. The movement to a net-zero future touches multiple areas and a whole range of stakeholders. For instance, it includes a consideration of economic metrics, environmental drivers and the political direction. I am constantly learning something new and it is exciting to be contributing towards a cleaner future.

Outside of the clean energy sector, I have a strong passion for good food, the outdoors and travel and I’m adamant I will make it overseas in 2022! On the weekend, you will most likely find me running around Centennial Park or going for a dip at my favourite spot in Sydney, the Bogey Hole at Bronte Beach.

What was your pathway into the renewable energy industry?

After a few years as a corporate and M&A lawyer at a private practice law firm, I became intrigued by CEFC’s values and its critical role in financing Australia’s transition to a low emissions future. An opportunity arose to join the organisation and I leapt at it! As a lawyer at the CEFC and working with the various teams in the CEFC, I have been able to leverage my corporate and M&A technical expertise to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced and advancements made in the clean energy space across a whole range of sectors in Australia’s economy including waste, resources, property, solar, wind, infrastructure, and technology.

What leadership impact do you hope to make with the scholarship?

I want to be an effective leader who inspires, persuades and encourages others: a leader who is able to tap into the knowledge and skills of a group and point to a common goal that brings value to my organisation and creates meaningful reduction to our carbon emissions. The Leading Edge Course, which will be funded by the scholarship, will hone my leadership skills as it will equip me with the knowledge and behavioural insights required for successful leadership so I can maximise my leadership potential.

In a male-dominated industry, what advice or encouragement would you give women who want to work in the clean energy sector?

Do not be intimated by the fact that it is a male-dominated industry, women are a massive asset in the industry. It can be intimidating to share your views when you feel others have more experience or are otherwise more quick to share their opinion, but I would encourage other women (and also a reminder to myself) to not be afraid to showcase your abilities and experience.

I have found it invaluable learning from others’ experiences and learning from other people (both men and women) to better understand the industry. I am lucky that at the CEFC there are amazing women who are not only examples of great leaders but also have a wealth of knowledge in the clean energy sector and are more than willing to share their wisdom and experience. As women, we shouldn’t be afraid to seek out role models, mentors, coaches and advocates (of any gender) to support us in leadership ambitions.

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?

Underrepresentation of women in industries is not only bad for equality (gender and more broadly), it also undermines Australia’s economy as it fails to recognise the underutilised pool of talent that women represent. Diversity of opinion is critical for success and growth in any industry or field. It is particularly important to support female leaders in the clean energy industry as both men and women are consumers of energy and climate change affects all people. As we see a push towards other sectors promoting diversity and female leaders, it is imperative that the clean energy industry, which intersects with all sectors of Australia’s economy, is not a laggard in this respect.

Further information

If you would like more information on our scholarship opportunities, please click here or email [email protected]

Scholarship Partners

This Scholarship is made possible by the generosity of our partners.

Website chloe munro partners