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In conversation with the successful Chloe Munro Scholarship 2022 recipients, who will all be undertaking a leadership course delivered by Education Provider, Women & Leadership Australia.

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Leah Powell
Area Coordinator
Hyrdro Tasmania

Tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally

I live in a small local township with my husband and two children, surrounded by the pristine mountains, rivers and lakes that support the generation of clean, renewable energy.

I am the Area Coordinator for Hydro Tasmania (HT), based on the west coast of Tasmania. Being an Area Coordinator requires you to be quite flexible and have diverse skills. You need to have an understanding of an array of aspects of the business, including budgets and the energy market. I am also responsible for scheduling maintenance for HT’s assets, with the required resources and timing.

I am deeply invested in the culture of our teams and supporting them in their growth and development. I work with many internal and external project managers and support local community organisations and businesses with recreational water releases, access for apiarists to invest in our local Leatherwood and tour guides, to name a few.

I have worked for the business since 2009. It has allowed me to gain a trade as an Electrician and given me opportunities to grow my career within the industry as well as develop leadership skills to inspire and lead in a male-dominated industry.

What was your pathway into the renewable energy industry?

I started to work within the renewable sector by chance. The mountains and lakes, which are used as part of the renewable energy in Tasmania, are my backyard. I was approached to work as a sub-contractor as a Maintenance Assistant, which led to a similar role within HT. I then went on to do an Electrical Apprenticeship and worked as an Electrical Fitter Maintainer.

By chance, I was tapped on the shoulder when a team member had a length of leave to take on the Coordinator role in their absence. Fortunately, with HT, we can grow and develop into different roles to be exposed to many different aspects in the industry.

What inspired you to pursue leadership within the renewables industry?

In my current role, I am the one ensuring our plant is ready for service as well as supporting the team in their efforts to execute the work, personal development and as someone to lean on.
To be a leader within this sector for me is to lead respectfully, authentically and with integrity, and to pave the way for future women like my daughter.

I take inspiration from women leaders like Julie Bishop and Hydro’s own Ruth Groom that speak with passion and sincerity to support others and navigate the challenges that go with it. It’s seeing the conversations that they engage in that has inspired me to challenge my leadership goals.

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

I love the quote: “The greatest adventure in life is what you decide to do with it.” The 21st century has opened so many doors for women in industry and to work knowing that you are working/producing clean energy that is leaving legacies to our future generations leaves many in awe.

We work in some of the most pristine parts of the world and, in some cases, with limited resources. As women we need to overcome our fears of imposter syndrome, be brave to step up. Know you are supported to take that leap. I have personally seen the evolution from being the only woman in the field and to now see more women wanting to work in the industry and making it the norm to have sanitary bins in bathrooms.

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?

Chloe Munro is an example of the why! She was a pioneer and her legacy demonstrates what woman can do and how to lead with integrity. It’s the nurturing we can provide to one another and how we grow as a tribe.
I believe we need to remove the idea of gender-specific roles and encourage industry to be more inclusive, either with financial assistance, supporting mechanisms/programs with mentors internally or externally.
We need to encourage cultural awareness within industry, support flexible work conditions and ensure industry builds strategic foundations for the future.

Further information

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

Scholarship Partners

The 2022 round of Chloe Munro Scholarship was made possible by the generosity of our partners.

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Transforming Talent - a short film from Women in Renewables

An incredibly popular program to support the betterment of gender equity in the clean energy sector.


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