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In conversation with Women in Renewables Scholarship winner Heidi Sick

As the Women in Renewables initiative continues to grow strongly, the demand for scholarship opportunities grows with it. In 2018, the number of inspiring and intelligent women that applied for the Australian Institute of Company Directors: Foundations of Directorship (AICD) scholarship and the inaugural Monash Business School, Your Leadership Voice: Women in Focus scholarship hit record numbers.

Heidi Sick Ylv 2018

2019 Women in Renewables Monash Business School scholarship recipient: Heidi Sick

Heidi Sick is the Section Executive for the Power team at WSP and leads the Renewable Energy market. Her 20 years of experience stretches across three continents within several industries, covering the complete life-cycle of complex projects. This exposure has given her a solid foundation across all phases of project development and people management.

She creates and enables high-performing teams and a great work culture to achieve business and client objectives.

Tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally

With a career as a qualified chemical engineer and certified project manager spanning over 20 years, I have provided engineering services across a range of industries such as pharma/biotech, oil/gas and the energy sector. The common theme across these sectors and roles was my underlying purpose to make a positive impact and difference to society, from making life-saving drugs to reducing emissions in the oil and gas sector to transitioning to a clean energy future.

My career can be summarised in three parts:

  • operations/project engineering in my role at CSL
  • international design/engineering experience at Foster Wheeler
  • technical/professional advisory with people/team management and leadership at PB/WSP.

On a personal note, I have lived in five different countries: Australia, Mexico, Austria, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and have travelled extensively in Central America, South America and Europe.

I am now an executive overseeing a high-performing and diverse team of 30, as well as being a member of the technical advisory panel to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency... I also am married with two young boys, aged five and seven, and am living the real and constant juggle of career and family life.

Being active and outdoors in nature, cycling (up hills), hiking and exploring with my family are all things I love, and I also have a passion for Mambo (salsa) dancing and train regularly for performances and competitions.

What attracted you to the renewable energy industry and what motivated you to apply for the WiR scholarship?

Minimising the impact of climate change is the number one priority of our time for future generations. I recognised early on that in order to make an impact on climate change, the energy sector would need to change, and I wanted to be involved in the transition to a renewable energy future.

I’ve spent five years completing an engineering degree yet have not spent any time on formally developing my leadership skills. Although I have had great success with my team to date, I recognise I have a lot to work on and continuous and agile learning is critical in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) environment, which motivated me to apply for the scholarship.

I also feel like the course content of the Monash Business School Your Leadership (YLV) scholarship has been tailor-made for me, based on my personal development needs. Every module will address key areas of focus and improvement.

How will the WiR scholarship help enhance your career and allow you to achieve your personal and professional goals?

The course content of the YLV scholarship aligns extremely well with my current development needs and will be foundational to build the skills and confidence needed to take greater leadership roles in the renewables industry.

What do you think would encourage more women to enter the clean energy sector?

From my experience women attract women, so having more women visible in the sector and more women in leadership roles should help! Connecting with universities and sharing information of the possibilities/opportunities for a career in clean energy would also be useful.

There are a number of women working in other sectors (such as oil and gas) that are keen to transition to the clean energy sector. Consideration is required of how to encourage them to do that effectively.