Smart Energy Voices- Episode 66

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 66

Women in Energy, with Creshona Armwood, Jordan Calverley, Monica Ferrer, and Kourtney Nelson

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In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, host John Failla introduces Creshona Armwood, Jordan Calverley, Monica Ferrer, and Kourtney Nelson from a panel at Smart Energy Decisions’ recent Innovation Summit conducted in concert with the inaugural Women in Smart Energy awards program. The panel was moderated by Smart Energy Decisions’ Director of Editorial and Research, Debra Chanil.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Women in Smart Energy award winners [03:04]
  • Working in a male-dominated industry [09:10]
  • The role of mentorship [16:06]
  • Facing bias in the workplace [23:26]
  • Making the room comfortable for everyone [30:35]
  • Asking for help is more than okay [33:58]

Celebrating Women in Smart Energy

Celebrating underrepresented women’s presence, strength, and accomplishments is a significant opportunity for the energy industry. That’s the focus of Smart Energy Decisions’ Women in Smart Energy (WISE) awards program. Until recently, most women started their careers in this field through sustainability. As that narrow pathway widens, so will the inclusion and presence of women in the space in more industry functions, including energy procurement and management. 

A big part of income inequality between males and females is because salaries aren’t discussed. That’s due to talking about money being culturally uncomfortable. Making those conversations more normal will help with the pay disparity. Discussing wages is a way to remove ambiguity. Having a good network of people to talk to about job offers and opportunities helps in the salary negotiation process.

The role of mentorship

Mentorship can come from anywhere, not just within your own organization. The goal isn’t simply to have someone who can help you navigate internal organizational policies and politics. Mentors can be peers or people from outside of your company or even your field. Also, the feedback received isn’t always going to come through the formality of mentorship. Trusted advisors in the workspace can be a good source of constructive criticism. 

There are times when a mentor can even go above and beyond by advocating and using leadership positions to speak up about issues that other people can’t. Being willing to do that can be an incredible help in the careers of young people and especially women. Trust is imperative when preparing to be a mentor. The mentor needs to be able to provide the individual being mentored with advice and address concerns and needs. Sometimes those conversations go well beyond the professional realm and into topics such as work and life balance. Being willing to serve as a mentor in those situations means extra consideration must be given to acquiring the skill sets needed to address all of the issues that may surface.

Overcoming bias

Overcoming bias in the workplace also requires preparation. While the culture is changing, there is still work to be done. It’s not uncommon that when a woman walks into a room of men, there is an assumption that she doesn’t belong there. It’s important to be careful that those assumptions don’t become stereotypical conclusions. Being prepared means someone knowing that she is qualified, knowing she has much to contribute, and knowing that she belongs. Those concepts will bring about the confidence that will allow her to cut through those biases.

Because there haven’t been that many women in the energy space, male coworkers naturally aren’t used to women being there. The responsibility doesn’t entirely fall on men to help women be comfortable. Men will sometimes need help learning how to be comfortable working with women. One way to do that is by being mindful of who the combined audience is. Helping each other will benefit everyone, and some issues will fix themselves through that awareness process.


Resources & People Mentioned


Connect with Creshona Armwood

Connect with Jordan Calverley

Connect with Monica Ferrer

Connect with Kourtney Nelson

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