Fun fact: The Grid Edge team at GTM Research is more than 50 percent female -- a rarity in the industry.
Since the grid edge sits at the intersection of utilities, finance, consulting and technology solutions, we are well aware of the lack of diversity in the space, particularly at leadership levels. In commemoration of International Women’s Day, the women of the Grid Edge team reflected on how their professional experiences inform their passion to support a more diverse industry.
Take our short 12-question survey to tell us more about how a women's group could address current challenges in the industry (responses are anonymous). We hope you will join the effort to promote diversity in grid edge and take part in our future initiatives.
Where we get our inspiration
While our academic and professional backgrounds prior to joining GTM Research vary, we share reasons that prompted us to work in the industry.
Colleen Metelitsa, who specializes in microgrids and blockchain, developed her interest in energy and environment from exposure in high school to climate change issues, influenced by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
Similarly, Fei Wang, who focuses on customer energy management, was also influenced by her educational background; her favorite college courses involved environmental economics and geopolitics, and after graduation she worked at a nonprofit analyzing climate change policies.
Others chose to work in the energy industry because they wanted to be a part of something bigger -- citing the thrilling opportunity to witness the transformations underway in the electric power industry.
Elta Kolo, an expert on demand response and utility digitization, said: “I have always had a passion for making a difference. Working in the grid edge space provides me with a chance to be part of an ongoing change at the core of the energy transition. The complexity and interconnectivity of the space are exciting.”
The importance of a more diverse community
Paulina Tarrant, who covers the advanced metering infrastructure landscape, was introduced to the many technologies that play a role in the global energy transformation while in college. Tarrant’s first day working in the grid edge space was at a conference, and she immediately noticed the lack of women present. “It seemed a little daunting at first to think about how to fit in,” stated Tarrant.
Even more prevalent than the lack of women in industry, is the lack of women in leadership roles.
“Sometimes seeing a leader of an underrepresented group in action means more than you’d expect,” said Wang, who previously worked at New York Power Authority (NYPA) for Jill Anderson’s team. Anderson was then the Director of the Supply Acquisition & Renewable Energy group at NYPA, and is now a VP at Southern California Edison. “Being able to observe and learn from a female executive in a male-dominated industry was also a great opportunity to realize what’s possible out there with more diversity.”
The current Grid Edge team is also international.
“Coming from a different country and background, I’ve always wanted to be a part of an organization that is committed to achieving a diverse workforce,” said Mitalee Gupta, who covers energy storage at GTM Research.
Kolo, who worked with colleagues from around the world during her doctoral studies, said, “Having the opportunity to collaborate with international colleagues is what made the experience so unique and brought my understanding of the grid edge space to another level.”
Tarrant added: “We need to make sure that we make an active effort to make the grid edge space more inclusive, and there should be potential for everyone’s development.”
The challenge ahead & tell us what you think
Diversity in the grid edge space will be accessed through gender, race, ethnicity and areas of expertise. Different viewpoints will help us propel grid modernization forward. And diversity does not happen by accident. When asked recently about regrets in forming the business, Greentech Media co-founder Scott Clavenna reflected, “I do have at least one regret: not doing a better job with diversity in hiring. ‘Looking out’ for diversity doesn’t cut it.”
To build a more diverse workplace, we must be cognizant and intentionally lift people up by providing them with greater access to the right networks, skills and opportunities -- and to hold leaders accountable. On this International Women’s Day, GTM Research’s Grid Edge team invites you to join us in making the grid edge space more equal and inclusive.