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A Look Back at Vancouver Chapter’s Women in Sustainable Energy Networking Event

Masha Doubrovskaia, Vancouver Chapter Communications Subcommittee Co-Chair
Friday, August 25, 2017

“We want to encourage more women to pursue opportunities like this; we want to show that it’s really inclusive, positive and an exciting (not intimidating) environment.”  - Selina Liu, WISE Event Lead

With the help of our mentors, volunteers, participants and sponsors, BCSEA Vancouver Chapter hosted its first Women in Sustainable Energy Networking (WISE) event on June 20, 2017. The event was to connect people seeking to enter careers related to sustainable energy with well-established women mentors in those fields. Judging by the turnout and many positive comments from the people who were there, this year’s WISE event was an overwhelming success!

BCSEA Vancouver Chapter has hosted sustainable energy networking events in the past, but this was the first time we organized an event specifically focused on women. We hoped this event would create space for women and men to talk about the experiences of women in sustainable energy careers. We felt this was important because many sustainable energy careers focus on science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) and women are underrepresented in STEM related fields in Canada.

There certainly was a lot of dialogue between the many people in attendance! We were delighted by the high event turnout including 71 registered participants, 21 mentors, and 15 volunteers to keep everything running smoothly. See below for some more great pictures from the event. (Photo credit: Laurel Murray)

We were honoured to get the support of so many women mentors from the public, private, and non-profit sectors with diverse careers related to sustainable energy. Mentor careers included Energy Efficiency Engineer, Sustainability Consultant, Energy Manager, Government and Public Affairs Representative, Process Department Lead, Executive Director, Corporate Marketing Manager, and CFO.

An attendee, Nicole, told us: “It was encouraging to hear from so many intelligent women in sustainable energy!  Most of the women were in STEM, which is encouraging on a broader scale for women’s representation in these fields. As someone from social sciences, it was great to talk with women of other educational backgrounds such as policy or linguistics now working in government or marketing in sustainable energy.”

A survey was circulated at the event and responses were overwhelmingly positive. Most of our attendees wrote they would like to see an event like this again.

Since the event, we’ve heard from many participants that they made lasting connections. Our event lead organizer, Selina Liu, summed up the impact the event had on her:  “I’m new to this city and this makes me feel included. That’s really exciting, that there all these other wonderful women and I know I can reach out to them.  I have all these women I can rely on now.”

As for closing remarks and suggestions to those interested in sustainability in BC, Selina says: “I definitely want to encourage people to come to events, but organizing is a great way to network as well.  It shows initiative and shows you’re capable of pulling off a project.”    

Vancouver Chapter hopes to make this an annual event. Stay tuned for details about our next exciting networking event and contact us for volunteer opportunities!