The Power of Mentorship and Networks for Women in Clean Energy


Nicole Iseppi and Adriana Elera
Women in clean energy are creating a sustainable future, contributing their expertise and vision to the vital growth of the renewable sector. (Photo credit: iStock / pixdeluxe)

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Director of Energy Innovation Nicole Iseppi and Adriana Elera wrote a joint article to share insights on the challenges women face in the energy sector, and strategies they have leveraged to navigate them. Their unique perspectives reflect the dynamic journey of women in energy at different stages in their careers.

The following Q&A is based on their article and has been edited for length and clarity.

How many women work in the clean energy sector?

The global energy transition holds incredible promise for a sustainable future, yet women still face significant barriers hindering their full participation. The figures paint a stark picture. Despite comprising 32% of the renewable energy workforce, women's representation in leadership and technical roles remains notably lower. The presence of women in senior management roles stands at a mere 10.8%. Unequal access to education, limited technical training opportunities, and prevailing gender gaps continue this ongoing disparity.

Why does women’s engagement matter?

Women's active engagement isn't merely a matter of equality; it's a strategic imperative for a sustainable future. A more diverse workforce is a smarter, more resilient workforce. It means different approaches to problem-solving, a broader range of experiences, and a greater capacity to adapt to change. This is crucial to accelerate clean energy transformations.

Nicole engages in discussions about a clean energy venture with one of the winners at the 2023 Student Energy Summit - Innovation Jam during COP28 in Dubai.

What are the biggest challenges for women who are working – or want to work – in the energy sector? What strategies can help to navigate careers in the energy industry?

In the dynamic landscape of the energy transition, women continually face unique barriers. While companies have made progress in implementing policies for inclusivity hiring more women, most of the challenges remain in career advancement.

For both of us, nurturing career aspirations with determination and continuous growth has been pivotal. Surrounding ourselves with mentors and a supportive network helped us to navigate the complexities of career progression, inspiring us to elevate our capabilities.

Nicole, as a woman in a position of leadership in the energy sector, what can you share from your experience? What advice would you give to women with similar aspirations?

My professional journey has led me from Australia to Japan to Middle East to Europe and now to the US. Because of this, I’ve been able to connect professionally and personally with so many people. I’ve built strong, trusted relationships and partnerships, and this has significantly contributed to my ability to excel in the global energy sector at a strategic level, where a predominant male presence prevails.

For me, it’s important to highlight that everyone has a voice. Seize every chance to showcase your contributions, embrace opportunities to acquire new skills, let your work speak for itself, and push boundaries by exposing yourself to new experiences.

Adriana offers insights to one of the finalists of the 2023 Student Energy Summit – Innovation Jam at COP28 in Dubai.

Adriana, what is your perspective? Your advice?

Throughout my career, I’ve cherished the privilege of being surrounded by accomplished female leaders — like Nicole — who have been a source of inspiration and wisdom, particularly in navigating traditionally male-dominated environments. They have not only provided me avenues for active participation in global discussions, for instance during COP28, but also exposed me to learning from high-profile specialists. Their support and motivation have been crucial for me to confidently raise my voice and share my expertise on a broader international scale.

I encourage fellow women to reflect about themselves, recognizing their strengths and actively nurture them to reach their full potential. Collaboratively, let’s create safe spaces where we can be our authentic selves and that allow us to flourish.

How does all of this fit into your current roles?

At the Bezos Earth Fund we are actively fostering an inclusive ecosystem where talent knows no gender, race, or background. Our goal is to craft a future where women play pivotal roles in every aspect of the renewable energy sector.

To our fellow female peers in the energy sector: your journey is a testament to what we can achieve through dedication, resilience, and belief in your own potential. Your individual success also contributes to greater women’s collective success. Standing on the shoulders of those women who paved the way for us, we believe it is our shared responsibility to actively unlock opportunities, fostering a more inclusive industry for the generations of women to follow now and in the future.

Related News

Our Newsletter

Stay Informed