Prior to working in energy finance, I worked on federal clean energy policy with the ultimate goal of advancing solutions that can help combat global climate change. A common theme of this work centered around cost of projects, financing options, and availability of funding. While I still believe policy has a strong role to play in a clean energy transition, I was eager to move into a role that could creatively address the financing challenges of clean energy and how we could work within our current financial system to alter structures and increase access and equity. I can’t magic away certain aspects of our society that rely heavily on institutional banking systems, but I can work within this system to promote projects that are good for the planet and good for people. The energy and financial sectors of our country are fraught with inequities and historic discrimination – I was eager to jump into a field where I believe I can encourage meaningful change that incorporates various voices that have been missing in the past.
Historically, women are underrepresented in both STEM fields (including the energy sector) and the financial sector, particularly in positions at the top. In general, I believe that a diverse team is extremely important for any sector, but when talking about an entire transition of our energy system – where we get our power, how it is transported (or distributed), how we pay for it, how we use it, and how waste is disposed of – it’s even more critical that we have a multitude of perspectives to ensure this transition is serving communities in an equitable manner. Energy impacts every aspect of our lives. Reliability, cost, and pollution/health outcomes that result from our energy sources are enormously consequential and impact people in different ways. Diverse perspectives, such as those brought by having more women at the table, have huge potential to create more positive team environments where everyone is empowered to speak up, as well as lead to more creativity and innovation simply as a result of differing backgrounds and lived experiences. Our work at CCEF is at the nexus of energy and finance – this involves engaging with diverse communities to identify projects, working with a multitude of potential borrowers to award funds, and encouraging community support. Who we send to communities and who represents us in these conversations determines who engages with us as a result and is the recipient of funding. Having more women in these positions will ensure the end-users of our products are fairly represented. Ultimately, the decisions we make in this energy transition impact *everybody* – so, the decisionmakers should be representative of *everybody* in this society.