Last month’s ETS22 event left us with so much to think about. The event’s Power Up theme elevated messages on equity, diversity, and social justice throughout all talks. One of the sessions that kicked off the event was Creating Your Space – Female Entrepreneurs in Energy with some inspiring women discussing what it takes to stand out in the male-dominated energy industry.

The workshop was led by the Director of Communications and Programming at Zpryme’s sibling brand Gridmates. The speakers were:

  • Liz Maberry, Energy Texas, Founder & Chief Marketing Officer
  • Sadie Bronk, Energy Bees, CEO and Co-Founder
  • Amy Atchley, Austin Energy, Sr. Lead, EV Equity Program

The speakers came from different backgrounds. Liz Maberry, a University of Texas graduate and Texas native, has spent over 15 years working in energy. Passionate about deregulated energy and digital marketing, Liz is now on her second retail energy startup.

Sadie Bronk has over 20 years of experience in the gas and electric utility industry. She also has over 10 years experience in implementing energy efficiency programs across the country.

Amy Atchley brings her nonprofit experience to Austin Energy, helping her use a different lens in implementing Austin Energy’s EV Equity Program. She is also a professional singer and songwriter.

Key takeaways:

  • There is an urgent and severe lack of female mentors in industry. Liz mentioned never having a female boss in the industry.
  • Female mentors are crucial for the continued advancement of women in the energy industry. However, male allies are also important. Amy’s mentor is a man. According to Amy, choosing people based on their talent to do the best job is what’s important. Good leadership and mentorship is important whether from men or women. The issue still is that there aren’t enough women mentors in the industry.
  • Establish sisterhood and teach young girls to have that sisterhood as opposed to competitiveness.
  • Life must be approached in seasonality. Meaning sometimes you have to put most of your focus on work, other times you have to focus on family. Liz said it’s hard to balance it all and don’t get trapped in the mindset to perfect everything when in reality you can’t perfect it all. And it is always acceptable to ask for help. Sometimes it’s the best thing to do.
  • Ensure to do what you love and love what you’re doing.
  • Closing the gender pay gap is a big step toward gender equality in the industry. Ask for what you deserve. Nobody will do it for you. Know your worth and ask for what you know you deserve. No one will toot your own horn so be comfortable with taking credit and asking for your worth. Sadie explained that self promotion and negotiation is key. Negotiate your job offer. Men are more likely to negotiate and always get what they asked for.
  • Teams that work together create the most success. If you’re not in a space that supports you. Create your own space and lead by example. At the end the competitiveness won’t matter, but the human connection you forge along the way.

Eventually, showing up with authenticity and ready to collaborate with others or create your own collaborative and supportive space is what matters and it is what helped our speakers navigate the energy industry and create their own spaces despite all challenges they faced along the way.