The world’s biggest power generation event, POWERGEN International, recently held a meeting to highlight the importance of a better balance within the energy industry workforce, with a core focus on increasing the number of women in the workforce, but also improving diversity and inclusion levels. The Lunch for a Better Balance included three key speakers, all recognized for Excellence in Character Awards (previously known as Woman of the Year Award). The awards are allocated to professionals in the power generation industry who have taken the lead on a specific project. The three representatives included:
- Linette Casey with Siemens Energy
- Jennifer Fernandez with Southern California Edison
- Andrea W. Lucan with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld
During the discussions, representatives highlighted the importance of the word “balance,” emphasizing that the energy industry requires balance for change and balance for equity. Other highlights of the discussion were factors raised concerning diversity, integrity, and mentorship.
While many businesses today have developed specific programs for diversity and inclusion, the group suggested that more effort is required in this area. Members at the meeting explained that diversity groups cannot just be segmented into categories such as women or parents, but, instead, the focus should be applied to the diversity of thought within teams.
Mentorship was another area of discussion and representatives suggested that businesses need to focus on sponsorship, rather than mentorship. A sponsor enables another person to experience the journey, rather than being mentored from the sidelines. The group emphasized that the focus should be on collaborating, not competing.
A diverse workforce will generate multiple benefits for a business, but many of these benefits are not necessarily quantifiable. So it is in everyone’s best interest to sharpen the focus on this important topic.