Women in Energy Grows, Expands Learning Opportunities

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In the six years since its inception, Women in Energy (WE) has grown rapidly, providing women a variety of opportunities to strengthen their skillset and knowledge base as it relates to their careers in the energy, heating and cooling industries.  The organization now has 500 nationwide members and is on a steady growth trajectory.

It’s worth mentioning that WE is not exclusive to women, and neither are its myriad learning and networking opportunities.  Its mission, to connect and empower women working in the energy industry, extends to anyone looking to improve themselves and make an impact on the industry.

WE provides career resources, creates networking and mentoring opportunities, offers online and in-person educational courses and develops strategies to minimize obstacles women may face in the industry.  The organization hosts an annual conference, weekly webinars, regional networking events, an upcoming golf outing, and now, a new online learning center called the learning portal, called the E-Learning Library, launched in September 2022.

“With all of our recorded Webinar Wednesday sessions, our educational library has grown to be pretty expansive,” said Judy Garber, WE Executive Director.  “We’ve consolidated all of this content in the easy-to-access E-Learning Library on the WE website.  Members can access this material wherever and whenever they wish.”

The material covers everything that someone relatively new to the industry – or someone who just changed positions – may benefit from; soft skills, leadership, legal, technical, personal development, etc.  At one WE meeting feedback from participants suggested that basic information on various types of energy and HVAC technology was needed.

“We love identifying needs and providing meaningful solutions,” said Erin Holohan Haskell, WE President. “For instance, some of our members in marketing and customer service roles expressed an interest in learning more about the technical aspects of our industry to better assist their customers and expand their knowledge. This feedback gave us real direction in regard to the learning opportunities we wanted to create next.”

As a result, WE developed material on a wide variety of energy technologies.  A small sample of the courses offered include Residential Heating 101, Heating System Basics, Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel 101, Heat Pumps 101, Introduction to Solar, Wind Energy 101, and Geothermal Basics.

The E-Learning Library is a great resource for business owners and managers to bring new employees up to speed, or for members to learn on their own.

“We realize that professionals are busy and may not be able to attend our live Webinar Wednesdays or in-person programming,” said Holohan Haskell.  “This gives them the opportunity to access valuable content on their own timeline. And there’s content for everyone; those who are new to our industry as well as more experienced professionals.”

“One of the great joys I’ve found in working with WE is that we can move quickly to answer a need,” continued Holohan Haskell.  “We’re small and new enough to be nimble.  We think ‘what if?’ and then make ‘what if’ happen.  In reality, that’s how WE was founded, and we’ve continued doing that.  For a small organization, we’ve managed to get a lot done in a short time, thanks to the strong leadership of Judy Garber and a very engaged group of officers and members.”

(Left to right) Jacqueline Aceituno accepts the Judy Garber Rising Star Award from Judy herself. Photo Credit: Andrew Frongillo

The rapid growth exhibited by the organization speaks to the need for the resources that WE provides.

Benefits of annual membership far outweigh the $75 individual member investment.  In addition to unlimited access to training, membership includes discounts to events, access to networking opportunities, mentorship, etc.  Various levels of WE membership are available, from individual to a tiered corporate structure.

“We encourage people interested in WE to attend our annual conference or one of our other events,” said Garber.  “These events are engaging, fun, and offer a great opportunity to see what we’re all about.”

The 2023 WE Conference will be held in Hershey, PA, from September 20 through 22. Also, WE’s second annual golf tournament will be held on October 9, 2023, at the Hershey Country Club.

“Business relationships are often strengthened on the golf course, but we’ve noticed that women often sit out of industry tournaments because they’re unfamiliar with the sport,” said Holohan Haskell.  “WE is dedicated to providing our members with career resources to help them succeed in business, so we partnered with the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association on a tournament for golfers of all skill levels.”

(Left to right) Gary Cooperrider, Rosemarie Bartchak and Erin Holohan Haskell during a WE networking reception Photo Credit: Marjorie Feinman

Before the tournament begins, WE hosts an instructional session with a golf pro for those interested in learning the basics. If members are unfamiliar with golf, this was the perfect opportunity for them to learn the sport so they can participate in future networking opportunities on the golf course.

There are also numerous regional events held throughout the year.  These events can be found listed at the WE website.  For more information, please visit www.wewomeninenergy.com.  The E-Learning Library can be accessed at E-Learning Library – Women in Energy (wewomeninenergy.com).

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