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AEE CWEEL Visits Chile Chapter Event

By Laurie Weigand-Jackson, Co-Chair, CWEEL

It was an honor to represent AEE and CWEEL in Chile. I participated in meetings from Monday October 14 – Friday October 18. We had an excellent meeting with AEE Chile & CWEEL Chile on Monday October 14th

There were about 40 attendees from the College of Engineering faculty and students, and public and private sectors.

In attendance for AEE & CWEEL were Romina Cid Moris, the President of the CWEEL Chile Chapter (she organized the event in conjunction with the AEE chapter), Michel de Laire, the current AEE Chile Chapter President and Erwin Plett, President of the Commission of Energy and a former AEE Chile President.  

Speakers also included Mr. Arturo Gana, President of the College of Engineering, and Ms. Marcia Carrasco, President of the Commission of Women Engineers, Ms. Loreto Mateo, Director of AChEAP and Ms. Nicole Verdugo President of the Women and Business Chamber of Chile.

Also that week, Romina and I participated in the Public-Private Dialogue on Energy Modernization as part of the APEC Chile week of events.  Speakers were in attendance from throughout the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Taiwan, and the USA.  I also met with Francisco Javier Lopez, Chile Sub-Secretary of Energy and Paula Estevez, International Relations, Chile Ministry of Energy to discuss CWEEL and its role in promoting women in energy.

I met with Roxana Martinelli Ramirez, Coordinator of the Program “Win-Win” a United Nations initiative on women empowerment and equality.  Equal treatment of women and men is not just the right thing to do – it is also good for business. The program was launched in 2018 by UN Women, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU).  The program is scheduled to be implemented across six countries over 3 years: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Uruguay.  

Meetings were also held with the Ministry of Energy of Chile staff including Ms. Marcela Zulantay, Gender Coordinator in the Ministry of Energy and eight women team members. We discussed their individual roles and career objectives and I provided advice on how to build their careers in the male-dominated energy industry. What impressed me the most is the key initiative in Chile to increase women in energy – it is called “energia mas mujer”.  They are targeting 30% of women in technical, managerial and executive positions.  The government is already on target, and the private sector is building participation of women in  all facets of the industry.  CWEEL fits in very well with this initiative and is getting visibility with the Chile Ministry of Energy.  See article that Romina submitted on partnership signed in November.

2019 Dr. Shirley Hansen CWEEL Leader Award

The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and the Council of Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019 Dr. Shirley Hansen CWEEL Leader Award is Davetta Thacher, for her outstanding contributions to CWEEL and the energy community.

Pictured left to right: Nandini Mouli, Scholarship & Awards Committee Chair; Davetta Thacher, Award Recipient; and Laurie Wiegand-Jackson, CWEEL Co-Chair

Davetta Thacher
Senior Project Manager NYSERDA’s On-site Power Team

As senior project manager of NYSERDA’s on-site power team, she has helped develop, design, and manage a wide variety of energy-related initiatives, including the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Program, which provided technical and financial support for the installation of CHP systems.  Prior to joining NYSERDA, Davetta held various engineering positions within the R&D and manufacturing divisions at General Electric, Teradyne and United Technologies.  She has also been an educator, working as an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Eastern Connecticut State University and a Connecticut-certified high school math teacher. Davetta holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA, all from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  She has served as a Board Member of the AEE NY Chapter since the Fall of 2015 and as Secretary since January 2018.

AEE Chilean Chapter Hosts CWEEL Speaker

Co-Founder of CWEEL, Current Director and Former President of PREPA USA, Mrs. Laurie Wiegand-Jackson represented the member of AEE and CWEEL, as one of the important international speakers in the APEC energy week.

Laurie spoke on Friday, October 18th in Antofagasta, at “APEC Chile 2019 Citizen Meetings”, a space for open, free and decentralized dialogue, from which APEC priority issues were addressed from a citizens perspective.

For more information, contact

Join CWEEL at AEE World for Networking Events

CWEEL Breakfast
Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 7:30-9:00am

Sponsored by:

Join us for a FREE breakfast and keynote presentation in support of women-owned businesses, and the unique barriers and opportunities these firms encounter in the marketplace. Sponsored by:

Following Your North Star

Denise Turner Roth
Chief Development Officer

CWEEL Reception
Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 4:00-6:00pm

Join AEE’s Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership for an afternoon of networking.  Enjoy drinks and Hors d’oeuvres while supporting the CWEEL Scholarship Program. Free for CWEEL members, $20 for Supporting Partner attendees, $30 for all others.

CWEEL Presents “More Effective Networking”
Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 1:30-2:30pm

The Council on Women in Energy & Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) will conduct a session to help women to learn how to more comfortably and effectively network in a room full of men. CWEEL is a division of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) that supports the role of women in the energy and environmental industries. It assists in career development activities for existing professionals and also enables young women aspiring to leadership roles to find mentors that will support their own development.

Session Description:
Whether you are new to networking (or if you’ve just never been comfortable with it), a male-dominated networking event can produce extreme anxiety and feelings of incompetence especially if you must sell to the group.

This talk shares how to overcome this anxiety and successfully network in any situation by putting yourself “in state” by assuming the role of The Engager instead of The Salesperson.

By employing back-yard BBQ engagement tactics, women learn how to be confident, memorable, and instantly welcome by enabling others to feel comfortable. These Engager skills translate from work to everyday life and the talk shares how to develop your networking skills even when you’re at the grocery store.

Session Instructor:
Emily Beck is a Business Development Manager with Schneider Electric’s cleantech division, working with global manufacturers to help them procure utility-scale renewables. Emily has always loved the thrill of prospecting and developing relationships with new clients, however, she formerly dreaded having to network at business events. She now loves to network in a room full of men and hopes to inspire and enable women to do the same. When Emily is not at work she is usually talking about vintage Jeeps and doting on her bloodhound Rufus.  Emily is a member of CWEEL. 

(NOTE: While this session is oriented toward helping women, men are welcome to attend). 

2019 AEE West CWEEL Breakfast Speaker Highlight: Move Your Market. Change the World.

Written by MaryAnne Lauderdale, PE, CEM

Transforming Sustainability from a “Check-the-box” Approach to a Strategic Growth Driver that can Move Your Market and Change the World.


Carolyn Parrs, CEO of Mind Over Markets and founder of Women of Green, engaged the morning audience with her keynote presentation for the CWEEL Women in Leadership breakfast, at AEE West in Santa Clara, CA on June 6. Ms. Parrs provides strategic marketing advice, helping her clients tap into the exploding interest in sustainable products and services from consumers, and their demands for corporate environmental accountability.

Some “fun facts” from Carolyn’s presentation – recent marketing surveys have found:

  • 88% of Americans think that the average person should be taking “concrete steps” to reduce his or her environmental impact
  • Women…
    • Purchase 85% of all consumer goods in the US
    • Have $7.4 trillion in purchasing power
  • 92 million Millenials (born between 1981-1997) have $1.4 trillion in disposable income
  • When Millenials trust a brand’s environmental and social/business practices…
    • 90% buy from that brand
    • 95% recommend the brand to others, largely via social media

But how can companies reach these consumers effectively with their products? How can they get their messages out in the world of nonstop news feeds? And, how can companies learn what their consumers and customers really want?

Carolyn’s formula includes four essentials:

  1. Lay the Sustainability Groundwork for Strategic Growth
  2. Define your Sustainability Strategy & Work It
  3. Seek Collaborations to Advance It
  4. Own your Sustainability Story yet Lead with What’s Meaningful to Your Customer

These steps may appear simple and logical, but her approach with clients is all about disciplined action. In one case study, she shared the story of PNM (Public Service Company of New Mexico) and the local community at loggerheads over adding more renewable energy in the state, while maintaining affordable energy costs.


Action began by interviewing community members, utility customers, environmental advocates and thought leaders to learn what was important, where stakeholder interests diverged, and where their interests coincided.

Sustainability Strategy

Carolyn’s sustainability strategy follows the LEAP approach:

  • Listen
  • Engage
  • Align & Act

which can result in:

  • Profit

For the community and stakeholders in New Mexico, these actions contributed not only to the utility’s interests, but helped them see that their concerns were listened to and heard. Balancing community interests with financial possibilities and constraints created solutions-driven interactions, and contributed to the next essential: Collaboration.


This interactive process evolved into a true collaborative effort to identify realistic objectives for the state and local jurisdictions. Ultimately, the interests of the community – to increase sustainable energy production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state – became aligned with the utility’s and consumers’ needs to meet projected energy demands cost-effectively.

Carolyn has employed this strategy to assist many corporations with their sustainability plans. However, the job does not end there.

Own your Sustainability Story

Organizations have the tools to communicate their objectives and results, but unless the organization has an integrated communication strategy, companies are at risk for allowing their successes to be dissected and represented as failures. Organizations need to recognize their strengths and challenges, and craft the stories of their actions to present a consistent message communicating their obectives and results clearly.

Whether an entity is a startup or has been around for more than 100 years, the process for developing sustainable energy supply with community involvement is simple and clear: we can solve these environmental problems as a whole society. To close, Carolyn shared a video by Greta Thurnberg, a young woman whose forward-thinking videos have activated many people world-wide to recognize that they are empowered to create and participate in the solutions to our current climate management challenges. Greta said, “What we need more than hope – is ACTION!”

We are the guardians of our world – there are no others. THE TIME IS NOW!

For more information, contact:

Carolyne Parrs, CEO Mind Over Markets
Seattle – Santa Fe

Carolyn Parrs | CEO, Mind Over Markets | Founder, Women of Green

Carolyn Parrs is the CEO of Mind Over Markets, a trusted, strategic advisor since 2003 helping brands transform sustainability from a “check-the-box” approach to a strategic growth driver that can move their market and change the world.

Carolyn started her journey working at some of the top New York City advertising agencies including Benton & Bowles and Wunderman Worldwide, serving clients such as General Foods, Proctor & Gamble, AT&T, IBM, Richardson-Vicks, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, Time/Life Books and more. 

Carolyn and her products have appeared on television shows including Good Morning America, ABC News, CBS News and on radio and cable shows such as HBO, CNN and Lifetime Channel. Print coverage includes The New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, People Magazine and Cosmopolitan.

As committed sustainability advocate, she created Women Of Green, a robust online community that “turns up the volume” of the feminine voice in green. She is a featured author in Thomson Reuters book series for C-level executives: Inside the Minds: Greening your Business. She lives and works in Seattle and Santa Fe with her pups, Heart and Soul.

CWEEL Women in Energy Leadership Expands

The Council of Women in Energy & Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) is pleased to announce the appointment of three outstanding women to the Board of Directors. 

Suhair Al Mhairat, JPE, CEM, REP, CSDP is a senior engineer at Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization with over 15 years of experience in the fields of renewable energy and certification systems.  Suhair holds a master degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Jordan and will hold a leadership position on the Board’s Membership Committee.   

Cara Olmsted is Director of Strategic Development & Renewable Sales for ConEdison Solutions.  She has been with ConEdison, Inc. for 34 years.  She holds a BS in Business from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Fordham University and is the mother of 3 daughters.  Cara will assume a leadership role on the Fundraising & Corporate Sponsorship Committee. 

Charlotte Wagner, PE, CEM, LEED AP BD+C is a Managing Director of Major Accounts and Standardization at Edison Energy, LLC and has 25 years of energy industry experience.  Charlotte has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland.  She will be leading the Mentoring Program on the Board of Directors. 


Suhair Al Mhairat
MSc, JPE .CEM®,REP™,CSDP® Senior Engineer
Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization
Contact Information
(962) -79 – 9031261

Suhair will be contributing to the success of CWEEL worldwide as the leader of our Membership Committee. Suhair Al Mhairat is a senior engineer, working at the Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization for 15 years working in the fields of renewable energy and certification systems (ISO 17065, ISO 17025 and ISO 9001) against the international standards. She holds a master degree in Chemical Engineer from University of Jordan. In 2018, she achieved the requirements of a professional degree Professional engineer, JPE, from Jordan engineers association in renewable energy. 

She was recognized in 2016 as “International Energy Professional Development” awardee by the Association of Energy Engineers in Washington D.C. 

She became a trainer for ISO 50001 ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (within the MENA Star Project which is implemented by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)and funded by SIDA). She is also an authorized trainer for certified sustainable development professional (CSDP®) training from AEE. She became an EFQM certified assessor with King Abdullah II Center for Excellence 2014/2015. Suhair prepared a comprehensive strategy to train female engineers for international certification programs and submitted it to USAID to provide the proper funding. 45 engineers were trained through 6 courses in 2015. Another funding request was submitted for 2016 and was approved. 

Suhair has been leading the first International Chapter of the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) in Jordan since May 2014. She had been a board member of the Jordan Energy Chapter of AEE since 2011-2017. Also, she became the first female Certified Energy Manager, CEM® in Jordan by passing a professional exam from the Association of Energy Engineers in the USA. 

Cara Olmsted
Director Strategic Development & Renewable Sales
Con Edison Solutions
Contact Information
(914) 286-7012
(914) 629-2839 (cell)

Cara will bring her experience in fundraising and leadership to CWEEL to lead the Fundraising & Corporate Sponsors Committee.

Cara is the Director of Strategic Development & Renewable Sales for Con Edison Solutions. She  has been with Con Edison, Inc. for 34 years.

Over the years she has actively marketed and sold energy efficiency, commodity supply, demand response, and solar EPC services.  She has participated and led corporate strategic initiatives including new business start-ups and new/existing product growth and expansion.  In her roles, she has had significant interaction with C-level executives and technical teams.  For the past eight years she also launched and participated in the Committee for the company’s annual Environmental Health & Safety awards. As the Chairperson of the committee, she managed a team of 8 professionals, to develop an evaluation process, scoring approach, and reach consensus in selecting the winners.  In addition, each year she has given the opening remarks at the awards ceremony with a focus on the three key points – ideation, process, and leadership in achieving success in the pursuit and execution of the work that we do.  In Cara’s words “Leadership is framed not from the perspective of an external source or guide but from the leader that resides within each one of us to, define our path, act with integrity, and achieve happiness and meaning in our lives and through our work.”

Cara spent four years on the Stewardship Committee of her Church successfully meeting fundraising goals required to support the financial needs of the church and its ministries. Cara has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri and a Masters Business Administration from Fordham University, New York, with a major in Finance and Marketing.

Cara is a mother of three daughters.  Her goals for her daughters are the same that she has for the women of CWEEL – to support them in finding their path, their voice, and their passion as they pursue their careers and relationships. 

Charlotte Wagner
Managing Director
Edison Energy, LLC
Contact Information
949-392-8038 | 949-887-6906 (cell)

Charlotte has been active in AEE and she is an active CWEEL Mentor. She is also an active member and leader in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Charlotte brings this valuable experience to lead the CWEEL Board’s Mentor Program Committee.

Charlotte brings over 25 years of energy industry experience with a focus on energy auditing, building automation, HVAC optimization and energy project management. She has effectively managed large teams (30-50) of energy engineering professionals for several major energy firms including Yardi and Enernoc.   Most recently, she is the Managing Director of Major Accounts and Standardization at Edison Energy, LLC.

Over her career, Charlotte has been very involved in volunteering at the Society of Women Engineers where she received their Distinguished Service Award in 2008.  She has been active in SWE local chapters – the Washington-Baltimore Chapter (1991-1999) and the Orange County CA Section(1999-2017). She has also been involved at the National level in several leadership roles with SWE (2000-2019) including: Senior Member Engagement Task Force Member, 2017-2019; Leadership Pipeline Task Force Chair, 2008-2009; Committee member, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011; Distinguished Service Award judge, 2004- 2007, 2009-2018; National Membership Chair, 2002-2003; National Section Vitality Task Force Leader/Chair, 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 (Section Vitality was later renamed Leadership Coaching)

Charlotte received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and is an AEE Certified CEM and is LEED AP certified.

Event: 4th Power Conference to ADVANCE Women in Utilities

Being held May 20-21, 2019 in New Orleans, LA

The conference mission is: To help individual professionals in utilities – what can I do to advance my career? What tools do I need? What do I need to learn? Whom do I need to meet? To help utility organizations – what can our company do to improve efforts to recruit, retain, mentor, and advance women? What needs to change culturally? How do we take the next steps toward our goals?

CWEEL Members can register and save 25% with this link:

CWEEL Tunisia chapter Announcement at WENERCON 2019

AEE Tunisia organized the 2nd Annual WENERCON conference in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia in February 2019.

The conference was attended by energy professionals from North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the USA.

The focus of the event was Job Opportunities and Women Empowerment in the Energy Sector. it was definitely a success with women making up over half of the attendees! Lori Moen, current AEE President, and Laurie Wiegand-Jackson, CWEEL Board Co-Chair and founder, were in attendance as keynote speakers for the event which was organized by Ayoub Baba, AEE Tunisia’s President. Also in attendance from AEE were Bill Kent, AEE Executive Director, and Larry Good, Director of AEE International Chapters.

In addition to the excellent panel sessions and speakers, CEM certificates were awarded to recent attendees that passed the CEM exam this year.

The highlight of the event was the announcement of the formation of the CWEEL Tunisia Chapter. The Board of CWEEL Tunisia was introduced and they launched an online mentoring platform to link CWEEL mentors and mentees. The AEE team and CWEEL Board met to discuss plans for a joint government and CWEEL program to support employment of women in the energy sector in Tunisia. The teams also met with local ministers of the Tunisia government to discuss this and other opportunities in the energy sector. Tunisia recently announced plans to have 30% renewable energy by 2030 – which will stimulate job opportunities in the energy sector.

Many thanks to the Tunisia AEE and CWEEL members for their amazing hospitality!

Jamaica Society for Energy Engineers Award Ceremony for CEMs

The Jamaica Society for Energy Engineers (JSEE) was established in 2009, and is the first AEE chapter in the English speaking Caribbean. The Awards Ceremony held on June 14, 2018, celebrated recently qualified Certified Energy Managers and Energy Managers in Training, including nine females.  The function and some of the training was sponsored by USAID’s Caribbean Clean Energy Program.


jamaicaspeechCWEEL Jamaica Chapter Representative Jodi Graham CEM highlighted that internationally, regionally and of course specifically in Jamaica, the demand is continuously increasing, not only for energy professionals, but for energy professionals who are well trained and whose certification is recognized and accepted across the board.  Through the certification program, there is recognition of the value and strength in diversity – whether that is varying problem solving approaches, public or private sector experiences, or in the range of educational backgrounds as well as gender diversity. Her advice to the CEMs included:

  • Use your skills. Strive to make an impact immediately – however small, wherever you are. Start now, and don’t stop.
  • Build your professional network. Participate and positively contribute to a wider range of conversations and initiatives.
  • Continuous education – keep up to date – the energy sector is dynamic and will leave you behind.
  • Look out for opportunities – several may either view the CEM certification as a valuable asset, and others outright require it. Where the opportunities may not be crystal clear, be bold and create them.

jamaicanelsonMary Elise Cox, International Program Director with AEE welcomed the awardees to the AEE family and led the gathering in a toast to AEE founder Al Thumann. She highlighted the strength of the AEE, its international chapters as well as the growing impact of CWEEL. The upcoming October 2018 staging of the World Energy Engineering Congress in Charlotte, NC will be an excellent avenue to further build on the network. Tamar Nelson CEM Top Achiever was specially recognized for her excellent performance in the certification exam, scoring > 900/1040.


2018 Summer CWEEL Newsletter