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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

CWEEL Chapter Liaison’s Growing!

As a reminder, one of AEE’s 2018 objectives is to have a CWEEL Chapter Liaison for every local AEE Chapter.  Chapter Liaisons are leaders in their AEE chapters who encourage, strengthen, and inspire other women to network and grow professionally.  We are actively recruiting additional Chapter Liaisons to strengthen our CWEEL Chapter Liaison Committee.

The Chapter Liaison Committee coordinates between local AEE chapters and CWEEL on a number of topics, including scholarships, mentoring, fundraising, and membership. This Committee provides chapter support and promotes CWEEL programs and goals including the development of a more prominent voice for women in the industry. Chapter Liaisons bring visibility to AEE and CWEEL during industry events and improve leadership opportunities for women.

The Chapter Liaison role would include a 30 minute monthly conference call with the Liaison Committee to leverage best practices and events between CWEEL and the local AEE chapters.  Some examples would include:  CWEEL held its first regional networking event at NJ Natural Gas with over 50+ attendees and we are planning a NYC event late summer.  The NYC Chapter Liaison, Israa Ajam, is currently working with us to drive visibility for the event.  Thanks Israa!

We wanted to thank & recognize the following for CWEEL Chapter Liaisons for their support and dedication:  Lisa Kosanovic (Connecticut), Israa Ajam (NYC), Nagea Littleton (Central Alabama), Emily Beck (Colorado), Kat Stahl (Raleigh(NC)), Jeneen Horton (Huntsville (AL)), Nandini Mouli (Baltimore), Nicole Davis (Arkansas), Leslie Kramer (Bay Area), Maryanne McGowan (SW Ohio), Shelley Sullivan (SE Michigan),  Heather Wheeler (Danville (VA)), Elin Shepard (Columbia River (OR)), Kelsey Chegus (Alberta, Canada) and Monica Bersani & Maryanne Campbell (Greater Philadelphia), Janine Finnell ( National Capital), Rebecca Karason & Angela Rybalt (Ohio Capital City), Carla Dozal (New Mexico), Diana Fuller (Peoria, IL) and Diana Medina-Lopez (San Joaquin Valley,CA).

We are still currently recruiting for CWEEL Chapter Liaisons from following USA Regions and Canada:

Region 1: New England, Maine, NJ, Long Island, Western NY, Central Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley & Western Pennsylvania

Region 2: Sunshine, Atlanta, Piedmont, East Tennessee, Mid-South, Middle Tennessee & Southeastern Virginia

Region 3: Iowa, Central Illinois, Chicago, Indiana, Kentucky, West Michigan, Twin Cities, Voyager, Northern Ohio, West Central Ohio, Wisconsin

Region 4: Rocky Mountain, Kansas City, St. Louis, Austin/San Antonio, North Texas, Texas Lone Star

Region 5: Arizona, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Southern California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Pacific Northwest

Canada: Canada East, Hamilton, Southern Ontario, Southwestern Ontario


If you are interested in becoming a CWEEL Chapter Liaison sign up through the following link:

Again – help strengthen our CWEEL Team by becoming a CWEEL Chapter Liaison!  If you have any questions please contact

Deborah O. Lenny, CWEEL Board Member – Chapter Liaison Committee at

“Superman” Afure Onekpe

AfureeditAfure is the founder of the AEE Alberta Chapter, and she has dedicated countless hours of service to the energy efficiency industry in Alberta which has experienced incredible growth over the last few years. She currently serves on the Board of AEE – Alberta as Vice President, and she was also recently elected to the Board of the Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance. Not only is she an extremely accomplished professional, but she is also a mother to 4 young kids and an inspiring role model to myself and many others in Alberta. There is also much to be said about recent developments and momentum being created in Alberta for the energy efficiency industry.

Afure has over 15 years Environmental, Energy and Engineering experience. She holds a Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. She is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Certified Environmental Professional (EP) with a specialization in Energy, Sustainability, GHG/Air and Water, Certified RETScreen Expert (CRE), Certified Enterprise Program Manager (EPM) and a Canadian Sustainable Energy Practitioner (CSEP). Afure currently works as a Senior Account Manager and Lead Energy Auditor for Energy Efficiency Alberta BNI Program and Non-Profit Energy Efficiency Transition Program (NEET). She promotes Energy Efficiency as a resource to Albertans through her involvements in various industry associations, numerous networks and connections.

EMC CWEEL Breakfast in Seattle

CWEEL hosted the Women in Leadership Breakfast at the West Coast Energy Management Congress on Thursday June 21 in Seattle, WA. Keynote speaker Susan Wickwire, Executive Director of the Seattle 2030 District and Washington state native, presented her thoughts on creating successful partnerships between the public and private sectors, while weaving in anecdotes from her life story, prior work for the EPA and state department, and the things that have driven her throughout her public service.

Ms. Wickwire has experienced first-hand the positive benefits to industrial and commercial businesses resulting from well-designed and executed government environmental programs. She assumed leadership of the Seattle 2030 District in 2015 – one of nearly two dozen major cities across the U.S. participating in the 2030 District initiative – which has grown to a membership of more than 150 property owners/managers, community and professional stakeholders, and resource partners. The objectives of the Seattle 2030 District are to develop realistic, measurable, and innovative strategies to assist district property owners, managers, and tenants in meeting aggressive goals for reducing environmental impacts of facility construction and operations. More about the Seattle 2030 District here –

CWEEL thanks Frontier Energy for their gracious sponsorship of the program.

See more pictures from the CWEEL Breakfast here –

Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Hail… nothing stops GLOBALCON!

It was March — it was Boston – and it was madness! That’s March Madness, aka the NCAA basketball tournament. Adding another level of excitement to Beantown was AEE’s 2018 Globalcon Conference, which included our CWEEL breakfast meeting. Mother Nature apparently wanted in on the action too – so she delivered a Nor’easter and, in doing so, almost kept CWEEL’s keynote speaker from making her appointed round.

The first thing we learned about Ilana Juda, Principal, Director of Sustainability at FXFOWLE, was that she has perseverance. She made the trek from New York City to deliver her inspiring message about how her values, developed in childhood, have enabled her to break through many barriers, which now included snowstorms! Ilana explained that she was raised by “devout environmentalists,” therefore sustainability is ingrained in her character. A champion of sustainable design initiatives through her profession as an architect, Ms. Juda promotes her agenda through advocacy, education and research. Of particular importance to her, is mentoring young women and fostering their leadership development while encouraging them to be leaders in sustainability design principles.

Besides hearing our thought-provoking speaker, getting the latest news about CWEEL, and enjoying a scrumptious breakfast, CWEEL extended one more reason to attend our meeting – we held a drawing to give away an Amazon Echo Dot to one breakfast attendee. Nancy Gardner, Senior Indirect Sales Manager, Direct Energy Business was the lucky winner.

We are also grateful to Frontier Energy for sponsoring the event and are pleased Carina Paton from their New York office was able to brave the elements to share about her company and its interest in supporting our organization.

CWEEL deeply appreciates everyone’s participation and support.

Harnessing the Energy Industry’s Shifting Workforce for Greater Diversity

AEE’s Council of Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership division recently participated in Mediaplanet USA’s Women in Energy campaign where we united with like-minded thought leaders and associations to shed light on the exciting and impactful opportunities available to women in the field. With 50% of the workforce retiring in the next 5-7 years, it’s crucial to highlighting the best practices for women to enter and excel in this rewarding industry.

The campaign was distributed through USA TODAY on June 8th, 2018 and is published online and the article is also listed below.

Harnessing the Energy Industry’s Shifting Workforce for Greater Diversity

More than fifty percent of the energy workforce was eligible to retire in 2015, resulting in an ongoing phenomenon known as “the great crew change.” Innovation in the sector generates greater demand for talent as new energy markets and technology drive employment. Companies are addressing this talent gap by investing in initiatives to recruit and develop employees that have the technical, managerial and leadership skills for this evolving sector. One initiative is a mentoring program to support young professionals (male and female) to enter, grow and advance in the industry. Mentors are industry-based, experienced professionals that are screened and partnered with a mentee. Mentees may be student interns, recent graduates, early stage employees and mid-level employees who are interested in advancing in the industry.

Boosting women through mentorship

The Department of Energy’s 2017 US Energy and Employment Report found the traditional energy and energy efficiency sectors employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. Yet women in these sectors range from just 22 to 34 percent, compared to 47 percent of the overall economy’s workforce. Companies and energy industry associations are implementing mentoring programs to increase diversity and specifically bring more women into the industry.

The Council for Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership, through its affiliation with the Association of Energy Engineers, offers a mentoring program to support women in their career development in energy efficiency, renewable energy, utility and energy technology fields. Both mentors and mentees apply by filling out the application listed on the Council’s website. Tahseena Kahn, the mentoring program chair, pairs the mentee with the right mentor. The mentor-mentee pair then decides the best means of communication for them, be that in person meetings, teleconference, Skype or beyond. Some mentors and mentees live outside of the United States and support someone in another part of the world.

One mentee noted, “My mentor is a perfect match for me. She works in the same industry, so we relate very well. My mentor truly cares for my success and gives great and useful guidance.” Through the guidance of their mentors, mentees have found the right job, improved their skills for career advancement, gone back to school for advanced degrees and attended management training programs.

The power of sponsorship

Beyond mentoring programs, there are informal sponsors that can help with career development and advancement. These are superiors and peers within an employer or outside (trade allies, association members, etc.) that provide guidance and honest feedback. This support may be limited to a specific life event, such as making a decision for a job change, or it may span years. A sponsor is a business associate with whom one has a natural affinity and comfort level that has knowledge of your capabilities and performance. A sponsor not only provides encouragement, but she (or he) is a trusted advisor that can help you understand the corporate culture and the skills required to be successful in the company.

As the majority of industry management are men, these sponsors are often men who recognize the inequity of the gender gap in the sector and truly care about the importance of the advancement of women to the evolution of the industry. Finding a sponsor starts by taking the initiative to ask for guidance and support. Building that relationship requires listening to feedback and allowing the sponsor to challenge you. Maintaining sponsors requires follow through, appreciation and respect.

The energy industry is in the midst of a significant workforce change, yet navigating a career in energy can still be challenging. Having both mentors and sponsors will help increase career opportunities, develop and hone skillsets, and build valuable relationships for a season or a lifetime.

eSai Awarded SBA’s 2018 Maryland Woman Owned Business of the Year Award

The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded eSai, LLC the 2018 Maryland Woman Owned Business of the Year Award.

The selection for this award was based on several criteria, including: evidence of success as measured by sales and profits; innovativeness of product or service; response to adversity; demonstrated potential necessary for long-term business success and economic growth.

Nandini Mouli, Ph.D., President, Founder & CEO of eSai Consulting, participated in a small award celebration at the SBA office with Maryland Senator, Ben Cardin and Congressman John Sarbanes. Nandini sits on the CWEEL Board as the Scholarship & Awards Committee Chair.


Nandini will be recognized on Thursday, June 7th at the 34th Annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards Luncheon at Martin’s West in Woodlawn, MD.For tickets or more information, visit the event website at