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Top 10 Advice on Career Development – Part 1

Career development is so important in any profession. Here is a list of top 10 advice/tips.

  1. Be Willing to Say Yes – Volunteer. Especially for those of you who are earlier in your careers, don’t be afraid of raising your hand to take an assignment that interests you or to go for a new position. You will benefit:
  • by increasing your own knowledge and experience;
  • from the satisfaction and confidence that comes from achieving a new goal;
  • and if you for some reason fail at the objective or aren’t chosen, you will also learn from that experience


  1. Handling Disappointment – Please Persevere! We all have setbacks.  Something doesn’t go the way you want – could be a position that you don’t get, a co-worker or boss that is difficult to work with, a project that doesn’t get approved.   
    • Be assured that it is a temporary situation – this too shall pass.
    • Don’t listen to the naysayers – anyone with negative energy/ put downs is not helping you to grow.
    • Do listen to your mentor or trusted advisor who will provide positive, encouraging and realistic feedback (more on mentors later)…

Early in my career I worked diligently and excitedly for months on a special project.  Having never completed this type of project before, I was on a huge self-learning curve.  From market analysis to planning, and from pipeline system design through economic analysis.  Once my report was completed, I was asked to be present for the utility’s Board of Director’s meeting at which it was discussed and ultimately the Board decided not to proceed with the expansion.  I was disappointed to say the least.  Some peers in the company looked at all that work as a “waste of time”.  But it taught me valuable lessons and I developed skills in market assessments and analysis that helped me in future positions and as an entrepreneur.   As a result of the exposure with the Senior VP and Board, it opened up the door to other opportunities at the company including taking on a leadership role at the utility’s retail affiliate start up and more importantly I found an unexpected passion in “start-ups”.

  1. Be Willing to Make a Choice & Take a Risk – If you don’t take a chance on something then you limit your career development options. Wanting to “stay safe” is the number one barrier to success.  You cannot succeed if you don’t even try.

I was at the stage in my career where I wanted to move from an engineering sales position into management.  There was an opening for manager of energy conservation.  I had no specific energy efficiency or conservation experience and had only minimal supervisory experience with a small group in the engineering department several years earlier.  Many in the company said it was a “dead end” job and the utility only supported energy conservation because of regulatory mandates.  I applied for the position as a means to an end – to gain management experience managing a multi-million-dollar program with associated staff and vendors.  I was selected and after one year it led to a trajectory into other management positions both within and beyond that company.  It also expanded my knowledge base into the area of Energy Efficiency which opened other opportunities for me.  It also introduced me to trade organizations, like the Association of Energy Engineers, which provided awesome networking and volunteer opportunities.

Tips 4-10 will be posted throughout the remainder of 2018 – check back for more!

CWEEL Board Member Joins the City of Santa Monica’s Building Efficiency Working Group

Kahn, TahseenaTahseena Kahn, head of the Mentoring Program for CWEEL, became a member of  the City of Santa Monica’s Building Efficiency Technical Working Group to draft a policy to reduce energy use in existing buildings. Santa Monica became the first city in the world to enact a Zero Net Energy requirement for new homes in 2017 and hopes to cut carbon emissions from buildings in half by 2030.  This group will:

  • Analyze the drivers of energy use in existing buildings and the opportunities to improve energy efficiency.
  • Evaluate existing building policy and make recommendations for future policy.
  • Identify supplementary resources that the city can develop to aid building owners and tenants in achieving deep carbon reductions.
  • Draft a policy to reduce energy use in existing Santa Monica buildings

Tahseena has also joined an Industry Advisory Council for the Chancellor of California Community Colleges to develop a statewide training program in Energy Analytics and Auditing.

CWEEL France Chapter Now Established

Congratulations to the newest CWEEL Chapter in France! They held their first meeting in January 2018.


CWEEL Jordan 10th Meeting Update!

CWEELJordan10thMeetingOn Saturday Oct 14, 2017, CWEEL Jordan held its 10th meeting for 5 hours of training on the Technical and Economic Aspects of Renewable Energy Medium Scale Projects.

The meeting started with a brief introduction from Eng. Suhair AlMhairat, CEM®, REP™, CSDP® about the CWEEL Jordan activities and she introduced the presenter.

The training was facilitated by the Team Leader of Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program”REEEII-TA” Mr. Emil Alasis as part of the programme CSR activities. 38 junior and mid-level professionals were trained on the following topics:

  1. Feasibility Study for Medium Scale PV Projects:
    • Net Metering
    • Wheeling
    • PV system Components
    • CAPEX
    • OPEX
    • NPV, IRR
    • SPB
  2. PV projects components, installation and operation.

The training was rich in content with a high level of interaction with the participants. Attendance certificates were distributed at the end of the event.

It’s worth mentioning that Mr. Alasis and besides his current work as a Team Leader of the  REEEII-TA EU program led by GFA, he is an international RE expert with more than 35 years of experience in this field.

CWEEL Jordan Meeting on Water Efficiency

CWEELJordan9thCWEEL Jordan held its 9th event of 2017 on Tuesday August 15th with two hour training in water efficiency and energy management. The meeting started with a brief introduction from Eng. Suhair AlMhairat, CEM®, REP™, CSDP® about the CWEEL Jordan activities. The training was conducted by Eng Nisreen AlHussein, CWEP®, CEM®, CMVP, EEP.

She gave an awareness presentation about the Certified Water Efficiency Professional (CWEP®) training course. In addition, the main topics of the course were displayed to the participants and discussed. The training was rich in content with a high level of interaction with the participants. Attendance certificates were distributed at the end of the event.

CWEEL Keynote Speaker: Kim Greene, Executive VP & COO for Southern Company

Kim_Greene_AR_headshotJoin us at the 40th World Energy Engineering Congress for AEE’s Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) free networking breakfast on Thursday, September 28th from 7:30-9:00am Featured speaker is Kim Greene, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for Southern Company.

All in attendance will be eligible to win an Echo Dot!

Join us at the 40th World Energy Engineering Congress

WEEC_Logo_40YEARS-1Join us at the 40th World Energy Engineering Congress September 27-29 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.

AEE’s Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) is hosting a free networking breakfast on Thursday, September 28th from 7:30-9:00am with Featured Speaker Kim Greene, Executive VP & COO, Southern Company.

In addition to the breakfast, CWEEL is hosting a special networking and fundraising reception on Thursday, September 28th from 4:00-6:00pm at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The WEEC is the one truly comprehensive event where you can fully assess the “big picture” and see exactly how the economic and market forces, new technologies, regulatory developments and industry trends all merge to shape your critical decisions, as well as define what specific steps are needed to achieve optimum energy efficiency and performance within your organization. Register online now and save $300* with discount code CWEEL300.

*You must be a CWEEL member to be eligible to use this discount code.  Click here to join AEE & CWEEL.

CWEEL East Africa Chapter Visits Kengen Olkaria 280MW Geothermal Plant

EAKengenTripThe CWEEL-EA team organized a technical site visit to the Kengen Olkaria 280MW geothermal power plant on June 24, 2017. This plant is the single largest geothermal plant in the world from a single site. The trip attracted 40 participants, both women and men, drawn from different professions which included students, environmentalists, electrical and electronics engineers, IT experts, lawyers and advocates all with a passion for renewable energy and environment. The participants were taken through the history of geothermal power in Kenya, its production and evacuation from the site. The visit was quite informative and well received, it generated a lot of conversation on utility scale quite informative and well received, it generated a lot of conversation on utility scale power production and sources and their effects on grid stability and environmental sustainability.

The Council of Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) is a division of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). It supports the role of women in the energy and environmental industries by; assisting in the career development activities for existing professionals, enabling young women aspiring to leadership roles to find mentors that will support their own development and enabling networking among professionals in the energy and environmental industries. The CWEEL-Eastern Africa falls under the Association of Energy Professional in Eastern Africa (AEPEA) which is a professional body for all professionals working in the energy sector. It is registered in Kenya and accredited as chapter of the AEE since 2014. It is the second local chapter of the AEE in Africa after the South African chapter.

One of AEPEA’s objectives in Kenya is to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, conservation and management in accordance to the existing standards, policy, legal and regulatory framework and uphold the highest standards of professionalism in the Energy sector. The Kenya Energy Mix to the national grid by energy source stands at 47% geothermal, 39% hydro, 13% thermal and 1% wind1. Geothermal supplies in Kenya are located within the Rift Valley with an estimated capacity of between 7,000 MW to 10,000 MW spread over 14 prospective sites. It has the highest availability at over 95 per cent with no adverse effects on the environment. Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited, (KenGen) is the leading electric power generation company in Kenya, producing about 75 percent of electricity capacity installed in the country. The company utilizes various sources to generate electricity ranging from hydro, geothermal, thermal and wind.

For more information contact the CWEEL-EA Liaison Caroline Makenzi on +254720399764 or on email

CWEEL Jordan Meeting on Solar

CWEEL7thMeetingThe Association of Energy Engineers local Chapter in Jordan organized the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership 7th meeting in 2017 with a four hour awareness seminar about Jinko Solar PV Modules technical presentation.

The meeting started with a brief introduction from Eng Suhair AlMhairat, CEM®, REP™, CSDP® about the CWEEL Jordan activities and welcomed the two presenters from Jinko Solar. The first part of the presentation was delivered by Eng Ali Hamam about the company production and sales facilities around the world and its accomplishment in 2016 by producing more than 6.7GW bringing the total dispatched quantity to 20GW. And the 2nd part was delivered by the Technical Service Manager – Kevin Robinson. Jinko Solar already dispatched 94MW to the MENA region and out of this quantity was 74MW to Jordan. This quantity covered around 50 projects, with the largest project 23MW. Among these projects were 7 universities, mosques, and other type of buildings.

The presentation discussed the types of PV modules, testing and certification and the upcoming new technologies like the MCT Technology for the Polycrystalline cells that will be available by end of 2017, half-cell, bifacial cells, Multiwire technology, High Efficiency Shingle Technology, the glass to glass modules which are used on large utility scale because of it 30 year warranty and low degradation of 0.5% annually, and the losses that are used in PV syst modeling

The Double IEC testing is a new feature for Jinko Solar, since they are conducting double testing that are required for UV, HF (Humidity and Freezing), DH (Damp and Heat), TC ( Temperature Cycles)

The 1500V PV Modules were presented which reduce the number of strings, cables, and combiner boxes. Kevin mentioned that the production lines are increasing in power on yearly basis by 5Watt. He also mentioned that within few weeks, Jinko customers can scan the bar code on the module and do complete tracing on the PV module, checking their flash testing and EL records.

Enlightened Management Principles to Achieve Your Goals & Those of Your Company

Janine_ManagementWorkshopBy Janine Finnell, Executive Director, Leaders in Energy and CWEEL Board Member

I recently attended a seminar focusing on achieving optimal performance from energy managers, engineers, and team leaders.  Whether you are a first time Manager or a seasoned Manager/Director with years of experience, this course is for you!  We all need to be cognizant of our communication style and those of the team members we manage.  Our role as leaders is to maximize our employees’ potential in order to achieve results.  This course allows you to dedicate time to reflect and be aware of how your style affects the team you manage.

Seven concepts resonated with me that you may find helpful in improving your capabilities as a manager which are provided below.  The two-day “Management EssentialsTM seminar was offered by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) on March 20-21, 2017 in conjunction with its GLOBALCON event in Philadelphia, PA.  It was designed to provide a clearer understanding of fundamental management strategies and how to most successfully and effectively apply them for optimum results. The seminar was organized by the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL), a component of AEE, which helps women professionals to advance in the energy industry.   Seminar attendees included managers from both private and public organizations.   The program featured nine modules titled: Human Fundamentals, Management Fundamentals, Communications Essentials, Motivation and Inspiration, Evaluation, Developmental Coaching, Corrective Coaching, Delegation, and Visioning.

The course instructor, Jim Hornickel, is a seasoned management specialist and the CEO of Bold New Directions, Inc.  who has worked in over 50 countries worldwide.  His company focuses on transforming people and performance through learning.  The seminar drew from the latest knowledge across a spectrum of disciplines from management science, psychology, and neuroscience research on the brain.  Jim included role playing and exercises with partners to demonstrate and help us better understand key management strategies.

Concepts that were covered in the seminar, which may be helpful to you and your team, included:

  • Strive to do five new things a day to help you to have greater flexibility, enhanced versatility, and more capable problem solving. Neuroscience research shows that new patterns can be developed in the brain to bring about more creativity and flexibility from engaging in new daily activities.    Examples include switching the placement of a watch normally worn on one arm to another, sleeping on a different side of the bed, taking a new route to work, etc.  By exposing the brain to novel, adaptive experiences, it is challenged to work in different ways that help to create new neural pathways.
  • Develop SMART goal setting by establishing Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Resources, and Time specific goals.   Incorporate SMART goals to help both you and your employees know whether all are doing their job effectively.   In addition, obtain consensus regarding a schedule of periodic reporting to see what progress is being made.
  • Make it a practice to “Catch People Doing Something Right” every day. On the other hand, when a team member knows what to do and how to do it, but is not getting it done, use “corrective coaching” to remedy the situation.  Point out “What you did well was____” and “What you can do even better is ____.”  This approach is recommended as an alternative to the more traditional “sandwich” technique where an issue needing improvement is sandwiched in between two positive comments.
  • Utilize enlightened and more effective manager – leader styles (referred to also as servant leadership, consultative leadership, collaborative leadership, transformative leadership, and co-active leadership). This style is supplanting the old hierarchical “command and control” management where managers led “at” team members rather than leading “with” employees.  Collaborative styles utilize more two-way communication and acknowledge that everyone is creative and resourceful. It is your job as the manager to be the detective to uncover the strengths and weaknesses inside them.
  • Improve your conscious listening skills by learning to identify and use more open-ended questions (What…, How…, Tell me more about…, Help me to understand…) versus close-ended questions (Are…, Will…, When…, Where…, Did…, and Who…). We were also introduced to four behavioral styles including the Doer, the Thinker, the Talker and the Guardian to also help us to understand ourselves and our team members from the “Outside In.”
  • Ask yourself “What am I missing?” A video was presented on “The ‘Monkey Business’ Experiment” that allowed us to become aware of the concept of selective attention to enable us to be aware that it can be easy to miss important details.  This can also be helpful in recognizing our blind spots.
  • Identify your key values and what motivates you and similarly learn about the key values and motivators of your team members. This will enable understanding of how to inspire and motivates team members and how to better understand them from the “Inside Out” as a component of emotional intelligence.  As expressed in the Bold New Directions materials, “Emotional intelligence is the ‘something’ in each of us that is a bit intangible.  It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.”

These and other concepts offered through this seminar will truly help me in strengthening the organization that I direct and for me to strive to obtain the best from my other team members.  This was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the valuable content conveyed in this seminar.   You may wish to consider taking this course in the future at an Association of Energy Engineers conference which is offered throughout the year in various locations in the United States.

The class demonstrates an appreciation technique. Shown (l-r front row): Deborah Lenny, Elizabeth Flattery, and Jamie Paulson; (l-r standing) Janine Finnell, Jennifer Gorka, Jim Hornickel (Instructor), Miguel Quiroz, and Bradley Johnson. Brett Crumley was also an attendee.