My commitment to empowering women

If you traced my career, it would make an 18-month old’s crayon drawing look like a Picasso. It hasn’t been from a lack of focus—or interest—but rather the ambition to explore what fuels me; to challenge myself. And “no” isn’t really part of my vocabulary.

By seizing every opportunity presented in my quest for continuous learning and passion for storytelling, my journey has led me to the energy sector. While historically known as a man’s world, the industry is transforming. I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is less and less defined by gender. My voice is an equal at the table.

It is the triumphs—both large and small—of the many trailblazers that each generation builds from. The likes of Elise MacGill, aka the Queen of the Hurricanes, who was the first woman in Canada to receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Or Flora MacDonald, a Canadian politician and humanitarian, the first female foreign minister, and one of the first women to vie for leadership of a major Canadian political party (Progressive Conservative). In 1976, MacDonald put her name in as a contender for the party’s leadership and while she was defeated by Joe Clark, she went on to become his Secretary of State for External Affairs.

Today, there are more modern-day role models that I am grateful to. When I look at CEA, I am proud that the leadership teams—both our own and those of our members—not only include women but are often led by a woman. Gianna Manes has held the position of President and CEO of ENMAX since 2012 while Jay Grewal joined Manitoba Hydro as President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in February 2019. To me they are brave, lead firmly and fairly, and have found their voice within the grid.

Behind each of these successful women, is likely another woman.

I have been blessed with incredible women mentors throughout my career. They have played an important role in shaping the woman I am today. These role models have taught me to be confident and recognize my value. They have shared stories of overcoming adversity and how to deal with drawbacks. They have inspired me and taught me not to fear failure. Most importantly, they have encouraged me to be the best version of myself.

It is these characteristics that I do my best to emulate every day at the Canadian Electricity Association. As I have been fortunate to have female role models to confide in and go to for advice, I make it a priority to support the young, career-driven women on my team and throughout the organization. I empower them by reinforcing the message that “the only person who can truly stand in your way is you”.

Equal by 30 is a public commitment by public and private sector organizations to work towards equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women in the clean energy sector by 2030.

Sarah Robinson is CEA’s interim Director, Communications and Marketing. She is leading our in-house communications and marketing team while overseeing all external and internal initiatives.