For International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) 2022 we sat down with Azelio Technical Analysts Vane and Rocio, and Systems and Research Engineer Federica, to hear their reflections on a career in cleantech. They shared their inspiration for working with a sustainable solution, and talked about opportunities and challenges for women in the renewable energy and engineering sectors today.
Tell us about the role models influencing your life and career so far.
Vane: My journey can be attributed to support from my family, along with many other role models, and people of good will. I’ve been lucky to have mentors from all spheres of life, that have walked with me through different stages of my career.
If I think about other people I admire and try to learn from, I’ll say Michelle Obama! During her tenure as the First Lady of the U.S.A., she stood out as a passionate and very accomplished woman, with charisma, compassion, and articulate speech-making. She used the platform to be a voice for many, touching on diverse issues that affect people every day. Michelle is a powerful role model for many women and young girls around the world.
Why were you interested in working in the renewable energy sector?
Rocio: I think I’ve always been aware of climate change, and I’m concerned about the increase in temperature that we’re facing worldwide. The energy sector has a direct impact on this, so when I was 18 and choosing what to study, Energy Engineering was one of the degrees that grabbed my attention straight away.
Federica: I grew up in a small region of Southern Italy, where we’ve had a lot of environmental abuse. Seeing the consequences of that on the people close to you makes you want to do something about it. I decided quite early in school that I could contribute by becoming an engineer and working on the growth of renewables.
Have you encountered challenges along the way?
Vane: A key challenge I’ve experienced has been the limited number of women working in renewable energy. There are still very few female colleagues in workplace boardrooms, conferences, seminars, and at decision-making tables. I also see that there are hardly any female leaders or accessible mentors in the sector, leading to minimal mentorship opportunities for upcoming women professionals in the field.
I have managed to build up a network of mentors and I often use them to manoeuvre through work related challenges, by openly discussing these and coming up with possible solutions. I’ve also participated in mentorship programs, where I get to share my experiences and offer support to young engineers and colleagues in the field.
Federica: Engineering is a historically male dominated field, and you start noticing already in university. I was often the only woman in the class, and there is still a lot of prejudice about it. There are times you have to work twice as hard as your colleagues and that shapes your personality significantly, in a good way, I believe. The challenge – and the solution at the same time – lies in finding a balance between being assertive to be heard, while keeping the warm and kind part of your personality. That’s often overlooked, but in my opinion it’s necessary in a workplace for everyone to thrive, and one of the reasons why diversity is so important.
The theme for INWED 2022 is ‘’inventors and innovators,’’ with the hashtag #ImagineTheFuture. Do you feel that your work will impact the future?
Rocio: Azelio has a solution that can play a big part in future clean energy scenarios. It reduces diesel consumption and air pollution. I believe this is an important step forward in terms of fighting climate change, but I’m also aware that we have a lot more to do as a society.
Federica: Absolutely. We’re all actively working towards the renewable energy transition, and Azelio’s innovating point is both the long-duration of our storage technology and the sustainability of the materials used in it.
What’s your advice to up and coming technical analysts and engineers looking to work with renewables?
Vane: These are exciting times, and the renewable energy sector provides excellent career opportunities for innovative minds. My advice is that to rapidly upskill and advance more quickly, it’s essential to network and touch base with industry specialists for guidance and inspiration.
Rocio: Set up some personal and professional goals and believe in what you do!
Federica: Stay the course. Take advantage of all the opportunities you encounter, dare to speak up with your opinions, and have fun!
Finally, what’s the best thing about working at Azelio?
Vane: It’s a friendly, diverse, and multicultural workplace, with many highly skilled colleagues from several countries.
Federica: I agree, the best part of working at Azelio is the team. Everyone is extremely competent and wants to help. That motivates me to be on the front line of a new technology which is a game-changer in the field.
(Image L-R: Federica Gioia, Vane Aminga, Rocio Revaliente Revuelta).
Rocio Revaliente Revuelta and Vane Aminga are Technical Analysts. As part of Azelio’s Business Development team, they work with enquiries for the company’s TES.POD long-duration energy storage solution and use their expertise to carry out technical modelling for presentation of detailed business cases.
I’ve always been aware of climate change, and I’m concerned about the increase in temperature we’re facing worldwide. The energy sector has a direct impact on this.
Rocio Revaliente Revuelta
As a Systems and Research Engineer, Federica Gioia works with TES.POD concept development. As well as carrying out complex simulations, she conducts analyses of energy systems which are used to make customer proposals and compile data from installation sites situated around the world.
Azelio is a Swedish cleantech company. We have developed an ingenious long duration energy storage technology, providing dispatchable electricity and usable heat for all hours of the day – with zero emissions and at a very competitive cost.
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