GreenSync’s Bridget Ryan wins 2020 Women in Focus grant

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The 2020 Women in Renewables Your Leadership Voice: Women in Focus grant, provided by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) and Monash Business School, has been awarded to Bridget Ryan, Policy and Government Lead at global energy-tech company GreenSync. 

The scholarship, now in its second year, aims to boost women’s involvement in the clean energy industry by addressing particular challenges women face in senior renewable energy positions. Toward this end, recipients complete the Monash Business School’s leadership course, an executive education program to advance skills in negotiation and public speaking. 

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective report, renewables employ a larger share of women than conventional energy. However, as Rabia Ferroukhi, IRENA’s Acting Director Knowledge, Policy and Finance points out, “women still encounter numerous obstacles, from the lack of equal access to education, training, mentoring, professional networks and finance, to the glass-ceiling in companies or institutions.” 

According to the IRENA report the highest rating measure, as voted by people across the renewable energy industry, to improve women’s engagement in deploying renewables for energy access, is better access to training and skills development programs. 

 

Hence why CEC and Monash Business School combined forces in offering the Women in Focus grant. CEC Chief Executive, Kane Thornton said he was blown away by the calibre of applications this year and was extremely proud to award the scholarship to such an exceptional candidate as Bridget Ryan. 

“Bridget has demonstrated a huge passion and dedication to the renewable energy industry throughout her 17 years working in the sector. I feel confident that this scholarship will enable Bridget to take her career to the next level and believe she has an incredibly bright future as a leader in the industry.” 

“We know that diverse workforces lead to better results, but unfortunately, the renewable energy industry is still largely male-dominated, particularly in leadership roles,” said Thornton. “The CEC established the Women in Renewables initiative with the aim to facilitate change that will enable greater gender diversity across the industry, and to empower talented women like Bridget to reach their full potential.”

Bridget said she is thrilled to receive the scholarship. “During my time in the industry, I’ve seen a significant change in attitude towards both women and renewable energy,” said Ryan. “It’s been really encouraging to see a shift in gender-based assumptions in society being reflected in the renewable industry. There are increasing numbers of fantastic women in leadership roles in our sector and increased focus by organisations on addressing gender and diversity gaps.” 

“There is, clearly, still some way to go,” continued Ryan. “But I’m excited to be part of the change we bring. Similarly, I’ve witnessed huge change in the role of renewable energy – from being at the periphery of the energy industry to being front and centre as we transition to a clean energy future. It’s a pivotal time to be working in the industry.” 

Monash Business School’s Director of Executive Education Michelle Russell, said the Your Leadership Voice program was developed to help close the gender gap in senior leadership roles across Australia. 

“The program is designed to transform female leaders by addressing the communication challenges facing women in the workplace, and empowering women to succeed in senior leadership roles.” 

Like Bridget Ryan, when IRENA’s Rabia Ferroukhi began her career in the energy sector two decades ago very few of her fellow researchers or analysts were women. That pattern has finally started to change, especially in the renewable industry due to its inherently more holistic and democratised energy future. “If the global energy transformation is to drive sustainable growth and development,” said Ferroukhi, “it needs to be inclusive in every sense. And women have to be part of it.”