CEA’s Path to Gender Equity

Leadership: one of the Canadian Electricity Association’s (CEA) core corporate values. There are many ways the CEA team chooses to practice Leadership; operating strategically, promoting sustainability in the industry, and fostering partnerships and diversity – to name a few.

Let’s talk about diversity. Gender diversity, to be exact.

“Inclusivity means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.” Claudia Brind-Woody, Vice President and Managing Director, IBM.

A diverse workplace is crucial. But what makes an inclusive workplace is valuing its diverse team, their views, their opinions, and their input.

With CEA’s new vision to be the best trade association, we aspire to be a leader in promoting gender equity. Across the organization we are continuously inspiring the conversation about gender diversity – specifically in the electricity sector – and re-emphasizing our commitment to Natural Resources Canada’s Equal by 30 initiative “which works to advance the participation of women in the clean energy transition and close the gender gap.”

Surely, more work is to be done, but the Canadian electricity industry is taking important steps to achieve gender parity. CEA will be launching our “Gender Best Practices” report in 2021, which will highlight the game-changing initiatives that our members from coast to coast to coast are undertaking in this field.

In March 2020, CEA re-affirmed our public commitment to promote gender equity within the organization by signing Electricity Human Resources Canada’s Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity during the Association’s first emPOWERing Women reception.

Janice Garcia, Director of Business Development at CEA and a longstanding employee of the organization said, “The Canadian Electricity Association is proud to be a signatory of EHRC’s Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity. By signing this Accord, we publicly committed to continuing to create a more diverse workplace and, thereby a more diverse sector.”

CEA’s emPOWERing Women reception and panel discussion presented a forum for young and up-and-coming women in the energy sector to have meaningful and inspiring interactive discussions with female leaders in our sector. The event provided an opportunity for CEA to shed the light on the importance of uplifting and educating women in electricity.

Most recently, CEA announced the appointment of Cara Clairman, Founder and CEO of Plug N’ Drive as the new chair of the Sustainable Electricity Program’s Public Advisory Panel, the first woman to hold the position in the panel’s 23-year history.

Renée Pelletier, Managing Partner, Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP and Michelle Branigan, Chief Executive Officer, Electricity HR Canada also became members of the Public Advisory Panel in 2020. This is the first time ever the Panel’s composition is majority female members.

“CEA’s Sustainable Electricity Program has already made great contributions to promote clean energy and I am proud to now take part in these conversations alongside leaders in the electricity sector who have done more to decarbonize Canada’s economy than any other economic sector”, Renée Pelletier, Managing Partner, Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP.

“I am looking forward to embarking on this journey with my esteemed colleagues to provide guidance to CEA members’ Sustainable Development initiatives” said Michelle Branigan, CEO of Electricity Human Resources Canada. “The Canadian Electricity Association is truly demonstrating their commitment to promoting gender diversity across their operations and across the sector.”

As a member of the CEA team, I can attest to the Association’s continuous commitment to promote gender diversity. We have many exciting initiatives currently being designed, and we look forward to sharing them with our members, our stakeholders, and the public in 2021.

Let’s celebrate the success and progress made by our sector as our workplaces become more welcoming and inclusive to a diverse workforce. Let’s appreciate the value that diversity of thought, experience and attitudes can contribute to an organization.

As our sector continues to transform from the changing customer, to evolving technology, to the electrification of the economy, women will be integral to this transformation. The role that women play, and the perspectives they bring forward to pertinent conversations in the electricity sector is a key driver for innovative and inclusive solutions. Gender diversity is needed for a successful clean energy transition.