Judy Garber: Women in Energy Grew Out of a Recognized Need

Women in Energy is near and dear to me. Why? Because Women in Energy (WE), was created for women who work in the energy space. A place where they can connect, learn, network, and grow professionally.

Before moving forward, let us step back a bit as to why I felt strongly about the importance of an association dedicated to women that work in the energy industry. Having been in this industry for 35 years, I noticed quite a bit. My energy career began in manufacturing. Our company always secured a booth at the NAOHSM show – today the Eastern Energy Expo. When attendees visited our booth, they were so talkative and friendly. I usually had more booth traffic than any of the other exhibitors! What I noticed was the absence of women. There were very few women walking the show or stopping to learn something. And there is plenty to learn at a trade show! It was not just the NAOHSM show, it was also the AHR Show, which is a large national event. There had to be women working for every one of those attendees and exhibitors. They handled human resources, purchasing, accounting and many more roles for companies. Where were they? Yes, there are more women attending events today, but more would benefit by attending events and making connections.

Speaking with women we learn that most “accidently” got a job in the energy industry. It should not be an accident, they should want to secure a high paying, flexible and secure job in the industry. The only way this can happen is if we support those currently working in this industry and developing them to be leaders for the future.

Fortunately, others felt the same as I did. When we merged the OESP and AREE show into the Eastern Energy Expo, I stated that we needed to do something just for the women. I did not have to twist any arms. Marjorie Feinman, Fuel Merchants of New Jersey, immediately responded, “absolutely.” We shared our vision with another industry professional, Erin Holohan Haskell, HeatingHelp.com and she was on board.

Together we got to work forming Women in Energy. We became a 501C-3 in 2018. Every one of our initiatives is deliberate.

For networking and education, we hosted a 2-day event tied with EEE where we hosted a variety of educational sessions and social events. Last year, we hosted our first standalone event and September 10-12, we will be hosting our next conference in Mystic CT.

We created awards to recognize professional women who work in the energy industry. One of our awards is our Industry Outreach – Mentorship Award. And some of our past winners are doing well in their careers and know they are supported. We host regular Webinar Wednesdays where the topics range from professional development to light technical and we cover all sources of energy. These are complimentary to all. It is all about education. Last year we launched our online Education portal. This is a benefit for our members. This year we will be launching a Mentorship Program.

Today we have well over five hundred members representing all sectors of the Energy Industry. And we do have men joining our efforts as well.  We have expanded our board and have an exceptionally talented group supporting our goals.

If you are not yet a member, we invite and encourage you to join us!

Judy Garber is Executive Director of Women in Energy. For more information on Women in Energy, visit www.wewomeninenergy.com.

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