The Women in Energy Empowerment Mentoring Programme sat down with Barbara Fischer-Aupperle, one of this year’s mentors, to chat about her journey in renewable energy and the challenges and opportunities in the sector. Barbara is a Founding Partner at GWNET in Germany.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
I love to give encouragement and support to young/er women in the renewable energy sector and be part of their way and their growth during the mentoring period.
2) What were your goals when you started working in the energy sector? What are your goals today?
I was very unaware of what hydropower meant as a renewable source 40 years ago. So, my goal was to perform and contribute in an excellent manner. Today, my most important goal is awareness, self-awareness and conscious and good decisions for all in the sector.
3) What are the opportunities for sustainable energy in your country?
Germany’s reputation for driving the energy transition as one of the leading countries surpasses reality. So, less complicated legislation and a faster pace to drive this process are badly needed on a broad social platform.
In such a male=engineers-dominated environment, it is not easy to be recognized as a woman and maybe a non-STEM contributor to the sector’s development. Leaning in, speaking out, making yourself visible, proving your value-addition, keeping (self-)confidence and requiring permanent and stable awareness about oneself, one’s role and one’s trust in oneself is therefore crucial.
So, I always kept going towards what I wanted to reach and I loved to learn every single day.
Listening to and reflecting on themes with my mentee, encouraging her, helping self-reflection and awareness-raising for her own role, situation, and goals. I also hope to help define goals from a width of options, help with self-analysis if desired and support her to grow into more competence, confidence and positioning, whether in her career or on her personal path forward.
6) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the sustainable energy sector?
Go for what you want, do not wait for things to be brought to you, but approach them actively, make yourself understood, visible, and be self-confident in your own abilities.
Become a Mentor – What’s in it for You?
As a mentor, you get the opportunity to give something valuable back to more junior professionals and to expand your own knowledge through the mentees’ perspective.
Mentoring will contribute to personal and professional development for both you and your mentee, as well as, shaping the direction of future generations within your field of expertise. If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor in one of GWNET’s mentoring programmes (which involves approx. 1 – 1.5 hours of engagement per month plus optional participation in knowledge-transfer webinars), kindly fill in our Mentor Datasheet.
Stay tuned for updates on the participants and the programme.
Read more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes here.