The Women in Energy Empowerment Mentoring Programme sat down with Oksana Roman, one of this year’s mentors, to chat about her journey in renewable energy and the challenges and opportunities in the sector. Oksana is an Energy Transition Leader for Central & Eastern Europe | Head of Management Consultancy at Bilfinger Tebodin in Ukraine.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
As an Energy Transition leader, I am driven by the opportunity to have a tangible impact on the environment by helping industrial players reduce their harmful footprint. As a woman and a mom, I am happy to have a job that allows me to personally contribute to making the planet cleaner and healthier for our kids.
2) What were your goals when you started working in the energy sector? What are your goals today?
My career started in crude oil refining more than 15 years ago. At that time, I saw my mission in the supply of petroleum products as a vital source of energy for the industrial sector.
As global environmental conditions have changed sufficiently over time, I see my mission now in helping the energy and industrial sectors transform to low-carbon fuels and a sustainable way of running business.
At Bilfinger Tebodin we aim to advise investors on efficient new energy sources which fit their businesses. I am happy to see how our engineers further implement those solutions to fulfil clients’ sustainability goals.
3) What are the opportunities for sustainable energy in your country?
With existing renewable energy installed capacity as well as the solid potential for its extension, Ukraine is well-positioned to make a shift towards sustainable energy supply for both industrial and residential sectors.
In this regard, hydrogen is among the most viable options discussed today in the country with strong support from the EU.
Other sustainable solutions on the way towards Ukraine’s decarbonization might be energy efficiency and energy demand management; direct use of renewable heat & biomass; carbon capture, utilization and storage; direct electrification of the industry by predominantly renewable electricity as well as an indirect use of clean electricity via hydrogen, synthetic fuel & feedstock.
However, all the options discussed have their advantages and limitations. Their viability for specific industrial sectors depends on joint efforts of governmental authorities, private businesses, technology providers and research institutions.
Decarbonization of the industrial sector is a multi-stage transition from reducing CO2 emissions to net-zero production. This is a challenging task given not only technological and economic uncertainty but also a need for organizational change, which may be one of the most challenging parts. It requires both internal and external collaboration as well as an overall organizational reset.
Almost every energy transition project involves several international teams, each bringing its specific business model and project execution approach. To make your energy transition project happen, you need to take into account and manage a set of factors, including market landscape, internal resources and capabilities, project and team management, cross-cultural differences and business approaches, as well as cognitive aspects of managing multinational and multidisciplinary teams.
The key to success is collaboration, non-stop learning, as well as continuous coordination of internal service/product lines and overall corporate alignment. In this regard, internal and external networking plays one of the most important roles, which cannot be overemphasized.
The Women in Energy Empowerment Mentoring Programme serves as a great opportunity for enhancing industrial networking, engaging women and making the global energy transition happen.
With this programme, I hope to share my passion for sustainable energy solutions and support my mentee in this way.
I will do my best to help my mentee enhance her career, by sharing my personal and professional experience and networks and highlighting all the lessons learnt within my career.
I believe that apart from a positive experience, knowledge about the potential pitfalls and challenges may help plan her career in the most efficient way.
6) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the sustainable energy sector?
I highly recommend focusing on three key aspects: developing expertise, building a professional network and defining a specific role within the energy transition.
In the era of the onrush of technology, non-stop learning and networking are key factors for a successful career pathway. Defining a personal role and adhering to a personal agenda keeps things moving forward despite the ever-changing business environment.
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.