GWNET brings you the 7th instalment of the “Meet the Women in Energy Empowerment” series which celebrates the work and achievements of the women who are part of the Women in Energy Empowerment Mentoring Programme. This programme is made up of 30 mentee-mentor tandems, with mentees from Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Meet mentee, Tatiana Aleshkevich, Financial Department Specialist at EF-Engineering Ltd in Russia.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
The most fascinating thing within my current professional activities is the role of project manager, which allows me to work with different teams, on different projects, and in various cultural environments.
For me, it feels like I am leading an orchestra that is playing the music. Our daily tasks and challenges are always something new, so we all have to demonstrate flexibility, broad mindfulness, teamwork, significant ability to search for information and strong decision-making skills.
Successful project completion always feels very rewarding for our invested efforts. Most of all I love building and managing teams, which was quite a challenge during lockdown, but I think we were successful.
2) What were your goals when you started working in the energy sector? What are your goals today?
I started with the goal to become as professional as I could and to acquire as good an understanding of the sector as possible. Today, I am trying to apply my skills for the benefit of my company, myself and my team. The clear goal now is to lead more difficult tasks or projects and to help younger team members on their way.
3) What are the opportunities for sustainable energy in your country?
The opportunities are developing very fast due to the international context which is changing and heavily influencing my country’s energy policy. We have numerous wind and solar projects. Interestingly, major oil and gas companies are among the most active players on the field. But due to our severe climate conditions, conventional energy’s positions are also very strong. It seems that in my country there will be a reasonable mix of both.
Gender stereotypes are strong in the sector, for example, I am the first woman project manager in my company, and my intention to get this role was quite surprising for my male colleagues. The only way to overcome the resistance and to prove I was worth it was to work more and better than the others.
Luckily, my MBA programme modules which I had completed earlier have provided me with a lot of useful and helpful skills, so my background (superior education, in comparison with my colleagues) was also very important in my case.
In 5 years I would like to see myself as a senior executive in the field of strategy development for an energy generating or an energy-consuming company. I believe that I have the full ability to do that, based on my background and knowledge, and also on the skill to gather and involve people in the working process.
Sometimes I feel I need a mentor’s support on how to choose the right company, how to present myself, advice on what skills I may be missing, and some other issues. Independent appraisal and straightforward feedback could be helpful.
I also hope that the mentoring process will help to boost my personal power and personal energy, and that I will be able to overcome those issues and be more productive.
6) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the sustainable energy sector?
I would advise women to find a mentor from the very beginning, such as a professional mentor on a mentoring programme, or someone working in a higher position in the same company, in order to get practical guidance and support with goals, career, and professional development.
Be proactive and know that the energy sector is highly dynamic, which means that there is a place for everyone’s efforts. The main thing is not to waste your efforts.
Read more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes here.