Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

3/17: Women in Energy

Date and Time
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 10 p.m. to Thursday, March 18 - 12 a.m.


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Across the energy sector, women make up less than 30% of the workforce, but that is changing as more young women enter the sector and as the industry makes a concentrated effort to increase gender diversity. 

What's it like to be a woman working in energy? What can executives of any gender do to encourage more diversity in the sector? And what skills make any young professional well prepared for a career in energy? 

Four energy professionals (all Duke alumnae!) will address questions like these during a virtual panel discussion from 6-7 p.m. ET. The panel discussion is open to all, including energy professionals, Duke community members, as well as students, faculty, and staff at other universities. People of all genders are encouraged to join this virtual event. 

In addition, current Duke University students (only) can register to take part in a small breakout group with a speakers (7-8 p.m. ET), though space is limited. (Please only sign up for ONE breakout group, Duke students. We know, we know... it's so hard to choose!) Note: Sara Bogdan's group will take place from 7-7:30 p.m.  

Registration required

Organized by the Duke University Energy Initiative and the Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE).

About the Speakers:

Head of Sustainability and ESG, JetBlue Airways 

Sara currently leads the Sustainability and ESG program for JetBlue Airways. She develops industry-changing E&S strategy and manages a series of operational sustainability programs that better prepare the organization for a changing and resource-constrained world. This includes the execution of JetBlue being the first and only US airline to achieve regular carbon-neutral flying via carbon offsets, investments in sustainable aviation fuel, and increasingly fuel-efficient flying.

Sara was previously Head of Sustainability for UCLA Health, and got her start in the environmental field as a researcher of climate change impacts at Stanford University. Sara was selected as one of GreenBiz's 2016 "30 under 30 - Emerging Sustainability Leaders." She holds a master's degree in environmental management from Duke University and a bachelor's degree in environmental earth science from UC Berkeley.

Founder, EmStar Consulting

With more than two decades of experience advising client leaders on strategy, planning, and operational improvement topics, Manisha Shah is the founder of EmStar Consulting, a growth and transformation advisor to senior executives in the utilities and insurance industries. 

Manisha has served on the senior management team or board of directors for numerous energy industry clients, including electric and gas utilities, electric transmission entities, and research, technology, and service providers to the utility industry. Her engagements in this space have covered strategic planning, market assessment, growth strategy, market entry and execution plan development, business and operating model transformation, and operations and organization issue identification and mitigation. 

Prior to founding EmStar, Manisha was a Managing Director (Partner) for Strategic Consulting with Houlihan Lokey and a Director (Partner) with Bridge Strategy Group LLC. At both firms, she was responsible for leading and developing the natural gas practice while concurrently serving insurance clients. In this capacity, she led both relationship and intellectual capital development, specifically designed to build the practice's reputation in the sector. 

Manisha is the author of "On the Move: Why More NGVs are Hitting the Road" (American Gas) and has presented on natural gas-related topics at various industry forums targeted to senior decision makers (e.g, CEOs, CFOs, operators, and legal and regulatory professionals). She holds a master's degree in public policy from Duke University and a bachelor's degree in economics and politics from Wake Forest University.

Senior Product Developer, Transportation Electrification, Portland General Electric 

Elizabeth is a member of the transportation electrification team at Portland General Electric, where she designs customer offerings to promote electric vehicle adoption and other sustainable, equitable transportation options. Previously, she worked at Pacific Gas and Electric in California on transportation electrification and corporate sustainability. She has over a decade of experience at the nexus of clean energy, transportation, and business. Elizabeth drives a Chevy Bolt and a Nissan Leaf, and cycles regularly. She holds a bachelor's degree from Smith College and master's degrees in business administration and environmental management from Duke University.

Data Scientist, CleanChoice Energy

Tiffany is an early-career data scientist who recently found her way to the energy field. After completing her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at Duke, she did a short stint as a postdoc with the USDA before transitioning to data science at a travel startup. 2020 was not kind to companies selling travel, and as a result, Tiffany landed at her current position, where she enjoys working with marketing and software engineering teams toward the goal of helping as many people as possible switch to 100% renewable electricity. In her spare time, you can find Tiffany crafting, cycling around Washington, DC, or (in non-pandemic times) playing softball.

Registration required. Breakout sessions are for current Duke students only.

If you need an accessibility accommodation, please contact Jacob Bratsch at Requests should be made by March 15.