ALLY

Transition on tap: The way forward for energy, right now

Written by:

Katie Mehnert

“Not in his goals, but in his transitions, man is great.” That's a famous quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. But let’s tweak it.

Not in our goals, but in our transitions, people -- women, men, everyone -- are great.

I spoke about this at the ALLY Energy Transition on Tap Open House, a powerful event that brought together change-makers who will reshape energy for years to come. The transition we’re talking about won’t just affect which forms of energy fuel the world. It will also transform the makeup of the energy workforce. 

These are intertwined. The more diverse the people who deliver energy, the more diverse our sources of energy will be -- and the more quickly we’ll tackle the energy transition, the most crucial task of our time.

Scheduled to coincide with the World Petroleum Conference that was also happening in Houston, Transition on Tap showed that we are on the cusp of the greatest time yet for the energy sector. And given that Greentown Labs Houston is the home base for evolving this industry, it’s no surprise that both Under Secretary of State Jose Fernandez and Texas gubernatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke came by

 

 

 

In July, we welcomed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Across the two days of our open house, we heard about a wide array of exciting ideas and initiatives aimed at decarbonizing and making energy plentiful and affordable. We discussed new ventures aimed at ushering more minorities and women into the sector -- something still too often lacking. And one resounding message was clear to everyone there: else: Allyship is the key.

Allies as a force for good

From green banks to big oil to startups and VCs, everyone working in the energy sector can be part of the solution. The transition to a new era, which I call Energy 2.0, is on tap. The only question is how quickly we’ll make it happen. And that will be a direct result of how well we work together. As I said in congressional testimony a couple of years ago, “For us to accelerate this work, we must work together and join forces, all aspects of energy and all people.”

We know how to do this. After all, energy has always been in a state of transition, finding new ways to operate, new sources of power, and new talent to help lead the way.

At ALLY Energy, we know all about transitions. After starting off as Pink Petro, a company aimed at bringing more women into the energy workforce, we broadened our mandate. We became the leading DEI platform that builds culture, careers, and skills for an equitable energy transition.

The ‘great resignation’ brings opportunity

Right now, people across numerous industries are leaving their jobs in search of new ones. They want a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. They want to feel valued, and to be part of something that matters in a big way. 

There's no better place to find that than energy. It’s up to us to show people all the reasons they should come join us. And we must build workplace cultures that make people feel welcome, valued, where their ideas, perspectives, and experiences will be heard.

This can’t be done through lip service. It takes action. As I wrote last month for MIT Sloan Management Review, we must tackle the “allyship gap.” We must listen to those who point out problems and address them. 

Doing so isn’t just a nice idea. Diversity and inclusion yield greater innovation, speeding up efforts to tackle the climate crisis. They also boost profits. When we act as allies to each other, we see a win-win across the board.

Unprecedented chance to grow

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill recently signed by President Biden is sending huge opportunities our way here in the energy capital of the world. It’s a chance for us to engage people from across the city, state, and all over the country. A chance to show what happens when people with all sorts of different backgrounds and skills come together -- and help strengthen us for the challenges we face.

Ultimately, talent is the driving force behind every change. The transition will only be as good as the community that makes it happen. Here at ALLY, we’re committed to charting new terrain for the industry in the year ahead.

Wishing you an amazing 2022!

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