Women in Wind in partnership with IRENA published “Renewable energy: A
Gender Perspective,” the report summarized the findings of a survey
among close to 1500 respondents from 144 countries working in the renewable
energy sector. A key finding from the report was that women make up 21% of the
global wind energy workforce, and 65% of them perceive gender-related barriers
in the sector. The Women in Wind Global Leadership Program redefines women’s
role in the industry by creating a multi-dimensional program that supports
women to become industry thought leaders via providing knowledge-transfer
webinars and mentoring, increases women’s representation at managerial and
decision-making levels by empowering women, in the wind sector, and prepares
the next generation of women leaders in the wind through concrete career goals,
road-mapping, and networking building opportunities.
environment where individuals can safely brainstorm and challenge the status
quo helps drive innovation,” says Jeanette Gitobu.
of the Women in Wind Global Leadership Program, is
responsible for designing and implementing the curriculum of the program while
working across partners to deliver a diverse and multidimensional program for
the participants to benefit from. Her work as a Policy Advisor, helps shape the
African wind market policy framework via research and report writing. Part of
Jeanette’s work also includes engaging with institutions such as the
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), UNFCCC, UN (Various agencies),
philanthropic entities, and many other bodies to help raise awareness of gender
equality in the energy transition and provide S.M.A.R.T solutions to ensure the
energy transition is a Just Transition.
day for her includes having a check-in call with Women in Wind program
partners, the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET), a
check-in with the GWEC team ranging from members within the projects, policy,
fundraising, and communications teams, then sitting down to do focused work
such as reports, project management activities, and introductory calls to
explore strategic partnership opportunities.
joining GWEC, Jeanette Gitobu was working at Windlab, an Australian global
renewable energy development company, where the Kenyan team and she were working
on Africa’s first of its kind, large-scale hybrid renewable energy power plant,
Meru County Energy Park (MCEP). The project’s innovative design combining ~80MW
of wind turbines, solar PV, and battery storage technology ensured that Windlab
was able to offer clean electricity at an affordable price to Kenya’s 52
million citizens. Once connected to the national grid, MCEP will put Kenya on
the global map as a leader in renewable energy innovation, capable of designing
and implementing local solutions to combat global problems.
to Jeanette, working on such a ground-breaking and challenging project as the
only black and female project developer to successfully sign over 1,700
landowners onto the project pushed her to create innovative solutions to
complex problems, such as creating data management dashboards capable of
analyzing data for over 1,700 project area landowners, a first in the renewable
energy sector. The dashboard would then feed key information to facilitate
payments to landowners via mobile money transfer medium M-PESA, another first
in the sector, revolutionizing payment method options for future projects that
wish to implement similar concepts.
GWEC is a
non-profit trade association that serves as the authoritative voice for the
wind energy sector. GWEC members represent 99 percent of the world’s installed
wind power capacity and include over 1,500 companies, organizations, and
institutions from over 80 countries, including manufacturers, developers, component
suppliers, research institutions, national wind and renewables associations, and
electricity providers, and finance and insurance firms. GWEC provides value to
its members through six major workstreams:
- Capacity Building; 2.
Intelligence; 3. Advocacy and Policy; 4. Summits and Conferences; 5.
Business Matching; 6. Collaboration.
oversees the Women in Wind Global Leadership Program, which was founded in 2019
in response to the desire for diversity in climate policy and action. Greater
variety benefits the wind sector, and hence the globe, by assuring new
viewpoints and economic development among those driving the climate change
response. In a world filled with difficult global concerns that need strong
leadership and a competent workforce, the push for a sustainable, clean energy
system must include all voices speaking up, especially women.
Success in Serving Society
Jeanette loved playing basketball and was part of her high school basketball
team in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. That is when her coach said a quote by American
basketball coach John Wooden that changed her view on success, “Success
is peace of mind, in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are
capable of becoming.” She also believes that each individual has their
own definition of success with each definition being valid and true.
concept of success is similar to John Wooden’s, and she defines it as having
peace of mind, body, and spirit while serving society within her domains of
influence. Jeanette values peace of mind, body, and spirit because she feels it
offers the best and healthiest environment for her to provide the finest ideas,
strategies, and leadership to have a significant effect on the world while
enhancing efficiency and reaching her goals. She also adds, “Being of
service to society within my spheres of influence is important to me because I
would not be here without the trust, support, guidance, and mentoring of people
who chose to take a chance on me. I wish to pay forward that opportunity by
providing others the opportunity to rise by using me as a ladder towards their
goals and ambitions.”
to the late bishop Desmond Tutu’s words, “My humanity is bound up in
yours, for we can only be human together,” Jeanette explains that the
human experience can get challenging at times, but together, we can make it and
rise above any challenge we confront.
Opportunity for a Global Approach
Jeanette decided to join GWEC, one of the important questions she was debating
was what this transition would mean to her and where she saw herself in the
future. Taking her previous experience working on the development side of wind
projects, accepting GWEC’s offer was the next step for her because GWEC offered
her the chance to propose solutions on a global scale using policy as a tool.
thinks that policy is vital because, once established and executed via the
participation of individuals, organizations, and the government, it gives
guidance, consistency, accountability, efficiency, and clarity on how to handle
recognized problems. GWEC’s global reach, working in over 80 countries around
the world in locations such as Latin America, Europe, Africa, the United
States, and Asia, would expose her to global policy solutions, thereby molding
her into a well-rounded professional capable of understanding finance, supply
chain, operations, strategy, and policy to become a renewable energy industry leader
proficient enough to move the African continent and the world forward into the
from Previous Experiences
her career, Jeanette had an experience with a challenging boss that helped
shape her for the better. While she and her boss had conflicting views on
various topics, her experience taught her the importance of coming to mutually
acceptable agreements by working together to create options that satisfy both
parties, separating people from the problem, and focusing on interests, not
positions. She shares, “These lessons were valuable to me because, at the
director level, negotiation is a critical skill required to bridge differences
and work together to make a better world for all via aligning mutually
has discovered the power of saying no and engaging in activities that
correspond with her personal priorities in order to preserve balance in her
personal and professional life. These priorities are assessed yearly when she
takes a couple of days each year to reflect on the positive and negative
experiences she has had over the year while looking forward. Because family is
such an essential part of her life, she strives to organize her calendar around
contributes her time and resources to service-related activities, such as
mentoring and volunteering with the Angel Centre for Abandoned Children,
Habitat for Humanity, and Operation Smile, which are her passion projects. In
terms of how she keeps herself and her team motivated to provide the best
services possible, Jeanette provides five techniques that have helped her and
her team stay motivated to provide the best services possible:
- Connect: either as a group or
as an individual, because connecting with colleagues is essential to
maintaining and developing high-performing teams.
- Show interest in colleagues: In
her experience, learning about your team’s interests and ambitions allows her
to create a healthy balance of work that must be done, work that each
colleague is interested in, and offer development opportunities that are
tailored to each individual.
- Display gratitude regularly and
- Bring joy to the workplace,
such as celebrating milestones, weddings, and birthdays while standing
with a colleague during a challenging time.
- Practice what you preach.
and Professional Goals
envisions the GWEC secretariat being a leader in taking bold action to put the
energy transition on track and secure energy security. The present worldwide
power crisis, precipitated by the Ukraine conflict, has highlighted the
persistent hazards of relying on fossil fuels for the world’s energy supply.
gasoline prices have reached all-time highs, exposing consumers and economies
to inflation and driving up living costs. She references the International Energy
Agency’s Global Energy Review: CO2 Emissions in 2021 report which
reveals that 2021 saw a historic high in global CO2 emissions, putting the
goals of the Paris Agreement at risk. As a remedy, the world will need to make
a dramatic shift away from reliance on fossil fuels and toward renewables,
through a concentrated and rapid effort by individuals, organizations, and
governments if the world is to have any hope of keeping global warming to 1.5°C
(34.7 °F) or even 2°C (35.6 °F) as per recommendations by the first installment
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s AR6 report.
personal aims as a company leader are to help this transformation while
ensuring that the voices of the least, lost, and forgotten are included in the
climate change discourse long after her job in the industry is completed.