In December 2019, Vattenfall sponsored 'Connecting Women in District Heating' - an inaugural event specifically designed to support and enable women working within the district heating and decentralised energy sector.
Amongst the attendees were Vattenfall Heat UK's Engineering Manager, Selene Molina Blanco; University of Bristol masters student, Lina Drozd; and Regional Director for the South, Adriana Rodriguez Cobas. Here in conversation with Digital Manager Jim Christian, they reflect back to six months ago on the benefits such an event brings to the industry.
'Connecting Women in District Heating' is the event you all attended towards the end of last year - and it stemmed from a group called Divas in District Heating?
Adriana: It started with that original title, yes, as a small community run by Rachael Mills and Liz Warren (from SE2) who were curious about these topics and got together for breakfast. I met with one of them by chance, not knowing about their network, trying to understand from our side of the company if there were more women out there doing this - people typically say that there are no women doing district heating. And subsequently, I was invited to the monthly breakfast.
Could you say ‘Women in District Heating’ is more of a movement than an organisation?
Selene: Yes, you could say this was more of a movement out of curiosity - a lot of people willing to connect with women in the industry. I really liked the event and it's expanding. So it turns out that there are more women than we thought!
Adriana: It’s about making a community where people can come together to be curious and explore topics. Nothing explicitly to do with being a woman. For example, we were listening to a lady who started her own district heating business, but built around an agriculture niche - she just happens to be a woman. It was more about creating the space so that we can identify what are the topics that we really want to drive.
Lina: That's what really shocked me when I came into the event. There were so many people there. I found that quite inspiring that there were so many people who were doing the same thing in trying to drive a low-carbon infrastructure.