Voices of Women in Leadership

At Hydro Ottawa's thinkenergy podcast, we are proud to celebrate the achievements and insights of some remarkable women who have recently graced our show as guests. While International Women's Day, observed on March 8, has passed, the conversation surrounding the importance of gender diversity and inclusion in the energy sector remains a priority. In our dedication to continuing this dialogue, we’re amplifying the voices of accomplished leaders and their contributions to the industry.

Fostering an ongoing conversation not only provides an opportunity to address gender inequality and advocate for a more inclusive world but also aligns with Hydro Ottawa’s commitment to cultivating a workplace that embraces diversity, ensuring equal opportunities for all. In acknowledging the shocking underrepresentation of women in the energy sector, where they make up only 22 per cent of workers, we recognize the urgent need for change.

This commitment to diversity extends beyond our workplace. Leadership diversity, which mirrors the communities we serve, injects a wealth of perspectives and experiences into decision-making. By nurturing a culture of inclusion and empowering women in the energy sector, we actively drive innovation, creativity, and sustainable growth!

Tune into episodes of thinkenergy to explore the insights of these industry experts driving positive change.

Debbie Scharf



Debbie Scharf: Assistant Deputy Minister at Natural Resources Canada 

As Assistant Deputy Minister at Natural Resources Canada, Debbie Scharf passionately drives the transformation of Canada’s energy sector by promoting the sustainable development of natural resources. In this conversation, Scharf talks about Canada's commitment to transitioning its energy sector to net zero, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change. Her focus includes implementing policies, programs, and regulatory solutions to achieve a net-zero economy while ensuring affordability, reliability, and security of energy resources.

To predict the future, the best way is to create it. We have to consciously think about the future we want to create, diversify industries, and prepare the workforce for new opportunities.

Listen here.


Lesley Gallinger



Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO of Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)

In this interview, Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO of the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), discusses the transformation of Ontario's power system. Drawing on extensive experience across North America and Europe, Gallinger emphasizes the crucial need for an orderly transition to a decarbonized future. She highlights key aspects, including real-time demand monitoring, balancing supply, overseeing the electricity market, and strategic planning to meet evolving provincial needs. 

Tackling climate change is an economy-wide effort, and clean electricity is a fundamental enabler of those climate change solutions,” underscores Gallinger, emphasizing the collaborative spirit crucial for addressing climate challenges.

Listen here.

Melissa Agnes



Melissa  Agnes: Founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute

Melissa Agnes, the Founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute, shares invaluable insights on crisis management in the energy sector. As a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection, Agnes advocates for a proactive and strategic approach to crisis communication. Coining the term 'Crisis Ready,' she urges organizations to shift from a static crisis plan to a dynamic, cultural approach ingrained in an organization.

In her words, “effective crisis response is not just about managing facts; it's about understanding and navigating the emotional landscape of stakeholders. Emotion precedes logic in crisis communication; hence, leaders must validate, relate, and reassure before delivering the rational aspects of their message.

Listen here.

Cara Clairman



Cara Clairman: President and CEO at Plug’n Drive 

As the CEO and President and CEO at Plug'n Drive, Cara Clairman, stands out as a prominent leader in the electric vehicle (EV) space. Throughout the episode, she underscores the pressing nature of climate change, advocating for the immediate adoption of EVs, stating, "EVs are a fantastic option right now. People shouldn't hesitate. When they're ready for a new car, this should be it."

Cara emphasizes the environmental and economic advantages of transitioning to electric cars, addressing concerns such as upfront costs, education, and infrastructure development. She argues, 'If you agree that climate change is a crisis, we really can't wait for a slow market transition; we need to do everything we can to speed it up.” 

Listen here.

Amber Bennett



Amber Bennett: Deputy Director of Re.Climate

Amber Bennett is the Executive Director of Re Climate, a Canadian center at Carleton University, dedicated to advancing the practice of climate communications and engagement through research, training, and strategic collaboration.

In this episode, Bennett's insights shed light on the complexities of climate communication, emphasizing the need to bridge the gap between research and practice to address the challenges faced by the "movable middle" segment of the population. “Most people are concerned. They want to support action, but they're undecided, potentially about one particular aspect or issue of it.

Listen here.

Caroline Lee



Caroline Lee: Senior Research Associate at the Canadian Climate Institute

In this episode we speak with Caroline Lee, Senior Research Associate at the Canadian Climate Institute. She talks about the complexity of transitioning to net zero in the energy sector and the importance of collaboration between different levels of government and stakeholders in driving electricity system transformation. In her interview, Lee proposes tying federal financial support to provincial fulfillment of net-zero mandates and comprehensive energy plans.

As Lee eloquently puts it, "The path to a sustainable energy future requires a collective commitment to preserving our existing clean energy foundation while embracing innovative solutions for a greener tomorrow.

(Caroline now holds the position of Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister at Environment and Climate Change Canada)

Listen here.

Melanie Johnston



Melanie Johnston: Director of Energy Programs at EnviroCentre 

Melanie Johnston, Director of Energy Programs at Enviro Centre, paints a picture of Ottawa's journey towards sustainability. Highlighting success stories, she showcases the community's enthusiastic adoption of electric vehicles and energy-efficient home retrofits. Johnston stresses the urgent need to take action in the next eight years to meet zero-emission targets, emphasizing the economic benefits for businesses. 

She leaves us with a powerful takeaway, "While our individual impact may seem small, our collective impact is massive," urging a united front against climate change.

Listen here.


Emma Jarratt



Emma Jarratt: Executive Editor of Electric Autonomy Canada

In this episode, Emma Jarrett, an award-winning investigative journalist and Executive Director of Electric Autonomy Canada, shares profound insights on Canada's electric vehicle (EV) landscape. With a focus on green energy, electric transportation, and politics, her insights are shaping the future of Canada's EV industry. She discusses challenges, including the pandemic's initial blow and subsequent rebound. 

This is a real moment in our history,” says Jarratt, "EVs are a vehicle to achieve a way of living that is better for everybody."

Listen here.

Merran Smith



Merran Smith: Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Clean Energy Canada

Dive into this conversation with Merren Smith, Chief Innovation Officer at Clean Energy Canada, as she illuminates the nation's strides in clean energy. Highlighting the significant drop in technology costs, Canada's shift from climate debates to active action, and the flourishing electric vehicle sector. Smith points out that, "The Clean Energy Transition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Canada." 

Advocating for impactful policies, she played a key role in crafting recommendations for a zero-emission vehicle mandate. Smith underscored the urgency of doubling the grid by 2050 to meet carbon-neutral goals, asserting, "We need to plug our cars, home heating, and industries into that zero-emission grid." 

(Please note that Merran Smith is no longer in the position of Executive Director at Clean Energy Canada)

Listen here.

Tune in to thinkenergy wherever you get your podcasts or at thinkenergypodcast.com (only available in English)


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