POWERful Women Annual Conference 2020






A big thank you to our 2020 Conference sponsors, without whom our Third Annual Conference would not have been possible. In 2020, our Conference was kindly sponsored by SSE, Wood, Scottish Power, EDF, Drax, RWE and National Grid. We would like to thank our Core Sponsors, as well as our Conference Sponsors for continuing to support POWERful Women’s events and initiatives.  


Attendee numbers 


Our 2020 Annual Conference was attended by 276 people in total, with 415 people downloading the Whova app to view our Conference platform. Our app community board received a total of 497 messages and 31 discussion topics were posted within the app. 




Exploring the future net-zero workforce, the talent that we are going to need for the energy transition and its challenges and opportunities. 
Hearing personal insights from leaders on inclusive leadership styles and practical lessons from the Energy Leaders’ Coalition members on what they are currently doing.  
Challenging conventional approaches to inclusion, with strategic insights on what to do versus what not to do. 



Launch of the ELC report 


The day of our Annual Conference also marked the launch of our second Energy Leaders’ Coalition report, developed by POWERful Women and the 14 member companies that make up the Energy Leaders’ Coalition. 


Statistics continue to show too few women in board and executive positions across the UK’s energy sector and our most recent Annual Board Statistics compiled with PwC are no exception.  


The second anniversary ELC report highlights the Coalition’s targets and the progress made in 2020, as well as ingredients for a recipe for inclusion via company case studies, next steps for change, further reading, as well as the Energy Leaders’ Coalition Charter.  







Welcome and Opening Plenary  

10:00 AM – 10.30 AM 

Speakers: Louise Kingham, Sarah Munby, Ruth Cairnie 

Watch the recording 

A warm welcome from our Moderator, Louise Kingham, will be followed by a Keynote from the Permanent Secretary for BEIS. Hear from Sarah Munby on the work the Government is undertaking to support and accelerate the energy transition and the role of inclusive cultures in the sector, and gender diversity. 

POWERful Women Chair, Ruth Cairnie will look at where we are on female representation at the top of the UK energy sector, with the latest board statistics compiled by PwC and will launch two exciting new reports: the 2020 Women in Energy Global Study and the 2nd Anniversary Report of our Energy Leaders’ Coalition. She’ll explore the vital importance of diversity of thought for the energy transition and Covid-19 recovery, what needs to happen to move the dial and the importance of leadership. 



Creating a Net Zero Workforce; What is Currently Making a Difference and the Diversity and Inclusion Challenges that still Need to be Cracked  

10:40 AM – 11.50 AM 

Speakers: Louise Kingham, John Pettigrew, Sinead Lynch, Will Gardiner, Alistair Phillips-Davies, Juliet Davenport, Tom Glover 

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We begin the deeper dive into some of the key topics for the day with John Pettigrew on how to create a net zero workforce for the future. The energy sector plays a vital part in helping the country to reach the net zero target but to deliver on this ambition we need to build a Net Zero Energy Workforce. We need people with the talent, the drive and the passion to help us tackle climate change. John will talk about why there is a need for diverse skills, how to attract and retain the brightest and the best people and how to overcome the challenges so that the industry can deliver a greener, cleaner future.  

This will be followed by a moderated panel of a further five of our fourteen Energy Leaders’ Coalition members, to explore what strategies and initiatives are currently making a difference on the ground and the diversity and inclusion challenges that still need to be cracked. 



Strategic Insights on Implementing Inclusion  

12:00 PM – 12.35 PM 

Speakers: Louise Kingham, Jonathan Cole, Dawn Hurst, Loraine Martins 

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The Importance of Inclusive Leadership: Jonathon Cole will share his personal perspective and insight on the influence a male leader can have in making a big difference when building inclusive cultures in their teams; and how to start the conversation.  

Closing the morning plenary will be Dawn Hurst and Loraine Martins. In a frank and lively conversation, they will be comparing their experiences as in-house and external Inclusion Directors as they reflect on the experiences of 2020 and look forward to 2021.  




The afternoon of our Annual Conference consisted of practical workshops, attended by invitation, focussed on support to Senior Managers, HRD, HR Project and Talent Managers, as well as D&I influencers, employee network leaders and those who can influence change in the organisation. Click here to access our workshop summaries.  





Engaging Men – the biggest challenge in D&I 

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM 

Speakers: Peter Duff 

View the session slides


Flexible working is more than working from home – a practical toolkit to encourage greater flexiblity  

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM 

Speakers: Bhavesh Ganesh 



Building Diversity in your Supply Chain  

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM 

Speakers: Andy Horne 

View the session slides 



Employee Networks and Intersectionality: how do we converge and drive inclusive company cultures 

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM 

Speakers: Linbert Spencer, Paul Anderson-Walsh  



Influencing inclusion through conversation and play – a takeaway tool to use 

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM  

Speakers: Akin Thomas, Mel Palmer, Khembe Clarke 



Why Inclusion is Non-Negotiable for 2021 and 10 Top Tips for Maximum Impact 

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM 

Speakers: Dawn Hurst 

View the session slides 



What does Health as a Strategic Priority look like? 

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM  

Speakers: Cate Murden, Geoff McDonald 



Closing Plenary 

2:50 PM – 3:00 PM 

Speakers: Ruth Cairnie 



Speaker Biography 



Ruth Cairnie, Chair, POWERful Women  







Ruth is currently the Chair of Babcock International Group plc and the Senior Independent Director at Associated British Foods plc. She has previously been a Director at Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, Contour-Global plc and Keller plc. She is a trustee of Windsor Leadership and a member of the Covid Recovery Commission. 



Louise Kingham, CEO, Energy Institute & POWERful Women Board Member 






Louise Kingham OBE FEI is Chief Executive of the Energy Institute (EI), the leading professional body for energy, which promotes excellence by developing knowledge, skills and good practice in the global energy sector. Louise has spent the past 26 years working with energy professionals around the world.  



Sarah Munby, Permanent Secretary, Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 






Sarah Munby became Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 20 July 2020. She has worked with some of the UK’s largest companies to change their strategic direction, and led much of McKinsey’s work on productivity across the UK economy. 



John Pettigrew, Chief Executive, National Grid 







John joined National Grid in 1991 and during his time at the company has held a variety of senior management roles, including UK Director of Engineering in 2003, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President for the US Electricity Distribution & Generation business in 2007, Chief Operating Officer for UK Gas Distribution in 2010, and UK Chief Operating Officer from 2012 to 2014. 




Sinead Lynch, UK Country Chair, Shell 







Sinead has been the Shell UK Country Chair since September 2016. She is Chair of the Board of the Shell UK Pension Trust and a Trustee of the Shell Foundation. Sinead also Co-Chairs the BEIS Hydrogen Advisory Council and is a member of WPI’s COVID Recovery Commission. In 2018 she became a Fellow of the Energy Institute. 



Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax 








Following an international career spanning the US, UK & Latin America, including Executive positions at JP Morgan, Easynet and CSR, Will joined Drax in 2015 as CFO, as it was completing the final stages of the largest decarbonisation project in Europe, following the conversion of the power station from coal to sustainable biomass.  



Alistair Philips-Davies, Chief Executive, SSE 







Alistair joined SSE in 1997 and through a variety of senior roles possesses extensive knowledge of each business area. Prior to joining the Board in 2002 as Energy Supply Director, Alistair was Director of Corporate Finance and Business Development. In 2010, he became Generation and Supply Director, before becoming Deputy Chief Executive in 2012, then Chief Executive in 2013. 



Juliet Davenport, CEO and Co-Founder, Good Energy 







Juliet is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Good Energy – a renewable energy company with a mission to power a greener, cleaner future together with its customers. Juliet has been an innovator for over 20 years, working on ideas to fight climate change and transform the energy sector for the better.  



Tom Glover, UK Country Chair, RWE 







Tom is the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and Executive Board member of RWE Renewables GmbH and RWE UK Country Chair. As CCO of RWE Renewables, Tom is responsible for the commercial management and optimisation of RWE’s global renewable portfolio together with having responsibility for all power purchase agreements, M&A transactions, partnerships and the development of new markets.  



Jonathon Cole, Offshore Managing Director, ScottishPower Renewables 







Jonathan Cole works for Iberdrola Renewables as a Member of the Global Leadership Team and Managing Director of Global Offshore Business. Since 2011, he has acted as Offshore Managing Director of Iberdrola Renewables and was responsible for the creation and management of Iberdrola’s global offshore business, including development, construction, and operation of projects in the US, UK, Germany, France, Sweden and Brazil. 



Dawn Hurst, CEO, EA Inclusion 







Multi award winning Inspirational CEO with over 15 years’ experience as a global influencer inspiring an enviable portfolio of global clients. Author of the financial return on inclusion methodology, and thought leader around a people centric approach to inclusion, change and behavioural best practice.  



Loraine Martins, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources, Network Rail 






Loraine Martins MBE FRSA is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, which maintains and develops Britain’s rail infrastructure. With some 42,000 employees, it is the fastest growing railway in Europe. Loraine leads a centre of expertise which supports Network Rail’s ambition to be a more open, diverse and inclusive business.  



Peter Duff, Former Head of D&I, BP 







Peter was the former head of D&I for BP in UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa and has extensive knowledge and experience across all aspects of diversity and inclusion. For the past 5 years, Peter has been leading BP’s D&I agenda in the EMEA region, including developing and empowering employee-led D&I networks in gender, race, LGBT+ accessibility and engaging leaders and collaborating with a range of companies including BBC, Bloomberg, Bechtel, EY, KPMG, Mercer, McKinsey and many others. 



Bhavesh Ganesh, ER/IR Manager, Shell 







Bhavesh was appointed ER/IR Manager UK on 1st October 2018, leading a team to enable an environment which engages people, allows them to flourish, and beat the competition.​ Bhavesh joined Shell in 2002 after graduation; initially working in Trading on the commercial side of the business, and moved into Human Resources after two years. During this period in HR he saw enormous personal growth which convinced him to build career in the function. ​ 



Andy Horne, Head of Supply Chain, Strategy & Corporate Affairs, EDF 







Currently Head of EDF UK’s Shared Goods & Services Supply Chain, Andy is responsible for all categories of Indirect spend, along with the procurement of the IT infrastructure for New Nuclear Build. Andy is an experienced Supply Chain Leader, across the supplier lifecycle (Procurement & Supplier Relationship Management), including Sustainable Procurement and Diversity & Inclusion, where EDF have developed a multi-award winning approach to address and ensure that Diversity & Inclusion is a core part of their Supply Chain strategy. 



Linbert Spencer, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Centre for Inclusive Leadership 






A founder director of The Centre for Inclusive Leadership Ltd, Linbert Spencer OBE has been helping organisations and individuals to transform themselves for more than 30 years. He is an international consultant specialising in inclusion, leadership, performance management, personal development and coaching. 




Paul Anderson-Walsh, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Centre for Inclusive Leadership 








Paul leads TCFIL’s advisory practice. He works with senior leadership teams, across diverse sectors and specialises in creating thinking environments, in which executive teams can work in a psychologically safe space.  Paul is widely recognised for his coaching abilities, being a skilled orator and a master facilitator.   



Akin Thomas, CEO, AKD Solutions 









“My early career involved working with young people in the care and justice system, before moving into complaints management and customer experience. This was where I learnt the importance of learning experiences that were creative and fun.”




Mel Palmer, Senior Associate, AKD Solutions Ltd 







“I am a co-active coach and management consultant who is passionate about developing organisations, their teams and leaders to deliver outstanding performance. As a published author and former university lecturer, I have a strong belief in lifelong learning.” 




Cate Murden, Founder, PUSH Mind and Body 







For almost two decades Cate enjoyed an exciting, fast-paced career in media, rising to the position of Head of Partnerships at one of London’s largest, most successful media agencies. However, the demands of the job took its toll on her and in July 2014 she was signed off work with stress. Fortunately, she survived this challenging period and, armed with newly found insight borne from first-hand experience, launched PUSH determined to help businesses help their employees. She doesn’t think it is necessary for any individual to experience what she did and believes that organisations can be both the cause and the cure. 



Geoff McDonald, Co-Founder, Minds@Work 







Previously the Global Vice-President of HR, Talent, Marketing, Communications, Sustainability & Water at Unilever, Geoff is now a global advocate, campaigner and consultant in addressing the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace. He is also a very much sought-after experienced keynote speaker, strategic advisor and consultant who inspires and provokes organisations globally to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of everything they do with a reputation for energizing and inspiring people to take action in creating workplaces that enhance the lives of people with health and purpose at its core.