District Heating Divas Conference 2022

Last week was the District Heating Divas Conference #cwdh22! Attending the event from Amberside Advisors was Jess Naylor, Amelia Price, and Joanne Cheong.

It was an incredibly inspirational event, full of diverse and successful women who are passionate about what they do.

Key themes:

  • The power of the collective

The event kicked off with motivational speeches by Rachel Mills and Bindi Patel about the power the community of women in heat networks has created, and the impact that these strong female minds have on the world.

  • Education in schools on tackling climate change

Gemma Dyson from Vital Energy spoke about Vital Education and apprenticeship schemes – how we can tackle climate change by teaching the future generation both in and out of schools. Not only does this teach children and young adults to look after the planet, but it makes the heat network industry more visible and inclusive.

  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

There was an emphasis here on the vision for the future of the industry and how to increase its diversity, leading to a more innovative and creative workforce. The vision is that everyone is treated equally, regardless of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc… and Meike Imberg explained that one of the key solutions to creating a more diverse workforce is to explicitly welcome hires from specific minority groups when recruiting. The panel went on to discuss the importance of senior leadership teams openly supporting diversity and inclusion and becoming more diverse themselves. Creating more diverse role models paves the way for recruiting people who want to follow in their footsteps

  • The customer experience: home truths, harsh realities

How can we challenge misconceptions around heat networks? This primarily comes from training and education:

– training employees to be able to explain heat networks in a way that’s understanding of the customer’s expectations and vulnerabilities

– educating children and young people on what the industry is like by bringing successful women into schools and universities to act as role models and provide an insight to the industry.

  • Local energy systems and heat network zoning

This session dove into the unanswered questions around heat networking zoning and local energy systems. Alongside hearing from an incredibly talented and knowledgeable panel, everybody’s ideas, insights and experiences were explored.

  • Leading with love

Jojo Thomas gave an extremely motivational presentation, which helped to emphasise the love and passion that all the event attendees have for their careers. She also explained how to maintain this and how to lead with love in your career.

  • Growing the sector, sharing the love

Finally, how can we spread the inspiration and passion built up during this event? Lauren Bright of Triple Point reflected on how we can transform the market, grow the sector and maximise social value. She also highlighted GHNF and the members of the new GHNF team, including Jess Naylor, Senior Consultant at Amberside.

The event concluded with the release of Triple Point’s new video designed to raise awareness of the heat networks sector and to inspire the next generation of Divas. The video also features some of Jess’s insights into the industry; please follow this link to watch it.

Jess commented ‘As a grad who joined in 2019, this was the first proper networking event I have been able to attend in person due to Covid (a similar story for many other women at the event). It was a brilliant opportunity to meet and connect with woman across the heat networks industry and to learn about their experiences and roles. I left the day feeling incredibly motivated and inspired.’

In addition to the women mentioned in this article, there were so many talented female speakers at the event. Thank you to Rachel Mills and Liz Warren for hosting the event and building a community of incredible women in district heat networks.

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