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Women in Clean Energy

image credit: Elle Carberry
Elle Carberry's picture
Director, Strategy, Energy, Environment & Utilities Industries, IBM

Leader of high-growth companies and innovative solutions in US and globally, known for accelerating growth resulting in superior financial results. Senior leader of four new enterprises in...

  • Member since 2020
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  • Mar 23, 2021

Hi Audra - taking up your 'ask'. My story as a woman in clean energy starts when working for a Boston-based environmental tech co that went bankrupt in ~1995; and later returning to the industry in 2008 when working and raising my family in Beijing, China and realizing I could no longer send my kids (and others) out each day into the heavily polluted environment of Beijing. Thus, I co-founded and launched in 2008 The China Greentech Initiative that became the 'voice of the market' and the leading collaboration hub for 200 global and local businesses and governments all working on a shared passion-project - accelerating China's green economy. In 2014, Hank Paulson (Goldman Sachs/US Treasury) approached me to merge my platform into his to create the China-side of his Paulson Institute, affiliated with the Univ. of Chicago in Hank's home town. And so we did - all of China Greentech's team, IP, operations and our collaboration platform of business / government leaders became the China-half of Hank's Paulson Institute. When my transition commitment for Hank was completed, I moved back home to the US as my kids were now going to college in the US and the China adventure was always meant to be equally about life, family and professional contributions. That led to an assignment for my alma mater, Georgetown University via the President's Office to help actualize a 'sustainability strategy' into a coordination across 9 schools and the university's operations for its 'town' of 21,000 residents and commuters. And then in 2019, one of the former China Greentech members, a global leader from IBM, recruited me to support his mission at IBM to update and focus IBM's strategy for its global electric and gas utility clients on sustainability. As a continuum to IBM's deep partnerships and relationships with the leading energy utilities around the world, today IBM is evermore focused with its clients and partners on "Electrifying Energy; Sustainably Fueling the Future". Finally, in Feb. 2021, I was recruited to IBM Global Business Services - Enterprise Strategy to focus this IBM unit's consulting services on the disruptors of 'digital and sustainability' and support our clients to manage the risks/challenges and seize the opportunities at the intersection of these two major drivers of global transformation for the next several decades ahead. I would love to share, collaborate and talk with anyone in the Energy Central Network. Just let me know when and how. All the best, Elle Carberry

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 23, 2021

Quite an impressive career, Elle! In the spirit of celebrating women in energy that kicked off this conversation, I'm curious if you can comment on what changes you've noticed in your years in the industry. Has the integration of more women in leadership roles been slower than you would have anticipated? Have you been supported by other leading women in energy during your career? 

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Mar 23, 2021

Wow, Elle - Great accomplishments and I am excited to follow you in your new role at IBM.   I look forward to hearing more as your role progresses! Thanks for sharing this story.   

Christina Corcoran's picture
Christina Corcoran on Mar 24, 2021

Very inspiring to hear about you career and how successful you were as a women in clean energy, even back in the 90's.  As a women, newer to the energy industry (8 years) and the utility side only 4 years, I love seeing the rise of women in leadership roles that were traditionally male dominated.  Good luck in your new position at IBM.  I would love to connect and chat with you sometime.  

Karen Marcus's picture
Karen Marcus on Mar 24, 2021

What an impressive career, Elle. I admire your passion, commitment, and willingness to go where you're needed most. As someone fairly new to the industry, I have found it to be welcoming to women. I wonder if you agree, if that has changed over the years, and what advice you would give to women just starting in this fascinating field. 

Nevelyn Black's picture
Nevelyn Black on Mar 25, 2021

I really appreciate you sharing your story.  Your photo alone has inspired me. I imagine your experience ‘bridging technologies, culture and business’ require diplomacy, determination and adaptability.  But what qualities would you say have helped you navigate such a successful career path and what’s next on your professional to-do list?

Henry Craver's picture
Henry Craver on Mar 29, 2021

Thanks for the post, Elle. I'm wondering if you or anyone else knows if clean energy is as male dominated in countries with emerging economies, like India, as it is in the States? I've read that somewhat paradoxically you see more women engineers in poorer countries abroad than you do in the west. 

Elle Carberry's picture
Thank Elle for the Post!
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