Carbon neutrality won’t be achieved without the activation participation and leadership from those most affected.
Let’s meet this young & dynamic woman leader in science who has transformed her passion into a strong career path, hoping to make an impact and inspire other women along the way!
What is your professional background and why did you choose the energy sector?
Tanvi G. I was introduced to energy and environmental issues by my family at a young age. My father had his own renewable energy company and my mother taught environmental science to school children. I would participate in tree plantations, bird-watching, river clean-ups, neighborhood conservation committees with my parents since I was 5. They were conscious of energy use and carbon footprint long before it was “cool” and that inspired me to turn vegetarian when I was 15 to reduce my footprint. It was a natural next step for me to build a career in the clean energy sector!
I went to the UK to do a Master’s in Renewable Energy and then started my career at Innovative Environmental Technologies in India working on biogas to power and bio-CNG projects. After moving to Singapore, I worked with KPMG in innovation consulting. I am now working at ENGIE Lab Singapore driving the global Key Program on Sustainable Data Centres for ENGIE Research and really love my job!
Is being a woman in the tech sector more of an asset or a handicap?
Tanvi G. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is definitely an asset. Women bring unique skillsets, insights and values to the table. I think my being here is an asset not just for me - I hope that the work I do will change someone who may not have been able to make it, but can now consider it seriously. I also consider it a privilege and responsibility to be a voice for 50% of the population at the table.
If you believe you have everything to ace a certain role, no woman should let anyone convince her otherwise. Yes, there are real hurdles at the start to be taken seriously or respected, but you must remember that it is an issue of prevailing attitudes rather than your aptitude. In my experience (and I admit I have been very lucky), hard work, talent, and performance will always shine through at the end of the day.
Do women have a specific role to play in achieving carbon neutrality?
Tanvi G. Most definitely. It is a well-established fact that climate change affects different sections of the population differently with the vulnerable being the most impacted. Women in the developing world are a vulnerable group and face the brunt of climate change. Clearly, carbon neutrality won’t be achieved without the activation participation and leadership from those most affected.
Women are also integral in another important way. Women have traditionally been responsible for managing household resources efficiently, building resilient families and coming up with innovative solutions. They can leverage these attributes to develop effective climate action and resilience strategies.
We have so many examples the world over of women making bold decisions on carbon abatement. I feel very proud that ENGIE has been at the forefront of this with the shining examples of our previous CEO Isabelle Kocher, current CEO Catherine MacGregor and ENGIE Lab CRIGEN’s director Adeline Duterque leading the way!
A project that is important to you?
Tanvi G. For my master’s thesis, I worked on a sustainable agriculture project to develop a food-fuel-fertilizer model for agrarian families, especially in developing countries. The idea is to use the grains as food, convert the leftover agri-waste as fuel for the household via anaerobic digestion and the digestate after producing biogas as nutrient-rich fertilizer which goes back into the soil, making it a sustainable closed loop and contributing to the circular economy of the farm. The project gave me the opportunity to represent India as a United Nations Environment Program young environmental envoy and interact with counterparts from across the globe. It reinforced the value of bringing different perspectives, experiences and collectively working towards making an impact.
I am also proud and excited about driving the new KP on Sustainable Data Centres. It is different from other projects in that it is a cross-functional taskforce with experts from 9 thematic labs across 3 countries. We will be working in close collaboration with business units to develop, demonstrate and de-risk technological solutions for the carbon neutrality of an energy-guzzling sector that ENGIE wants to accelerate its service offering on.
A message for fellow women?
Tanvi G. My advice would be: Don’t be afraid to choose the path you want for yourself and believe in your competence and value-add. Your purpose and end-goal for making a difference should be your driving point.
At work and outside find like-minded people, support groups and mentors/ role models that can inspire and back you.
I strongly believe representation of women in the workplace matters. Seeing women in leadership and executive roles will hopefully encourage young women to join the field and provide a supportive network for successful careers in the energy sector. And if you are in the position of privilege, make sure to pay it forward- support other women, recruit talented women, try to change the narrative at home, in social circles and at the workplace!
Tanvi Gadgil is Key Program Manager- Sustainable Data Centres at ENGIE Lab Singapore.
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