EfficiencyOne’s Nicole Durdle and Amanda Christianson on female leadership in the Energy Efficiency sector.

EfficiencyOne’s Nicole Durdle and Amanda Christianson on female leadership in the Energy Efficiency sector.

Amanda Christianson has been a Project Engineer with EfficiencyOne since 2019. A Dalhousie alum, Amanda has been in the engineering space for almost 10 years, and our own HR Solutions Expert, Nicole Durdle, wanted to know more about her journey in this field.

What made you want to work in the field of Energy efficiency?

I’ve always been passionate about the environment and developed an interest in renewable energy in university. I was fortunate to complete co-op work terms with companies that did HVAC design and started my career doing building energy modelling, where you could clearly see the impact of design choices on a facility’s energy consumption. Energy efficiency has always made sense to me and it’s an interesting field with ever-changing technologies and obvious benefits. I’m grateful my career has led me here and can’t imagine myself working in any other field.

How can we encourage more women to enter STEM careers?

Bringing more awareness to STEM careers and having women in mentorship roles is key. I was always good at math and the sciences but hadn’t even considered engineering until I was finalizing my degree selection in 1st year university. Engineering wasn’t a career that was presented to me as an option in high school and I didn’t know any women in STEM careers that I could look up to. Representation is important; introducing young women to female engineers and women in STEM leadership roles will show them those career paths are realistic choices.

Do you have a role model who has inspired you over your career?

I’ve been fortunate to work with several intelligent and confident female engineers over the course of my career. I wouldn’t say I have a single role model, but I’ve been inspired by many women working in leadership positions and excelling in their respective fields.

What is your proudest moment or accomplishment in your career?

I’ve had the opportunity to work on many interesting and exciting projects through the course of my career. I’m most proud of projects that I was able to work on from start to finish, where I helped influence a client to make smart choices related to energy efficiency and their environmental impact. It’s very rewarding to see a reduction in measured energy use in a facility after being involved in identifying measures.

What obstacles did you face as a woman in your industry and what tips would you give to others trying to lead the way in their fields?

I’ve found that I’ve had to work harder to have my voice heard and my opinion respected than my male colleagues, especially early in my career. It’s not uncommon for me to be the only woman at the table during project meetings, and I’ve encountered colleagues who assume I’m not there in a technical role.

For women entering careers in STEM, I would encourage them to bring confidence to their role, and to stand up for themselves if they feel dismissed or under-valued. I would also suggest they don’t underestimate themselves when it comes to applying for new roles or taking on new challenges in their careers.

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