Across the energy sector, women make up less than 30% of the workforce, but that is changing as more young women enter the sector and as the industry makes a concentrated effort to increase gender diversity. What's it like to be a woman working in energy? What can both male and female executives do to encourage more diversity in the sector? And what skills make any young professional well prepared for a career in energy?

A panel discussion (11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.) will address these questions, featuring insights from industry leaders and innovators:

Sarah Adair headshotAs a member of Duke Energy’s Carolinas Energy Affairs and Stakeholder Strategy team, Sarah Adair (MEM'11) holds responsibilities for state level environmental policy as well as for building strategies, tools and relationships to improve stakeholder engagement. Prior to joining Duke Energy in late 2017, Sarah worked as a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, where she played a leading role in the Institute’s engagement with state environmental agencies and utilities commissions on the intersection of energy and environmental policies, including implementation of the Clean Power Plan. Sarah holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Nicholas School with a focus on environmental economics and policy and  bachelor’s degree in psychology and environmental policy from Northwestern University.

Noel Bakhtian headshotNoël Bakhtian (E'05) serves on the senior leadership team of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Idaho National Laboratory (INL) as Director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES). CAES is a research, education, and innovation consortium between INL and the four public research universities of Idaho and Wyoming: Boise State University, Idaho State University, University of Idaho, and University of Wyoming. Prior to joining INL and CAES, Noël served as a Senior Policy Advisor for environment and energy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Prior to OSTP, she was the inaugural energy-water nexus lead at the DOE Office of International Affairs, worked as technical lead on numerous innovative grant and prize programs for DOE’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, consulted on energy R&D and investment for DARPA, and served as an energy and environment Fellow in the U.S. Senate. In 2018, Noël was selected in the first cohort of the Alfred Lee Loomis Innovation Council, supporting the Stimson Center, which works to solve the world’s greatest threats to security and prosperity. She has also served since 2011 on the Board of Trustees of the Summer Science Program (SSP), one of the most prestigious and longest running pre-college research opportunities for gifted young scientists. Noël was recently selected as the 11th most powerful female engineer of the year by Business Insider. Noël earned her engineering doctorate at Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; holds masters degrees from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge, where she was a Churchill Scholar; and completed her bachelors degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Duke University in 2005.

Maria Kingery headshotMaria Kingery co-founded Southern Energy Management (SEM), one of the Southeast's leading solar and green building firms, in 2001. Deeply committed to sustainable business practices, Maria believes that businesses have the power and responsibility to drive positive change, which is why SEM has been a certified B Corporation since 2009. She is a frequent speaker on sustainable business topics, and is actively engaged with a number of organizations dedicated to bolstering the sustainable business community. She currently serves on the US East Regional Council of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), where she gets to work with other entrepreneurs from around the world on leading progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

She is also the Leadership Advisor for the Duke Environmental Leadership Master of Environmental Management (DEL-MEM) program at the Nicholas School of the Environment.

In 2016, she received the C3E Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, a nationally competitive award for women in clean energy presented by the DOE, Stanford & MIT. In 2017, she received the Amicus Solar Cooperative Core Values Award, which she holds as her most prized recognition so far, because it came from her peers (people who actually know her, not just reading from a nomination).

Megan O'Connor headshotMegan O’Connor (PhD'17) is the CEO and co-founder of Nth Cycle, and a fellow in the Department of Energy’s Innovation Crossroads entrepreneurial program at Oak Ridge National Lab. Nth Cycle was created to disrupt the electronics manufacturing and recycling industries by changing their linear material model into a more efficient, circular one. Our mission is to help transition the United States away from their reliance on primary mining and refining of metals overseas, toward the recycling of rare earth and specialty metals (e.g., Co, In, and Y) domestically. Megan holds a B.S. in chemistry from Union College, and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University.

Luana LimaLuana Marangon Lima (Moderator) is a professor at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where she teaches courses related to data analysis, energy modeling and electric power systems. Prior to joining Duke she worked as a consultant in several projects related to electricity markets, power generation planning and operation, transmission and distribution regulation and renewable energy integration. She also was an assistant professor of the department of electrical and energy systems at Federal University of Itajubá (Brazil) from 2013 to 2016. Luana holds a B.S. and M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Federal University of Itajuba, and a Ph.D. in operations research and industrial engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

The panel discussion is open to all who register, including energy professionals as well as students, faculty, and staff at local universities. Individuals of all gender identities are welcome to attend. FOR STUDENTS ONLY: Students are invited to register for the panel discussion AND/OR to join us for one breakout lunch session with an individual panelist (1-2 p.m. in various Gross Hall locations). 

Register here

This event is organized by the Duke University Energy Initiative and the Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE) at the Fuqua School of Business. 

Complimentary parking is available for registered participants in the Chemistry Lot on Circuit Drive, adjacent to Gross Hall, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Ahmadieh Family Auditorium (Gross 107)
Date & Time
Friday, Mar 22, 2019 - 11:45 am to 2:00 pm
Location: Generator (Gross 100C)
Time: 11:45 am to 1:30 pm
Location: Lilly Classroom, Fuqua School of Business 100 Fuqua Drive
Time: 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Location: The Cloth Mill at Eno River 437 Dimmocks Mill Road Hillsborough, NC 27278
Time: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm