Diversity of roles and energy reflected in 2021 Young Women In Energy Award winners

The 2021 Young Women In Energy Award Winners. L to R Ivy Cheung, Joeti Lall, Bita Malekian, Leora Hornstein, Christina Iversen, Kristine O’Rielly, Vilasini P. Pillay, Janice Tran and Lauretta Pearse. Missing Andrea Hepp. Photo credit: Mason Benning

Mirroring the diversity of the changing energy space, 10 young women were recently recognized as the future of Alberta’s energy industry.

The sold-out event celebrating the 2021 Young Women In Energy Award winners was truly a magical and “inspirational” evening, said Katie Smith-Parent, Executive Director, Young Women in Energy.

Smith-Parent said the awards have always been representative of an evolving energy sector but this year’s cohort reflected the more diversified roles and sources of energy.

“Quite honestly it has been great over the 7+ years we’ve run the awards, but this year in particular - it was really interesting that people were in multidisciplinary and highlighting those unique sides of the industry,” said Smith-Parent. “For example, health and well-being - we have a registered nurse who works in oil and gas. What a unique and interesting job that is promoted and celebrated. We were so pleased by the diversity of roles and diversity of energy represented this year.”

This year’s celebration featured an unique art twist where the recipients were paired with artists of all mediums who created digital or physical art based on their interpretation of the winners’ stories about their careers, the energy industry, their personal journeys and more.

“It was so inspirational especially after Covid,” said Smith-Parent. “Getting recognition at that very important part of your career is very important.”

The 2022 YWE Awards will open in September, and be in announced in January 2023 with an event celebrating the recipients in March 2023.

Meet the Young Women in Energy Class of 2021

Andrea Hepp, Deal Lead - Acquisitions, Divestments & New Business Development, Shell Canada Limited

Andrea, a chemical engineer by trade, founded Shell’s Global Technology and Innovation Incubator. She is a diversity and inclusion champion and mental health advocate at Shell for over 250 individuals globally. She is the Sponsorship Co-Director on the Women’s Energy Network Board.

Christina Iversen, Chief of Staff, Alberta Energy Regulator

Christina has spent over a decade influencing some of Canada’s most important organizations, from government to private industry, not to mention a stint at NATO in Brussels. She helped steward the AER’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program.

Ivy Cheung, Contract Performance Manager, Real Estate, Shell Canada Limited

Ivy is the youngest president of Shell Canada’s Gender Equity Network and led YWE’s Mentorship Program from 2018 to 2020. She has worked at Shell Canada for more than nine years in various roles including supply chain manager, finance advisor and project accountant.

Janice Tran, CEO, Kanin Energy

Janice created the first International Student Energy Summit at the University of Calgary, which is now known as Student Energy, a global organization. She has a Master’s degree in Sustainability Management from Earth Institute at Columbia University. She started Kanin Energy to implement industrial scale decarbonization solutions.

Lauretta Pearse, Civil & Environmental Engineer - Strategic Advisory Services, Associated Engineering

Lauretta moved from Nigeria to Canada on a full scholarship to pursue a Masters in Civil Engineering, specializing in Energy and Sustainability. She has authored four articles in peer-reviewed journals, receiving more than 60 citations since being published in 2017. In her current role, Lauretta works with municipal and federal government and Indigenous clients on energy transition and alternative energy consulting projects.

Vilasini P. Pillay, Director, Marketing and Social Impact, SkyFire Energy Inc.

Vilasini led a one-person marketing team within a company that had less than 10 employees in 2013, to now more than 100 employees nine years later. She develops creative and pioneering solutions to increase the adoption of renewable energy in Western Canada. During her time as CEO of Alberta Renewable Energy Co-operative (now amalgamated under Alberta Cooperative Energy), Vilasini championed Alberta’s first Green Offset Program.

Kristine O’Rielly, Senior Consultant, The Delphi Group

Kristine has a Master of Applied Science in Sustainability at Queen’s University. In her current role at The Delphi Group, her achievements include securing $130 million for clean technology development projects for energy sector clients and co-developing the $25 million Low Emission Fuels and Products competition with the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN).

Leora Hornstein, Well-Being Specialist, Cenovus Energy

Leora is a registered nurse, certified occupational health nurse, and a trained fitness and yoga instructor. She is always busy, challenged and growing, working to meet unique challenges workers face such as shift and remote working, substantial physical and psychosocial risks, and a dynamic and rapidly evolving work environment. Leora received the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Industry Recognition Award in 2019 and 2020.

Bita Malekian, Engineer-in-Training, TC Energy & Founder of Water Movement

Bita graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Calgary in 2018. She is an engineer who improves and optimizes equipment and processes through data analytics, while utilizing her strengths in project management and stakeholder relations.

She founded an Engineers Without Borders Canada Calgary venture called Water Movement in January 2021 to tackle barriers to clean water for Indigenous communities and engage communities in the design process for water systems. She was an Alberta Council for Global Cooperation Top 30 Under 30 recipient in 2021.

Joeti Lall, Senior Program Development Advisor, Enbridge Inc.

Joeti has more than 10 years of experience working with industry leading clients, stakeholders, consultants, government agencies, and engineering, procurement, and construction firms on major projects in the energy industry. She is certified in Organizational Change Management and Project Management. She has a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Development from the Haskayne School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Energy Economics from the University of Calgary. 

If you are interested in being involved whether as a volunteer or sponsoring YWE’s initiatives, please visit Young Women in Energy Contact Us - Young Women in Energy for more information.

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