Spotlighting Women of Color in Energy


Part 1: Event Organization Leaders

Women of Color Collective in Sustainability (WOC/CS) and Young Professionals in Energy New York City (YPE NYC) are excited to reveal our first collaboration and joint article highlighting women of color running organizations and companies advancing the energy sector. in October of 2020, WOC/CS held its first #EEDay event in partnership with KC³ to highlight the importance of a clean energy transition and emphasize the importance of having BIPOC leaders at the forefront of this acceleration.

In light of the Biden Harris’ administration focus on and commitment to environmental justice, we acknowledge that energy efficiency can and should benefit those on the frontlines of climate impacts by creating sustainable high-paying green jobs, reducing air pollution in all communities, and many efforts acknowledging the disproportionate impact on communities of color. For the first part of this article series, we interviewed women of color leading the charge at energy event organizations. Below they share more about their work, stories, and hopes for the future.

Jamie Goh

Organization: Women’s Energy Network

Title: Greater NYC Co-Chair of Programming


LinkedIn Handle:

Why did you join your organization?

The first WEN event I attended was in 2017. This was also the year I started my energy banking career. I attended several events across different energy groups to pick up on industry trends and gain a holistic understanding of my work by connecting with people from various energy industry sectors. What stood out to me when I attended my first WEN event was the organization’s strong message of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the energy value chain. It was inspiring to meet a group of professional and high-ranking women in the industry who encouraged meaningful conversations around the challenges we face in our careers, as well as ways to bring our authentic selves to work and manage work-life balance. These recurring WEN event conversations made me realize that sharing and accepting vulnerability are steps to make one stronger, as it takes courage to discuss challenges we face and seek constructive feedback. I truly valued the conversations we had across a diverse range of educational and social events, which eventually led me to officially join the organization.

What role do you play in the organization, and what do you hope to accomplish in advancing energy and environmental justice?

As the Co-Chair of Programming for WEN Greater NYC, I create and/or coordinate educational, social, and networking events throughout the year.

Numerous studies show there is a lack of gender diversity in the energy value chain in part due to structural challenges. Through my role as Co-Chair of Programming, and as a proponent of paying it forward, I hope to organize more events that touch on key conversations around women in the energy workforce and guide junior professionals in this field. WEN’s mentorship program, which was launched last year, addresses this perfectly, but it can be supplemented with more social and educational events.

What are some challenges you encounter as you work to achieve these goals? How do you overcome them?

One of the challenges I encounter is to raise awareness at an early stage (pre-career) of the existence of women organizations that foster career and leadership development in the energy sector. WEN has provided that platform for outreach, as we partner with Columbia University on various speaker events and other colleges in NYC.

How would you describe your career journey up until now?

A twist on one of Van Gogh’s quotes: I would describe it as an unpaved road, but where the most beautiful flowers grow!

In my first year of college at the University of Washington, I was an aspiring psychologist. Experimenting with different courses led me to a second degree in economics and finally a mathematics minor in hopes of becoming an economist. I only discovered the world of finance close to graduation when I landed an internship with Merrill Lynch’s wealth management team and Russell Investments’ equities portfolio investing team, both based in Seattle. A few months post-graduation, I decided to move to New York without a job as I was determined to build a career in asset management in a financial hub. Fast forward to seven years later, I became an energy banker at Silicon Valley Bank, which I truly enjoy.

Through this journey, I cannot stress enough the importance of a growth mindset, an open mind, respect for different opinions, and commitment to networking to discover your calling. I was very fortunate to find professionals, friends, and mentors to guide me along my journey. As a big believer in paying it forward, WEN is a great platform that allows me to help others find a path forward in their own career journeys.

Bridgit Kodenkandath

Organization: Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE)

Title: NYC Chapter Lead


Instagram Handle: wrisenergy

Twitter Handle: @wrisenergy,

LinkedIn Handle:,

Why did you join your organization?

As I was finishing my undergraduate degree in environmental studies, I struggled to find jobs that pragmatically helped “save the planet.” I was adamant about turning my passion into a profession. When I discovered that Women of Renewable Industries & Sustainable Energy (WRISE) sponsors young women to attend national renewable energy industry conferences, I thought it sounded exactly like the exposure I needed. I was awarded a Fellowship in 2017 (applications are open for 2021), which took me to American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER Conference — an experience that was truly pivotal for my career.

What role do you play in the organization, and what do you hope to accomplish in advancing energy and environmental justice?

I want to pay it forward. After moving to New York City, I became one of the local chapters leads to help plan educational and networking events, lead initiatives, and collaborate with employers, trade groups, and of course, women in the industry.

For me, environmental justice is a tangible and personal inspiration. Having visited family in India since I was little, the experiences of extreme weather, the sights and smells of intense pollution, and stories of big corporations draining local water sources left a deep impression on me. In addition, NYC is one of the most diverse cities in the country, but the demographics at our happy hours and our lunch & learns are never as varied.

One of my hopes is to reach a diverse audience locally with WRISE’s message of promise in a renewable energy career. To significantly change the trajectory of global warming, we need everyone on board and pitching in, sharing their perspective, and involving their communities. I hope WRISE can play a part in building on this momentum throughout New York City.

What are some challenges you encounter as you work to achieve these goals? How do you overcome them?

Like all industry groups, there is a feedback loop that brings in more of the same people with similar experiences and career paths. Breaking the loop requires us to be proactive and intentional in who we partner with for events & opportunities.

One way we plan to kickstart our effort is by partnering with colleges throughout the five boroughs to offer local WRISE fellowships, with an eye for diverse candidates. We know there is a lack of women in leadership roles, and even more so when thinking of women of color. However, by widening the initial pipeline of talent that comes into the industry, WRISE can help build community and industry culture to sustain this diverse workforce and keep the talent engaged, committed, and supported all the way to the top.

How would you describe your career journey up until now?

My career thus far has been a series of opportunities in clean energy that have built off one another. My college internships were primarily policy-focused, taking me from Senator Michael Bennet’s office in Washington, to former Governor Ritter’s Center for the New Energy Economy in Denver, and to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources in Boston. My first clean energy job was managing a commercial & industrial (C&I) energy efficiency program through Clearesult for Kansas City Power & Light (now Evergy). Now in New York at EnterSolar (now part of EDF Renewables), I help develop solar projects for C&I customers. Working in diverse fields and cities has given me a deep appreciation for the clean energy industry, especially where the sub-sectors overlap. I’m so excited to see the industry grow and change the world in the coming years.

Shruti Nayar

Organization: Young Professionals in Energy NYC

Title: Secretary & Diversity Lead


Instagram Handle: @msnewshruti

LinkedIn Handle: nayarshruti

Why did you join your organization?

I applied to join the Board of YPE NYC because I wanted to get more involved in shaping the renewable energy conversations of NYC. The YPE NYC events I attended as a recent graduate and transplant to NYC were engaging and inspiring. I’m fortunate to be part of an exceptionally driven and passionate team.

What role do you play in the organization, and what do you hope to accomplish in advancing energy and environmental justice?

I have been the Secretary of YPE NYC since 2018, and the Diversity Lead since mid-2020. Over my four years on the Board, I have seen Chapter membership and engagement increase significantly. Our networking events are a consistent part of the NYC energy calendar, our partnerships with other organizations are strengthening, and our Zoom presence has developed to the point where we actually have Zoom bombers! (Kidding — this is never good and not an internal metric of success.)

The expansion of our membership and event offerings, along with more nuanced internal processes allows us, both individually and as a group, to observe the organization on a macro-level. In addition to focusing on programming, we can look critically at the attributes of successful programming and consider improvements to our marketing, messaging, event setting, speaker selection, etc. Driven to action by the racial justice protests in 2020, I think it especially important to view the Chapter’s endeavors through the lens of equity and equality. As we continue making diversity and inclusion a priority of YPE NYC, I hope to encourage the Chapter’s engagement with activities that promote a more equitable NYC.

What are some challenges you encounter as you work to achieve these goals? How do you overcome them?

Biases, inherently, are blind spots in your thought process. One of the most significant challenges I have found is maintaining objectivity while considering how we can further our diversity and inclusion efforts. Notably, the best way to control my own biases is making sure YPE NYC has access to diverse thoughts as we consider the best ways to implement changes furthering societal equity. Adding Diversity Advisors to our Board has been one of the most valuable adjustments we have made.

How would you describe your career journey up until now?

At a family dinner before my college graduation, a waitress asked me what I was planning on doing afterward. Truthfully, the only way I could respond was citing one of my favorite Friends episodes: season 1, episode 4: “The One with George Stephanopolous.” About halfway through, Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe are laying around the living room with drinks and cookie dough, bemoaning their unstructured lives. Monica asks Phoebe whether she has “a plan” for her life. Phoebe responds, “I don’t even have a pla-.” I still feel that deeply.

My career journey has been fueled by an underlying belief I developed in college: the economy and the environment don’t need to work at odds. Rather, environmental diligence is necessary for sustained economic profit. However, a core belief doesn’t stop me from wondering about my professional future, questioning whether I’m making a difference, or prevent me from having a healthy amount of Facetime breakdowns to my mom.

I certainly never thought I would be in the role I am in, and I didn’t know of the existence of companies like Goldenset Capital Partners. Although I am more sure of where I believe I want my career to go, I’m also willing to leave myself open to chance. As I look back, the dots connect better than I imagined; knowing that now, I trust the ones in my future will too.

About WOC/CS

WOC/CS is a platform and community supporting women of color in building their careers, creating professional success, and advancing their well-being. WOC/CS is one of the few collectives that is 100% dedicated to advancing women of color working in the sustainability industry. We are building the only digital marketplace and community bringing all of the players in the diverse ecosystem together across the sustainability industry and solving the gap of connecting a key demographic in the sector with the organizations and companies that want to support their ideas and projects.

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Young Professionals in Energy New York City is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that facilitates the advancement of young professionals in the energy industry through social, educational, and civic service-oriented events. With over 4,000 members, the organization represents one of the largest energy networks in the tri-state area. We welcome anyone with a direct professional focus on the energy sector to join our diverse and dynamic community.

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Women of Color Collective in Sustainability

WOC/CS pronounced /woke•sīs/ Women of Color Collective in Sustainability. Spotlighting opportunities for collab, connection, resource-sharing and mentorship