We’re beaming with pride! Why? Today, we celebrate the achievements of two of our very own 2020 Young Women in Energy (YWE) Award Winners – Ana Villarreal-Escudero and Cheryl Johnson. Ana and Cheryl are among an esteemed group of 10 inspiring women, recognized for their contributions to the energy industry and a cleaner, more sustainable and more equitable future for all.
Executive Director, Young Women in Energy
To celebrate, we sat down with Ana and Cheryl (virtually, of course) to learn a bit more about them and get their take on our energy future. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: What do you at TC Energy?
Meet Ana: I’ve been at TC Energy for over six years and spent the past four working in what is now the Facility Integrity and Reliability Group. On that team, I was one of the Lead Mechanical Engineers for our compression projects – building new capacity in our pipeline system across Canada. Together, we designed fully-electrical systems for our facilities, and I hope these designs can be leveraged in the future as we look at the electrification of more stations.
In January, I started in a new role in the CGOEP Environment and Sustainability team focused on methane emissions compliance and identifying low or no emission design opportunities to help meet our sustainability goals. Now, I get to leverage learnings from my previous work, with a new lens. Outside of work, I’m the Calgary Chapter Co-Chair of the Young Pipeliners’ Association of Canada (YPAC) – and as part of my role I helped launch a new program called Avatar.
Meet Cheryl: I’ve always been interested in the relationship between energy and climate change. It’s a complex issue –relying on public policy and private sector technical expertise to come together to achieve a solution. This interest also propels my education, work and personal volunteering, such as in communications, strategy and volunteer management on political campaigns at all levels of government. It’s a tremendous way to hone your skills outside the office.
I joined TC over seven years ago and have had the opportunity to grow through roles in climate change, policy and corporate strategy. A year ago, I became the Manager of the Sustainability and Policy team. We are involved in everything from setting the long-term vision for what sustainability looks like at TC, to developing our positions on public policy issues, and working with global and regional partners to build a more sustainable and resilient energy system and policy environment.
Q: Why are you passionate about energy?
Ana: For me, it’s a real a sense of responsibility. We all need energy, and it impacts everything we do every day. I’m in a privileged position where I have a great job, I have the skills to contribute, and I can bring others along to make a difference – that’s really exciting. There are always ways we can be better, and I want to be a part of that movement.
Cheryl: What it comes down to for me – is societal good. Energy, and access to energy, is so important. It makes people’s lives better, it improves quality of life – and I want to be a part of that in whatever way I can be. I see my work here, and my role in the industry as a place where I can make that connection.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
Ana: Do something you really care about. I do what I do because I care deeply about energy. I believe what I’m doing is meaningful, I’ve been fortunate to see the positive impact of my work and I’ve built many great connections – it all stems from the fact that I care. Do something that you are happy to give your time to - that’s rewarding to you, and success will follow.
Cheryl: Read. Learn. Listen. Consume as much information as you can and gain a broader understanding of the ‘big picture’. People have so much skill and capability and being able to draw the connections between your day-to-day role and the greater objectives of your business unit, the company or even society will make your work so much more meaningful.
Q: How do you challenge the status quo and come up with new ideas?
Ana: I try not to be afraid of failure or rejection. At an excellence-driven company – it can be difficult to do sometimes. We need to be curious and ask questions like, “how can we do this better?” There’s so much space for diverse people, ideas and personalities – we need everyone bringing their full authentic self to the table, that’s where the magic happens.
Cheryl: I always ask, ‘so what?’ and ‘why are we doing this?’ It’s an important check for me. If the main answer is, ‘because that’s how it was done in the past,’ I know I need to rethink and explore other solutions. I also like to challenge my team to think about, ‘what’s the best possible outcome?’ – and from there, assess what’s feasible within our mandate, resources and priorities.
Young Women in Energy Awards: Now in its seventh year, YWE’s Awards Program is shining a spotlight on women’s contributions to and accomplishments in Alberta’s energy industry.
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