BARBADIAN SUSTAINABILITY PRACTITIONER INDUCTED IN CLINTON NEWTORK

In the wake of the devastation caused by one of the worst hurricane seasons in recent times, “no longer is it enough to be sustainable; Caribbean grids must be resilient.”

With these words the organizers of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) convened leaders of regional utilities, governments and businesses at their ninth annual conference in Miami. As global leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency took to the podium to bring delegates up to speed on the latest trends in this burgeoning sector.

CREF, the largest annual gathering of the Caribbean energy market, was also supported by the Clinton Climate Initiative Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE) Network, a professional network for women working in clean energy in islands. Through this programme, the Clinton Climate Initiative has been advocating strongly for more women to be employed in the renewable energy sector, a move that it argues is good for their overall success and profitability.

Barbadian sustainability practitioner, Davina Layne, who is the regional project coordinator for the USAID Caribbean Clean Energy Program (CARCEP), was one of just 10 young professionals selected by the WIRE network to attend the conference. Layne, who holds a M.A. in Tourism, Environment & Development from King’s College London, described the experience as both enlightening and sobering.

“Pursuing clean energy options will provide opportunities for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as Barbados, to retain critical foreign exchange currently lost to fossil fuels. It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by such talented and inspiring ladies who are leaders in this and related fields. I am even more inspired than before to stay on top of my game.”

Including women in leadership positions has been proven to be good for business. In a recent study Ernst & Young revealed that a 30 percent increase in women leaders in an organization translated to a 15 percent rise in profitability. Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women had a 34 percent higher total return to shareholders than those with the lowest representation.

Each WIRE inductee was assigned a mentor who will guide them in their professional development and networking efforts over the next year. Thereafter, Layne and the other participants will be given a mentee of their own, ensuring the constant sharing and growth of each WIRE networker.

“I plan to use the WIRE mentor network to grow professionally, as well as to shape further the discussion and direction of sustainability and renewable energy on behalf of the Caribbean.” said Layne.

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