HOT | COOL NO. 2/2022 - "Conversion from gas - Diversity...


There’s a photograph doing the rounds on LinkedIn. It’s ameeting room set for lunch. White linen, flowers on the table, lots of natural daylight. Lots of men. Lots of blue suits. Lots of grey hair.

By Rachael Mills, Co-Founder, District Heating Divas

The birth of a movement Three years ago, over a quiet gin and tonic, my business partner Liz Warren and I wondered if oth- er women working in the DH sector would be interested in getting together. Other women we knew thought it was a good idea, and so in April 2019, we hosted a small lunch, and the District Heating Divas were born. The older I get, the more I become aware of when I’m the only woman in the room. Maybe it’s self-awareness; maybe it’s other strong women opening our eyes. It’s not the fault of those individ- ual men around that table, but everyone has a role to play in making a change. Everyone of those men will have worked hard to rise to the top of their profession and earned their seat at that table. Most of them will have families. Many of them will be vocal advocates of their female colleagues. But where are the women? Where are the people of colour? The photo in question happened to be taken at a security conference, but there are plenty of other male-dom- inated industries – including the district heating (DH) sector. The good thing is that the photo was called out on social media1. The bad thing is that it still needs to be.

The energy sector is undergoing a

transformation, presenting a wide range of challeng- es and opportunities, from digitalisation to decarbon- isation and changing con- sumer demands. Success will mean attracting and retaining a diverse pool of talent capable of bringing the necessary technical and leadership skills, and

Diva: to describe a person who exudes great style and personality with confidence and expresses their own style and not letting others influence who they are or want to be. Urban Dictionary

At its simplest, the Divas is an informal business networking group for all women working in the DH sector. But it’s much more than that. It is connectedness. It’s open and welcoming. It’s friendly and collaborative. It’s inspiring and supportive. It’s fun!

fresh perspectives.” POWERful Women

The Divas have grown into a mighty group of phenomenal women. We now have:

Over 300 women in our LinkedIn group Over 150 women attending regular regional and national meetups (both online and in real life) A hugely successful mentoring programme – the Heat Exchanger – now recruiting its third cohort A STEM careers video that’s about to premiere

Oh – and we run the most interesting, engaging and memorable conferences you’ve ever been to! And it’s all done pro bono – for free – because the women involved value coming together.

1 Photo & source is provided on the final page of this document

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