‘With ownership, we can truly enable diversity and prosperity across the industry’

This week, Women in Solar Europe (WiSEu) gives voice Johanna Snickars, Chief Communications Officer & Brand Officer at Alight Energy. She says cimbing the traditional career ladder was a fun, challenging, and steep development curve. “I started to feel like I wanted to have a more purpose-driven job where I could see how my contributions made a positive impact on the world,” she also states.

I’ve worked with communications for 15 years, in PR agencies and heading up communications at companies such as Microsoft and Ericsson. Climbing the traditional career ladder was a fun, challenging, and steep development curve. I started to feel like I wanted to have a more purpose-driven job where I could see how my contributions made a positive impact on the world. I’m not alone; it’s an ongoing trend of “climate quitter,” as referred to by Bloomberg, or “green defector,” as reported in the Financial Times. When a headhunter called for Alight, it struck the right accord. To be part of scaling up a solar developer and IPP in Europe focused on supporting large corporations to ditch fossil fuels, and the challenge of building a strong new brand, was a winning combination. The motivation comes naturally when working towards a brighter future for my children, and adding new clean MW’s every day!

There aren’t many jobs within communications, brand, and marketing in this field – yet. But as the industry is growing and maturing, more organizations realize the importance of communications for scaling a successful business and building out those functions. Having previously worked in mainly male-dominated industries, such as finance and tech, I’m committed to breaking glass ceilings regardless of sector.

When I joined Alight, and first entered the renewable industry, four years ago, my conditions were a leadership position and ownership in the company. In my experience, men are generally better at negotiating employment packages such as salary, bonus, and warrants, and I’ve had to sharpen this skill and strongly encourage female professionals to adopt it. I’m inspired by female founders and top leaders, but with ownership, we can truly enable diversity and prosperity across the industry.

I was surprised at how male-dominated the industry is, at least in terms of top management and ownership. I meet a lot of female role models, but not nearly enough. Though the war on female talent is fierce, as many players in this industry are modern workplaces and well aware of the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce, we, who already have a foot in the door, are well-positioned to apply some gentle pressure to set high goals for gender equality, on all levels, and to champion diversity as a whole. After all, an industry so deeply rooted in and aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals should aim high to reach the other targets, too.

The opportunities are endless – and up for grabs! This is a booming sector, and it is heavily invested in right now. The growth rate of the industry is faster than that of the professionals who are educated or upskilled for it, which presents a massive opportunity. It means many companies invest in potential and talent rather than CV or domain expertise, and often specifically looking to add more women. So even if you have no industry experience or tick all the boxes of the job ad, I say: apply! Experiences from other industries and specialist roles such as communications, HR, legal, and finance are also needed – and in reality, we’re all learning by doing while growing with the industry.

Johanna Snickars has 15 years of experience as a communications leader within companies such as Microsoft and Ericsson, and joined Alight in 2020. She has won several awards for her communicative leadership, hosted a podcast focused on female leadership and entrepreneurs for two years, and is a frequent speaker about all things communications and brands at conferences. She lives with her family in Stockholm, Sweden, in one of Europe’s most extensive sustainable urban development areas where sustainability and circularity are an integral part of daily life. She’s a member of Alight’s management team and responsible for external and internal communications, and brand management. Alight is on a mission to kick carbon off the grid by helping energy-intensive businesses switch to solar. They develop, own and operate onsite and offsite solar projects across Europe and sell clean energy to businesses at a low, fixed cost backed by a power purchase agreement (PPA). They aim to reach an installed capacity of at least 5 GW by 2030.

Interested in joining Johanna Snickars and other women industry leaders and experts at Women in Solar Europe? Find out more: www.wiseu.network

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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