Photo Credit: Steven Lutz, GRID-Arendal
Apr 29
April 29, 2016

A Conversation with Women on the Frontlines of Climate Change


When it comes to climate change and energy costs, it’s hard to find anyone more vulnerable than a person living in a low-lying island nation. Rising sea levels and extreme weather threaten islands, and fluctuations in fossil fuel prices limit their economic vitality.

Transitioning to renewable energy is a clear pathway forward. And the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) is helping island nations get there. An integral part of this work is the Women in Island Energy Leadership Network, which will provide women in the energy sector with resources to assist them in rising into leadership roles.

We asked Charmaine Gill-Evans, Generation Engineer at the Barbados Light & Power Company, Siana Teelucksingh, Project Manager with CCI, and Janice Carr, Parish Manager for St. Ann and Trelawny at Jamaica Public Service to tell us about some of the challenges and opportunities.

Here are some of the takeaways from the conversation:  

Imported diesel comes at a high cost
“St. Lucia generates about 99 percent of its electricity from imported diesel. Whenever there’s volatility in global oil prices, the fuel cost is passed directly to consumers. This makes electricity cost-prohibitive when diesel prices are high.” – Siana 

Renewable energy is a natural fit
“The awesome thing about Jamaica is that our weather conditions are fairly consistent and that is a big win for renewables like solar and wind power.” – Janice

To solve today's problems, we need more women at the top
“The way in which energy is being supplied and consumed is evolving rapidly. New, innovative leadership styles are needed to effectively address the problems of today.” – Siana

“It is important for women to rise to leadership positions because it is necessary to maintain a balanced perspective on the challenges and solutions facing our islands.” – Charmaine

Women often face more challenges than you’d think
“As a fairly young Parish Manager, I had to show extraordinary results before anyone was confident that I was appointed to the position based on my capabilities and track record. I overcame this by staying true to my core values, and by focusing on what I wanted to achieve.” – Janice

Men can be a big part of the solution
“Men occupy a large percentage of the leadership roles within the marketplace. This means that they are in the perfect position to provide mentorship, coaching, and development opportunities for others (specifically women) to grow in their leadership potential.” - Janice

The Women in Island Energy Leadership Network can help women find support
“A thriving community can emerge out of the network where women desirous of career advancement can find support and encouragement.” – Charmaine

Seize opportunities, align your values, and be a life-long student
“Seize every opportunity. Say yes, and figure out how to do it later!” – Janice

“Identify your core values and identify the core values of your organization. Determine whether they are aligned. If they are not, then it is time to re-evaluate, take a risk and make a change.” – Siana

“Never stop learning; there is always more to know.” – Charmaine

Charmaine Gill-Evans is a Generation Engineer at the Barbados Light & Power Company, where provides services not only to the Barbados Light & Power Company, but to other affiliate companies under a shared services agreement with the holding company EMERA Caribbean Incorporated.

Charmaine holds a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering (Hons) and a MSc. in Engineering with Management (Distinction). She is a registered professional engineer in Barbados and a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 

Siana Teelucksingh  is a Project Manager with CCI. She supports the islands of Saint Lucia, Jamaica and the Bahamas in progressing each respective government’s renewable energy initiatives and sustainable aspects of their National Energy Policies. 

She obtained her MSc. from Imperial College London in Sustainable Energy Futures, and her BSc. in Petroleum Geoscience from the University of the West Indies.

Janice Carr is the Parish Manager for St. Ann and Trelawny at Jamaica Public Service and her parishes have consistently exceeded collections targets, topped the Customer satisfaction surveys, and in 2015  her parish was given the award for the parish with the highest reliability results.

Born in Portland, Jamaica, Janice was educated locally at the University of the West Indies where she achieved her BS.