Q&A with Sally Smith, Researcher at Greentech
In the second article in our Women in Green Technology series, Greentech spoke with Sally Smith, Researcher within our own company. Sally began working at Greentech this year and contributes largely to the research team, helping the company to reach other people and companies with similar values to our own.
We spoke to Sally about her role, what sustainability means to her, and how we can encourage more women to get involved in this forward-thinking, critical industry.
Greentech: Can you tell me a little bit about your role at Greentech?
Sally Smith: At Greentech I’ve been specialising in a particular Greentech client who provide battery energy storage solutions. My role involves doing financial business justifications and deciding whether or not we should pursue a particular project.
A recent example of that involved looking at ice cream vans and understanding the issues that are facing the market. For example, diesel engines run all day whilst they are handing out ice creams to people. My role there was to figure out how our client can apply their product to that particular market.
A lot of my work involves looking into tenders and possible partnerships for Greentech. I also attend online events which I summarise and report back on any information that will be valuable to our company moving forward.
Greentech: Were you interested in sustainable technology before this role?
Sally Smith: I’ve always been interested in climate change in general but I didn’t really know where to start. I think this is a problem that a lot of people have had. From my own research prior to this role, I came across something that suggested the green technology sector is a good place to start if you are hoping to make a difference to climate change.
My current role is ideal and a great way to contribute to society as a whole. Technology is the way forward and we’re not moving backwards in terms of the solutions we offer as a company. We’re trying to progress things in a meaningful way through effective green technology consulting.
Greentech: The industry continues to be male dominated. Do you feel that women are underrepresented in roles like yours?
Sally Smith: In the research team at Greentech I don’t think we are. I think it’s pretty even. The technology industry as a whole is definitely male dominated but I think the ‘get women into STEM’ movement has shortened the life span of it being a male dominated industry. In the long run I think we will see more women in tech making a difference and having their voices heard at the table. I don’t think it’s going to be like that forever and I think everyone is working to balance it out.
Greentech: What are some qualities that you feel women can bring to the industry?
Sally Smith: We can offer diversity of thought and new perspectives as well as a caring, compassionate view of the bigger picture. The male perspective could be more focussed on one issue and women might look at the issue as a whole and how it might have a ripple effect on other areas.
Greentech: Do you have any notable female inspirations? In the green technology industry or otherwise?
Sally Smith: Michelle Obama has had the most impactful influence on me. She’s given talks on tech and has basically urged Silicon Valley to employ more women, or at least open up those roles to more women. These are women who are obviously qualified and can do the job but just haven’t necessarily been given the opportunities. As she is in a position of power and influence, her voice has definitely added momentum to that sphere.
Greentech: Do you feel this is the way forward, to show women that there are roles available and expose them to that idea from a younger age?
Sally Smith: Yes definitely. It’s kind of a cyclical thing, so in order to encourage more women into the industry you need to have more women in those roles showing other women that they can do those jobs.
Greentech: Are there any challenges you think women might face, or do you try not to think about it that way? What sort of mindset do you have going into your career?
Sally Smith: My work ethic comes from that idea that if someone else can do it, I can do it. Why can’t I do that job? Why can’t I be an excellent researcher? I have the belief that the work I produce will speak for me.
I’m not necessarily intimidated by male influence. It doesn’t deter me. If anything, it’s a driver for me. I have been given this opportunity so I can help prove that women are capable. That’s the mindset I have.