By Alexandra Kroger 4/10/2019
I was honored to be elected President of the Philadelphia chapter of WRISE (Women in Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy) this past March. I first learned about WRISE, one of the nation’s premier organizations for women working in clean energy and related fields, when I was still living and working in New York. That early connection marked one of the first steps that led me back to Philadelphia, my favorite city in the world, to work in the industry that will define the future of the world we live in.
WRISE, which has more than 30 chapters nationwide, was originally founded in 2005 as Women of Wind Energy (WoWE) to connect women working in the wind industry across the United States through networking opportunities, educational initiatives and collaborations with major trade organizations that promote the wind energy industry. WoWE was so successful in its work that in 2013, less than 10 years after its founding, it received the Green Power Leadership award from the Center for Resource Solutions and the EPA for “Best Green Power Education Program.” In late 2016, Abby Watson, the Head of Government Affairs at the American offices of wind energy leader Siemens Gamesa, founded the Philadelphia chapter of the organization. As not only wind, but also solar and other forms of sustainable energy grew, it became clear that there was a need to support women working across the sustainable energy industry. Therefore, in 2017, the national WoWE organization rebranded as “WRISE.”
I found my way to the Philadelphia chapter after five years of working for the City of New York. As a Penn graduate, committed sustainable energy professional, and Philadelphian at heart, I was thrilled to find such a wonderful community of likeminded professionals to engage with here. I was inspired by the enthusiasm I encountered from the organization as I strove to reconnect with the clean energy roots of my career, and a few months later, Damali Rhett, former Executive Director of The Energy Co-op and Philadelphia WRISE member, offered me a position with The Energy Co-op. Being newly returned to the city and new in my position, the early support that I continued to receive from WRISE really helped me get settled. I enthusiastically became involved in event planning and social media outreach for the organization right away.
Now, as I begin my term as the chapter’s president, it is my main priority to provide exactly that warmth and support to women in the Philadelphia region who are pursuing careers or seeking career growth in clean energy. To learn more about upcoming events in Philadelphia, please check out our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing you there.