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Published on 2nd July 2024

A Male Perspective: Reflecting on the Women in Utilities Awards 2024


Attending the Women in Utilities Awards in London on Thursday, June 27th, was an eye-opening and inspiring experience. Held at the Grand  de Vere  Connaught Rooms in Central London, the event highlighted the remarkable achievements of women in the utilities sector. As I entered the reception room, I was struck by the impressive turnout— Obviously 95% of the attendees were women, however it clearly showcased the growing presence and influence of women in our traditionally male-dominated sector.

The atmosphere was electric, buzzing with energy and excitement. It was fantastic to enjoy a glass of fizz and reconnect with colleagues from previous networking events and my peers from SmartestEnergy. The reception set the tone for an afternoon ahead of us that celebrated excellence, innovation, and the pivotal role of women in utilities.

As we moved to the dining hall, the excitement continued to build. I had the pleasure of joining a table with representatives from Opus Energy, where the warm welcome and vibrant conversations made for a delightful experience. The anticipation for the awards ceremony was palpable.

The event was officially opened by WUN founders Hayley Monks and Jo Butlin. Their emotional speech recounted the journey that began six years ago when them and small gathering of other women from our sector met over lunch and a glass of wine to discuss how they could raise awareness for women in the industry. At that time, women constituted only 17% of the sector. Today, women make up 30% of the utility workforce—a testament to the vision and passion of this pioneering group.

The WUN board has grown and evolved over the years, supported by incredible advocates across the sector. It was inspiring to witness the progress and the commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. From one of the few men in the room, I felt a deep sense of pride and inspiration, realising the immense talent and dedication present.

Special recognition goes to the WUN board members for their unwavering dedication: Hayley Monks, Jo Butlin, Louise Wapshare, Rebecca Sedler, Angela Needle, Louise Parry, Sara McMath, Sharon Sage, Helen Rints, Angela Peart, and Sarah Hopkins. Their efforts have made a significant impact on the industry, paving the way for future generations of women in utilities.

In conclusion, the Women in Utilities Awards was more than just an event; it was a celebration of progress and a call to continue striving for greater equality. As a man in the sector, I left feeling inspired and hopeful for the future, committed to supporting the ongoing journey towards a more inclusive and diverse industry.

Darren Jeffery, Head of Operations- Customers, SmartestEnergy Business