A network for women in the district heating sector – why and how can it benefit the entire industry?
By Kamma Eilschou Holm, Founder of KH RELATION
Our British colleagues have a long tradition of creating networks and clubs. Nevertheless, it surprised me when, in the fall of 2022, through DBDH, I was connected with Rachael Mills from SE2 to hear how she and several colleagues from the UK district heating sector managed to create a network for women with more than 400 members. The network is called District Heating Divas. With a district heating sector in Denmark that is considerably larger than the British one, it motivated me to create a similar network in Scandinavia with Denmark as the anchor. Thus, “District Heating Divas – Scandinavian” came into being.
Currently, we have 250 members, have held one physical event in Copenhagen, and hosted two webinars. We are planning the next physical event in Aarhus on geothermal energy before the end of the year and have two webinars in the pipeline for this autumn. In other words, we are moving forward at full speed.
But why – the intention is to make the district heating sector an attractive industry for women to seek, stay in, and contribute to its development. We believe ideas and decisions are better when they grow and are made in diverse forums. The district heating sector is one of the crucial tools in the green transition for Europe. We must continue to develop technology, systems, and organization sustainably. We stand on the shoulders of many wise individuals who have brought the district heating sector to where it is today. But we need to move forward, and we need to solve challenges larger than ever before. That’s why we call on all forces because the greater the chances are that we find good solutions.
Being able to see oneself in others, to have role models, and to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and have doubts can be difficult when you are a significant minority. Therefore, the network intends to shed light on the women already in our sector so they can serve as sounding boards and role models for others. At the same time, we aim to create a forum where neither new nor experienced women in the sector need to feel outnumbered. Thus, we hope to help retain and attract the many competent women who are and will be an asset to Denmark’s district heating sector and, therefore, to the rest of the world.
The significant advantage of District Heating Divas – Scandinavian is that it is a network with members from various organizations. We have members who are employed in district heating companies, industrial enterprises, consulting firms, as well as in municipalities and authorities. This means that knowledge exchange can occur across organizations, and secondly, one can gain inspiration and insight into tasks and work culture across different organizations.
Furthermore, we have many international companies that receive employees from all over the world. With our network, they have the opportunity to establish contacts in Scandinavia, which can facilitate their start in both the sector and the countries.
As mentioned in the introduction, the inspiration comes from the UK sister network that has existed for four years. Here, Georgina Orso from Guru Systems puts into words why she sees District Heating Divas as a definite advantage: