Guest post by Rebecca Jetton, Design Engineer, AREVA Inc.
On March 14th, Tejiri Bolano and I were given the opportunity to represent AREVA Women in Nuclear at the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) Woman of the Year Award Banquet. For more than 30 years, WCEE has provided leadership support, professional development and networking opportunities for Washington-area professionals focusing on women, energy, and the environment. Hundreds of women and men from industries related to energy and the environment attended the banquet at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.
The Woman of the Year Award honors a woman of recognized stature in the energy and/or environment fields. The award was created in 1985, and past recipients include a US Senator, the Executive VP of Exelon, and a NOAA Administrator. This year’s recipient was the Honorable Kristine L. Svinicki of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Commissionner Svinicki has a distinguished career as a nuclear engineer and policy advisor working at the state and federal levels of government in both the legislative and executive branches. Through her acceptance speech, it was clear that she is a lighthearted and captivating speaker. She shared information about her journey throughout her career and her affinity for corny jokes and love of literature. She spoke humbly about her success, claiming it was a shared journey, and that she appreciated those who had challenged her along the way. Commissionner Svinicki stated that she “wouldn’t trade any of it, even the tough stuff.” I especially appreciated a quote that she shared from John Adams: “Public business must always be done by somebody … If wise men decline it, others will not. If honest men refuse it, others will not.” She spoke of her passion for public service as part of the NRC and her past government positions, and encouraged us each to find a purposeful calling.
As AREVA Design Engineering employees from Charlotte, it was a great opportunity for Tejiri and me to learn more about other branches of AREVA North America, and to speak directly with co-workers about their specific roles and contributions to the company. For dinner and the Awards Ceremony, we were seated with eight AREVA representatives from the Columbia, Bethesda, and Lynchburg offices who work in Transnuclear, AREVA Solar, Quality, and Sustainable Development. Three of our female executives also joined us: Cassie Hagan (VP of Communications), Mary-Alice Hayward (VP of Corporate Strategy), and Tara Neider (President & CEO of AREVA Federal Services).
Overall, this was a great evening of networking, learning more about our company and industry, and inspiration from women of influence in the field of energy. It was a great to collaborate with other AREVA women in an informal atmosphere, and to further build on our understanding of the industry and the power that we each have to make an impact.