From the operational to the strategic and staying true to yourself

As part of our commitment to fostering diversity within our ranks, 17 women from across the business attended the Women in Leadership Summit in November last year. 

Held in five locations across Australia, 10 per cent of all ticket sales went towards supporting United Nations Women programs and initiatives around the world – working to advance gender equality for women and girls everywhere.

Jacinda Papps, General Manager Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, shares her experience at the summit with us, along with some things she's learned during her seven-year career with Alinta Energy.

I joined Alinta Energy in February 2017 as a manager in the national wholesale regulation team, and, like much of the energy industry, it’s traditionally a very male-dominated field.

One of the things that I find rewarding at Alinta is our commitment to doing better. Making things better is a genuine part of the identity of the company. We know we don’t have things all worked out when it comes to diversity, but we’re determined to make the changes we need so that the generations of women ahead of us don’t face the same hurdles that some of us have. Being in a room surrounded by inspiring women who are all focussed on lifting each other up was a pretty great way to spend a day or two!

I’ve been fortunate in my career to work across a wide range of disciplines from the operational through to the strategic.  I used to be so in the detail of every project and issue, not at all strategic, but as I progressed my career with Alinta and took on new opportunities and projects I’ve completely changed.

Today, I’m comfortable across the whole spectrum and am involved in a lot of commercial and strategic decisions that we make as a business.

Women in Leadership Summit Melbourne delegates from Alinta Energy

Some of our team that attended last year's Women in Leadership Summit

Women in Leadership Summit Sydney delegates from Alinta Energy

I’ve been at the head of some amazing projects including what we called ‘the Pilbara reform’, which, for me, was a six-year project that ultimately improved the reliability and value of all the assets we had in the region and set us up for their eventual sale to the APA Group in November last year.

Through that work, in 2021, the company nominated me to be the Alinta DEWAP Board member on the Pilbara Independent System Operator Company (an incorporated not-for-profit public company). This gave me about two years on my first board – something I’m keen to build on in the years ahead.

Then, following a review of our compliance framework, a new general manager role was created for me and I’m now heading up Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, a role that spans both the trading and portfolio parts of the business as well as power generation and development.

It’s a big remit but I get to lead a sensational team and I love it! Our team has also taken on Security of Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Plans – which is adding another discipline – risk – to my repertoire!

I’m convinced that opportunities for growth are always around you – I think you’ve just got to back yourself and lean in. I know that’s not always easy when you’re the only female at the table but true job satisfaction stems from being recognised for your unique skills and perspectives. That’s something we heard a lot about at the Women in Leadership Summit last year. It’s crucial to work where you are celebrated, not just tolerated.

I know that my skills and style are not only needed at Alinta Energy but that my contribution is valued. To be an effective leader, you have to coach not just manage. Learning to bring out the best in people is a thoroughly rewarding experience. I’m true to who I am, and I think that’s the trick to staying motivated as well as keeping those around you motivated. Authenticity.

Champions of Change

This year our CEO Jeff Dimery joined the Champions of Change Coalition’s new Energy Sector Group. It's part of our commitment to improve gender equality in our industry. Read more in the Coalition's Annual Impact Report below.

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