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Women in Cleantech and Sustainability at Google Silicon Valley.


Women in Cleantech and Sustainability (WCS) is going strong with their 6th annual WCS talk on November, 2nd 2019 at Google campus in Sunnyvale, Silicon Valley. Back in 2016, I was one of the speakers for their 3rd annual WCS talk and now volunteered for their 6th annual WCS talk. It is amazing to see how WCS has grown and added new agendas in this remarkable one-day event. WCS is one of the unique events, nothing like any international scientific and engineering conferences that I have ever been. When you walked out of this event, you learnt significantly new things completely outside your circle and taught others new knowledge. That is power.

During the lunch break, I sat down with 3 professionals’ women: a consultant in one of the big 4 accounting firms, an oil and gas drilling engineer for the world largest oilfield services company and a senior associate for major California health care provider. Prarthana Narayanan who was the oil and gas engineer expat at Arab and Africa, shared her real-life working stories in oil explorations – how does it works, what are the mechanisms, different techniques adopted to connect the “oil” pores and to my amaze safety precaution to no dolphins during oil exploration process. Tessa Verhoef shared her strategy on what is needed to write a sustainable proposal to an organization where it get approved and executed. She did highlight that WCS event is the right place where all professional women who share the same core values (cleantech and sustainability) can be together and discussed with other subject matter expert deeply. Victoria Hollingshead who is a senior technical consultant was extremely attentive to us and asked lots of questions. What intrigued me was her ability to ask solid and critical questions narrowing to the extreme details, despite the fact that all of us are coming from various background. By coincident, I am currently reading a consulting book by one of the big 4 firms – and amazingly the book highlights the importance of asking “critical” questions. It is just interesting to relate between the two. Well, she is working in one of the big 4. With current unfortunate California state fire emergency and the scheduled blackout by PG&E – I shared pros and cons of residential on-grid solar system (NEM) and gave a sneak preview of my solar training class which I have conducted in Malaysia. And I am super excited that all of us are learning new things.

Women in Cleantech and Sustainability is indeed a great platform for all of us coming from various background and yet having similar core values towards cleantech and sustainability. Not just to rub shoulders with the CEO, co-founders, directors, engineers, and others but also to actually sit down and have the opportunity to learn new things, exchange ideas and teach each others. That is empowerment.

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