Young Women in Energy (YWE) has taken over this issue of the Energy Innovation Brief! Under the direction of guest editor Katie Smith-Parent, YWE’s Executive Director, this issue highlights emerging leaders who are changing the face of energy in Alberta.

YWE exists to increase female voice, presence, leadership and development in Alberta’s energy sector. We believe young women have the power to change the energy industry for the better—and the women profiled below are doing just that. They are a diverse group of professionals with seemingly bottomless energy who are connected by a common motivation – the desire to serve their communities and leave behind an improved world.

The women profiled here are only a handful of the 70+ alumni of the YWE Awards Program. Learn more about YWE at

Managing Carbon in a Clean Energy Transition

Candice Paton
Director, Regulatory Affairs and External Relations, Enhance Energy
2020 YWE Award Winner

What do beer and climate change have in common? Most people can’t see the connection – but Candice Paton can. Energetic and innovative, Candice is the mind behind the Alberta Carbon Hub – a project designed to highlight the innovative steps Alberta companies are taking to solve climate change. It has attracted the participation of companies ranging from a power generator to a cleantech company to a brewery in Lacombe. Unusual, yes. But that’s Candice. Willing to explore any and all means to achieve successful collaboration and in this instance her goal is huge – to make real progress toward Canada’s climate goals through CCUS. She also developed and co-hosts a podcast, For the Sake of Argument, that uses debate to explore what makes critical conversations so difficult in today’s world. A networker and connector, Candice brings creativity and enthusiasm to her role with Enhance Energy, where she brings together stakeholders–including government, innovators, industries and communities–to generate a collaborative environment that puts words into action and delivers real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. And the beer-climate connection? We’ll leave you to find out more at

Ana Villarreal Escudero
Strategy Lead, Emissions Management, TC Energy
2020 YWE Award Winner

Ana enjoys tackling new challenges and in her role as strategy lead for the Emissions Management Team at TC Energy, she’s constantly confronted with puzzles that need solving. She leads a passionate team of multidisciplinary engineers to develop and implement innovative strategies to achieve meaningful emissions reduction in TC Energy’s Canadian gas footprint. Not only is the field rapidly evolving, emissions management is becoming more relevant than ever and new initiatives to explore come her way almost daily. While it might be intimidating for some, Ana notes the fast pace of the work keeps her engaged. Outside of her day job, Ana is a Lead Architect for the Avatar Innovations leadership team, an accelerator building the new energy future, and has successfully led two very successful Avatar Ignite Program iterations. She also co-led the Calgary Chapter Co-Chair for the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada (YPAC) and currently sits on the YPAC Organizational Success Committee.

Innovating for Energy’s Future

Jeanine Vany
Executive Vice President, Geoscience, Eavor Technologies Inc.
2019 YWE Award Winner 

Curiosity and a commitment to assist others have moved Jeanine’s career path from ordinary to extraordinary. Jeanine began by mapping reservoirs in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. But five years ago, she realized the basin could supply clean, geothermal energy—and the power could also help with food security, a critical challenge in Canada’s North. Her desire to use geological skills for a deeper purpose led Jeanine to co-found Eavor Technologies with a group of equally curious and dedicated people. Her work has taken her across the globe and back, but always with an eye to providing clean, reliable energy. Jeanine’s commitment to cross-sector collaboration, energy education, and the retooling of oil and gas technologies and skillsets is also apparent in her volunteer activities, which include Canadian Ambassador for Women in Geothermal, Founder & Chair of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists’ Geothermal Division, and Fellow with Energy Futures Lab. Jeanine continues to grow the geothermal heating and power sectors through her recently appointed Energy Advocate Board Director position with Geothermal Rising, a US-based non-profit whose mission is to connect the geothermal community and champion geothermal energy in the United States and around the world.

Anamika Mukherjee
Director of Innovation, Innovation Gateway, Cenovus
2015 YWE Award Winner

A self-described problem solver, Anamika is working in a sector with no end of challenges. Her current focus is on finding balance between the growing demand for reliable, affordable energy and the increasing momentum around decarbonization and energy transition. One factor driving demand is that 40% of the world population lives in energy poverty. Anamika believes moving this group into energy abundance will require ensuring every zero-emissions source of energy be considered. Tackling this complex problem excites and motivates her. It will require finding ways for oil and gas to compete with other forms of energy in both affordability and emissions, reducing the cost of carbon capture technology, looking at alternative uses of hydrogen, encouraging energy efficiency and other options. In parallel, she continues to coach women to take leadership positions in this space in order to bring diversity of thought in how best to enable abundant energy for the world.

Bringing About Systems Change

Liz Lappin
President and Director, Battery Metals Association of Canada
2017 YWE Award Winner

Liz is a champion of emerging industries and energy systems. After a decade in the oil and gas sector, Liz saw the value of emerging energy opportunities like geothermal and lithium, and realized there was a natural fit between many of Alberta’s energy resources. She joined E3 Metals, where she was able to advance one of the first lithium resource and technology projects in Alberta. This interest grew, and Liz became President of the Battery Metals Association of Canada, highlighting Canada’s strengths in resource development and ESG performance while supporting the rapidly expanding domestic battery metals industry value chain. She also pursues her vision of an inclusive, sustainable energy system through her work as a board member with Decentralized Energy Canada and as a Fellow of the Energy Futures Lab. A co-creator by nature, you can find Liz connecting and collaborating across the energy system on a variety of projects—like a lithium section for the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists’ Atlas 2027 and Leveraging Energy Assets for Diversification (LEAD), an Energy Futures Lab project to enable the re-use of inactive wells.

Terri-Lynn Duque
Director, Strategic Innovation, ENMAX Power Corporation
2019 YWE Award Winner

Terri-Lynn’s vision for a clean, affordable energy system in Alberta led her to create ENMAX Power’s ESG objectives for electrification and innovation, including a target to electrify 100% of their passenger vehicle fleet by 2030. She is the driver behind ENMAX Power’s Future Utility Strategy and Innovation Portfolio, but her goals extend beyond the company and she collaborates to build momentum for positive change across the energy industry. In her role as a Fellow with the Energy Futures Lab, Terri-Lynn brings her mantra of ‘Think Big, Start Small, Just Start’ to some of Alberta’s most complex energy transition challenges. She uses this mentality to help others see past barriers to the possibilities of tomorrow. She is most energized when bringing diverse groups together to investigate ways to translate strategy into action and believes “collaboration and innovation go hand in hand, and together create a path to the best possible outcomes.”

Nagwan Al-Guneid
Director, Business Renewables Centre
2020 YWE Award Winner 

Nagwan is especially passionate about systems change and climate action as well as equity and inclusion in leadership and government. She currently leads the Business Renewables Centre (BRC), a non-profit organization that simplifies and accelerates large-scale corporate and institutional renewable energy procurement across the country. Prior to BRC, Nagwan worked as the Manager for Policy Innovation and Government Relations at the Energy Futures Lab, an Alberta-based coalition of diverse innovators and leading organizations working together to accelerate transition. Nagwan also transforms her passions into action by volunteering and leading non-profits such as Ask Her YYC, an initiative to support gender-balanced and inclusive representation in Calgary’s municipal government, as well as co-founding The Next30, a platform for engaged Albertans to share bold policy solutions for the future of the province.

Communicating the Energy Story

Vanessa Goodman
Manager, HSE and Communications, North West Redwater Partnership
2020 YWE Award Winner

Vanessa’s first 4-H speech at the age of nine was all it took to spark a fondness for communications that would later become a career.  Working first with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, and later with Alberta’ Industrial Heartland Association, Vanessa’s drive and desire for challenge has helped both her employers and the communities served by those companies. Now, as Manager of HSE and Communication at North West Redwater Partnership, Vanessa builds public understanding of diesel production, from oil sands bitumen to vehicle fuel tanks, and the carbon capture components that are aiding the transition to lower carbon fuels. The job often puts her in the role of being a translator: from technical jargon to analogies and narratives that the public, government, media and neighbours can discern and digest. It is important to Vanessa that NWR is the kind of neighbour people truly want in the community, where the focus on beneficial employment, spending, community investment, and environmental responsibility positions the region better than it was before.

Laura Weeden
Vice-President Operations, Sio Silica
2018 YWE Award Winner

When most people think of sand, they revel in dreams of beaches, sunshine and surf. Not Laura Weeden. Her vision of sand is more likely to include daydreaming of how to further reduce the environmental impact of Sio Silica’s method for mining high-purity silica sand—a key input for solar panels, high-grade glass, electronics and other components of the energy transition. But Laura’s dreams don’t stop in her day job. She has poured her heart into projects in some  unusual territory in the quest to promote energy literacy. With the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Young Professionals Calgary Chapter, Laura helped kids and their parents have a hands-on experience to learn about hydraulic fracturing…using Jell-O.  And Laura now serves as Board Chair of the Canadian Energy and Climate Change Nexus (CECN), where she tackles complex issues on energy and climate in Canada. In her spare time, Laura can be found outdoors on Calgary’s urban trails or in the Canadian Rockies.

Alexandria Shrake
President, 114 Degrees West & Co-Founder, ENERGYminute
2018 YWE Award Winner 

If you have a vision, Alexandria can help you shape it into reality. A geophysicist by training, Alexandria made the bold move to leave her job with an energy supermajor to start 114 Degrees West, a boutique consulting firm. She now enjoys helping clients, who range from cleantech startups to Indigenous-led energy projects, as they navigate unique challenges while chasing their own dreams. Alexandria is motivated by her values – autonomy, relationships and fun – and you can see these beliefs reflected in ENERGYminute. Alexandria felt that stories about energy, technology and the environment were often over-simplified. Her solution was to co-develop ENERGYminute, a digital platform that presents stories and information about energy in concise, entertaining yet information-rich ways to draw people together, not divide them. Her experiences founding ENERGYminute, building relationships within professional associations such as the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and creating her own practice have left her confident that innovation is always possible.

Digital Transformation

Jil Macdonald
Vice President, Business Development, National Lead & Managing Director, Calgary, AltaML
2017 YWE Award Winner

Jil is driven by the belief that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can bring transformative change to almost every sector, including energy. Her career has evolved around harnessing data to deliver sustainable results—for a major energy producer, a top consulting firm, and the Alberta Energy Regulator where she was appointed the youngest-ever vice-president. She now leads the Calgary office of AltaML, one of Canada’s leading AI product companies. She’s passionate about what AI/ML can do for the world and how—used responsibly and ethically—it can augment human potential. Jil has been extensively recognized, including Avenue Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40, and over a dozen internationally-recognized awards. As a cancer survivor, she’s now integrating two passions—health and data—to  fundraise for a Data Sciences Hub at the new Calgary Cancer Centre through the OWN.CANCER campaign. She continues to see the power of data and digital tools have on advancing diagnosis, patient outcomes, and overall longevity.

Kirsten Baker
Director Digital Operations, PwC Canada
2020 YWE Award Winner

Kirsten is known for her ability to connect the right people to solve complex problems.  And she is passionate about helping businesses and people succeed in their goals and support transformative growth. Kirsten joined PwC out of university, where she studied manufacturing engineering. As Director of Digital Operations for the company, Kirsten leads a team in Western Canada focused on supporting asset-intensive clients on their digital journey to their full potential. Kirsten loves what she does and has taken the opportunity to make a positive impact within PwC, as well as the industry at large. At PwC she co-founded the Parents @ PwC network to offer support for new parents returning to work, and she’s been active during the pandemic—working through PwC’s Women’s Inclusion Network to help her female colleagues cope with the unique personal, professional and societal demands they have been facing during the pandemic. When she’s not at work, Kirsten can be found spending time with her partner, two children and fur baby.

Indigenous Reconciliation and Relations

Anne Harding
Owner, Forum Community Relations
2014 YWE Award Winner

Anne has been working as a bridge-builder between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities for the last 17 years. As a self-described “middle class white girl growing up in Calgary”, she was taught what most Canadians born before the year 2000 learned about the history, experiences, and interests of Indigenous Peoples in Canada: not very much. After volunteering with a group of Indigenous youth when she was only 20, Anne’s eyes were opened to the tremendous need and opportunity to build greater understanding and relationships between Indigenous Peoples and Settler Canadians. Her personal, professional, and volunteer endeavours have always connected back to reconciliation. After a dozen years of supporting Indigenous Relations at Suncor, Anne took the leap to a full-time consulting practice that supports individuals and organizations to advance reconciliation and Indigenous inclusion. Anne’s guiding phrase is “when we know better, we want to do better.” Through Forum Community Relations, Anne partners with Indigenous colleagues to deliver learning solutions and strategic advice that help us all to do better as we re-story what it means to be Canadian.

Nicole Wiedman
Indigenous Relations Manager, MEG Energy
2020 YWE Award Winner 

The more she discovers, the more she is driven toward the creation of diverse, inclusive workspaces and communities. Nicole is a lifelong learner who approaches tasks at hand with thoughtful research and analysis. She believes in answering the ‘why’ before taking action and this tactic has served her, and the communities in which she works, well.  At MEG, Nicole is responsible for developing and enhancing key community-company relationships. She manages often-sensitive discussions about critical social and environmental issues, and helps develop solutions that all parties can agree on. She also assists Indigenous communities and businesses to participate in the economic development generated by MEG’s activities. In 2021, Nicole was proud to have led the development of an Indigenous Peoples Policy at MEG which received support from Indigenous communities near MEG’s operations, as well as the support of MEG’s Executives and Board of Directors. As she looks ahead, the energy future that excites Nicole is one in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous people continue to meaningfully advance reconciliation based on shared values.

Gillian Hynes
Director, Indigenous Inclusion and Strategy, Rise Consulting
2019 YWE Award Winner

Gillian is committed to making a positive impact and believes that healthy and sustainable organizations require trust, community, and connection. These beliefs, coupled with her experience with the energy industry and non-profit world are evident as she works to advance an equitable and inclusive workplace for all equity-deserving groups. She connects people to build vibrant communities, explores how innovation can elevate people’s purpose, and develops creative organizational solutions for the energy industry, and beyond. In her current role, she supports the rising presence of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, partnering with corporate Canada to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92. As a settler, Gillian is doing the work to listen, learn, reflect and act in reconciliation. Gillian is the current President of Ask Her YYC, a non-profit advancing inclusion and gender representation in municipal politics. She is also a Coach for the Fora Young Directors Program, mentoring young women across Canada to be effective, confident, and active board members. No matter what she is doing, she believes in being her authentic self in all aspects of her life.

Climate Action, Local and Global

Alice Yu
Engineer, Climate Mitigation, Climate Program, The City of Calgary
2018 YWE Award Winner

Although she was well-recognized in the oil and gas sector for her work developing sustainable practices, Alice believed more could be achieved at the local and community level by broadening networks. She moved from the energy sector to the City of Calgary where she works at the intersection of public, private and academic energy and climate related-sectors. As a catalyst for clean energy and climate mitigation, Alice leads an energy efficiency portfolio worth $45 million with over 80 projects, which have achieved 4,600 kilotons of GHG emissions avoided. In her early career, she was the first woman chair of the Technology for Emissions Reduction and Eco-Efficiency Committee chair and as well as several other industry-efficiency committees. Alice recognizes being the first woman chair was a major achievement, but also considers herself a humble role model in the energy transition. She advises others considering career paths to follow their passions. “Don’t think about the barriers. Just keep doing it.”

Robyn Seetal
Founder and Principal Consultant, IkTaar Sustainability
2020 YWE Award Winner

To read Robyn’s long list of achievements is daunting. Just a few examples include: starting a youth leadership conference while at the University of Calgary; serving as the inaugural co-chair of the Climate and Environment Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community; speaking alongside environmental leaders such as the UN Secretary General, Al Gore, Jane Goodall and Mark Carney; and serving as a founding director of Local Investing YYC. She also founded IkTaar Sustainability where she serves as an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) advisor to energy companies and not-for-profit organizations including The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and the Capitals Coalition. Her drive is fueled by the urgency of climate change and the belief that mitigation efforts need to reach beyond simply reducing GHG emissions. A more complete solution requires holistically addressing global biodiversity loss and the climate crisis while shifting from ego- to eco-centric leadership and creating regenerative business models. And while her commitments and vision keep her busy, she is doing what feels right for her and believes she is exactly where she’s meant to be.

Sustainable Finance

Patrycja Drainville
Associate Director, Sustainable Finance, Scotiabank
2018 YWE Award Winner

Patrycja’s passion for networking and mentorship has set her apart as a sustainability and ESG professional within the Canadian business community. Known for her ability to work across boundaries and connect with diverse teams, she has a strong record of advancing sustainability strategy with medium and large North American energy companies. As Associate Director, Sustainable Finance, Patrycja provides advice and solutions to corporate, finance, public sector, and institutional clients across Scotiabank’s global presence. Her work incorporates sustainability across all capital market activities and aligns financing and investing with sustainability strategy and goals. She is especially excited about the potential of sustainable finance to accelerate corporate ESG performance as companies in the energy sector continue to define their near-term climate ambitions. In addition to her role as Associate Director, Patrycja is a board member of the Canadian Network of the UN Global Compact and has been recognized for her leadership, innovation and community service.

Julia-Maria Becker
Senior Manager, Sustainable Enterprise Operations, RBC Sustainability Group, Royal Bank of Canada
2019 YWE Award Winner

Ambitious targets and advocacy for the clean energy transition are what motivates Julia-Maria. Her expertise in emissions reduction policy and stakeholder engagement strategies have empowered her to accelerate the procurement of renewables, enhance productive conversation about climate change and increase transparency and accessibility of energy information. After four years with the Pembina Institute, Julia-Maria began a new journey with RBC as Manager of Sustainable Business and Operations. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring RBC achieves its Climate Blueprint commitments to use 100% renewable and non-emitting electricity in its operations and reduce operational omissions by 70% by 2025. Outside of this role, she volunteers her time as a board member with Student Energy and chairs its Human Resources Committee, where she works to empower young people to accelerate the sustainable energy transition. Julia-Maria’s leadership and impact have been recognized through awards such as the Clean50 Emerging Leader awards.

The women profiled here are only a handful of the 70+ alumni of the YWE Awards Program. Learn more about all of the women recognized here:

In Western Canada and around the world, the energy sector is rapidly transforming to one that promises to be cleaner, greener and more efficient. Each month, the Canada West Foundation’s Energy Innovation Brief brings you stories about technology innovations happening across the industry—in oil and gas, renewables, energy storage and transmission. If you have an idea for a story, email us at:

The Energy Innovation Brief is compiled by Marla Orenstein and Brendan Cooke. This month’s edition was developed by Katie Smith-Parent and features contributions by the women of YWE. If you like what you see, subscribe to our mailing list and share with a friend. If you have any interesting stories for future editions, please send them to .