Loop Energy Shares Stories of Ingenuity and Resilience to Celebrate International Women’s Day

Tuesday, March 8, marks International Women’s Day, emphasizing challenging gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping. This year’s theme #BreaktheBias is dedicated to raising awareness of how deliberate or unconscious bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead in their careers and lives.

At Loop Energy, we are sharing experiences of some amazing women on our engineering and manufacturing teams to help strive towards gender equality in the workplace and beyond. With the future of hydrogen looking bright, women will play a leading role in the adoption and advancement of Loop’s fuel cell technology. Read the conversation to learn about the experiences and hopes of Lucie Sedlackova (Manufacturing Engineering Manager), Claudette Kennette (Stack Development Manager) and Alexandra Hauser (Electrical and Controls Engineer).

To learn more about International Women’s Day, visit www.internationalwomensday.com

Alexandra Hauser and Lucie Sedlackova assembling a Loop Energy fuel cell module

Why is it important to observe International Women’s Day, and what does it mean to you?

Claudette: It is still important to continue the momentum and progress to one day achieve gender equality in the workplace. I have seen so much change during my career and look forward to when people walk into a meeting and don’t automatically assume the men in the room are the managers, directors, and CEOs. I am hopeful my daughter will one day have a very successful career in STEM.

Lucie: What does it mean to me – well, it means that I look around at the awesome women that I work with, learn from and certainly look up to. I joined Loop several years ago and immediately had incredibly strong female role models – this has been a theme working at Loop from day one. Learning from these women has meant that I have progressed professionally, a lot of that I can attribute to guidance and mentoring that I received, and they are also now my friends, so we drink wine together 😊.

Alexandra: It is important to highlight this day because there is still inequality in the workplace to overcome. I’m fortunate to work in a place that when I speak, I feel heard, but this is not the norm. Collectively, we need to recognize that the challenges and goals for each woman worldwide are unique. By achieving this understanding, we can work to support and empower all women.

What equality-related challenges have you encountered throughout your career? How have you overcome them?

Lucie: Working for a large automotive OEM, I have seen and experienced it all – I have been told that if I wear a dress, I will get more done. I have been inappropriately propositioned, verbally and physically. I had to grow a thicker skin and brush it off. It made it a harder working environment, especially as a new engineer, but it gave me the determination to do well and succeed, especially in a traditionally male-orientated Industry.

Fortunately, since starting at Loop, my experience could not have been more different. I don’t feel that anyone here has less respect for female engineers, and I certainly feel empowered by that.

Claudette Kennette conducting quality control testing

Over time, do you feel the engineering community has evolved to be more inclusive of women? What has been the catalyst for this change?

Claudette: I believe this stems from the programs targeted towards youth and changing people’s attitudes towards girls’ presence in math and sciences. Along with a push by industry to change the hiring practices, including changes to workplace policies and training for staff to understand discrimination and sexism. It was not unusual to be the only female in a meeting with twenty men early in my career. As a result, acceptance of women in STEM, particularly in the male dominated are of mechanical engineering, has improved significantly in Canada.

I look forward to seeing the future for the next generations.

What advice would you share with women aspiring to a career in engineering?

Alexandra: Don’t be afraid to take chances or risks, and certainly don’t be scared to fail. You learn from your mistakes, and that is what makes you stronger. Be confident in your ability – you get to decide who you want to be, no one else. So, work hard, have fun, and find your passion. It’s also important to remember you aren’t alone, build a support system of trusted mentors, peers, friends, and family, so you can lean on the people in your corner when you face adversity.

What opportunities do you think the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technology will provide women in the years to come?

Claudette: I am hoping women will have all the same opportunities provided to men 😊. As an emerging market, the roles and positions are less traditional therefore, there is less bias to overcome, which means fewer roadblocks.

Lucie: The same as any other growing industry – more opportunity. At least here in Vancouver, I’m not sure if it’s a hydrogen fuel cell specific trend or just the West Coast lens, but there seems to be more equality in engineering disciplines overall, which is great. The advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technology will benefit everyone, but it’s an excellent opportunity for women to get into the green tech industry and push it forward.

Alexandra: This is a growing industry, with lots of opportunities for advancement since a lot of the work we are doing right now isn’t standardized and hasn’t been done the same way for the last hundred years. We can step away from the attitude of ‘this is how it’s always been done’, so there is the chance for diverse input.

Lucie Sedlackova testing bipolar plates

Loop Energy would like to thank all the women who contribute to the advancement of its hydrogen fuel cell technology and helping it become a leader in the global clean energy transition.