Company’s management team supports employee resource group to drive greater diversity, equity and inclusion in cleantech
Beyond the moral imperative to include more women in the growing clean energy economy, countless studies have proven that more diverse staff directly supports companies’ bottom lines. According to McKinsey & Company, companies with greater gender diversity are 25 percent more likely to outperform their less diverse competitors, and executive teams with greater ethnic diversity are 36 percent more likely to outperform their less diverse competitors. This Women’s History Month, CS Energy is proud to announce that two years after several women staff members founded CS Energy Women in Renewable Energy (CS Energy WiRE), an employee resource group, the company has successfully increased its female staff by 70 percent and has reached 50 percent C-Suite women.
In order to accomplish this, CS Energy’s executive management team and internal and external recruiters had to work closely with CS Energy WiRE, including through supporting its myriad events and outreach efforts. Since Diana Palazzi Mery, Janani Ramkumar and Dawn Robinson formed CS Energy WiRE back in the spring of 2020, CS Energy WiRE has hosted a slew of internal and external events in order to conduct outreach to more diverse candidate pools as well to support the growth and development of women at CS Energy. Some of these events include:
“We are very proud of the external outreach and internal networking we have been able to facilitate since we founded CS Energy WiRE,” said Dawn Robinson, Vice President of Human Resources at CS Energy. “CS Energy WiRE has worked very closely with our Human Resources department and our recruiters, as we would not have been able to achieve such strong growth in our female staff if it weren’t for these highly intentional and focused events and initiatives.”
“We were thrilled when the concept of CS Energy WiRE was initially brought to us, as we have learned firsthand the value of having diverse perspectives on our team,” said Matthew Skidmore, CEO of CS Energy. “Diverse voices are a must-have for any company, and CS Energy WiRE has played a key role in helping us thoughtfully grow our team and our business since its implementation. We look forward to watching CS Energy WiRE continue to grow and develop.”
CS Energy’s executive leadership team has also encouraged men to participate in CS Energy WiRE events. For example, male leaders at the company, such as Kevin Magayah, Executive Vice President of Business Development, have spoken on panels for some of the events CS Energy WiRE has hosted in order to encourage more women to pursue STEM careers, particularly in cleantech.
In addition to the networking and outreach events over the past two years, CS Energy’s executive team has also been supportive of CS Energy WiRE’s other diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ)-related initiatives, including its internal mentorship program, and promotional and company-sponsored one-on-one executive coaching opportunities for more women staff members. According to the Harvard Business Review, when men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programs, 96 percent of organizations see progress – compared to only 30 percent of organizations where men are not engaged.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Executive and Senior Management leaders who have been very supportive of CS Energy WiRE from the outset,” said Diana Palazzi Mery, Chief Financial Officer at CS Energy. “On a personal level, Matt has also been instrumental in my career, as he has always made sure to give me a seat at the table as well as space to try, to fail, to succeed and to ultimately grow.”
This year so far, CS Energy promoted eleven women into higher level roles. While promotions at CS Energy are still based wholly on merit, rather than gender, CS Energy has worked closely with CS Energy WiRE to ensure that high performing women are considered for promotions as often as high performing men. Similarly, CS Energy has also made a concerted effort to make sure that high performing women are also provided with the same executive coaching opportunities as their high performing male colleagues.
“I’m very thankful to work for a company like CS Energy that has made sure I have the same executive coaching and promotional opportunities as the male staff at our company,” said Janani Ramkumar, Vice President of Preconstruction. “I also felt much more supported by CS Energy’s leadership team when I went out on maternity leave; I didn’t feel discriminated against whatsoever, and in fact, I received a promotion shortly after my leave as a result of my performance prior to taking my leave.”
While CS Energy WiRE has worked closely with CS Energy’s executive leadership team to enable CS Energy to achieve remarkable DEIJ results in challenging circumstances, including throughout the pandemic, CS Energy WiRE has many plans for the future to build upon this momentum. From future charity events, to hosting guest speakers, to internal team building events, CS Energy WiRE seeks to continue to facilitate a more inclusive and supportive workplace for women of all backgrounds throughout 2022. CS Energy WiRE also aims to continue to increase overall representation of women within CS Energy’s larger staff, as well as its senior staff, in addition to supporting more women who aspire to join the solar energy industry this year.