Gunster recently hosted its inaugural Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The event brought together women and men from across the state for two days of keynote addresses and panel discussions about relevant issues facing Florida’s energy industry. Thought leaders, stake holders, industry executives and college students gathered to have a dialogue about the state of the energy industry.
“In highlighting what the energy industry has done to grow Florida’s economy, we hope to inform and inspire the next generation of workforce talent,” said Lila Jaber, past chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) and leader of Gunster’s government affairs law and lobbying practice. “Participants had the unique opportunity to engage in a wide breadth of topics impacting Florida’s energy industry and learn from many women in energy who are leading the way for their companies.”
Keynote speakers included Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette Honorable, who provided a national perspective on issues that impact the Florida energy industry’s capacity and infrastructure needs. Panels covered broad issues that included the challenges and opportunities in the energy industry to meet the growing demand of the third-fastest growing state, while facilitating jobs in today’s energy market.
“The opportunity to meet and engage with other industry peers, many who have been trailblazers in the energy industry, was inspiring,” said Xia Liu, vice president and CFO for Gulf Power. “This is an exciting time in our industry and learning from one another helps us all serve our customers better — today, and in the future.”
Nearly a dozen college students from across the state were invited to attend to learn about the state of the energy industry and to understand the potential it holds for them. Whitney Jacobs, a student at the University of Florida, thought the conference was exceptional.
“Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in the energy industry,” said Jacobs. “However, the Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum showcased that leaders are working to change this situation, and I was honored to be a guest amongst them in Orlando when they discussed strategies for change. In addition to empowering women forward, the event linked female students with potential employers. It opened my eyes to an array of career paths in the energy sector. Without a doubt, my expectations going into the conference were far exceeded.”