NEWS & INSIGHT | Opinion
International Women in Engineering Day: #ImaginetheFuture
Colette Cohen OBE
Colette Cohen is the Chief Executive Officer for The Net Zero Technology Centre and has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 25 years. Colette successfully launched The Centre in 2017 and has established it as the ‘go to’ technology centre for the industry. Since starting her career offshore with bp in 1991, Colette has worked for ConocoPhillips in the North Sea, Norway, the US and Kazakhstan, where she received a Jubilee Medal from the Kazakh Prime Minister in recognition of her contribution to the country’s oil and gas industry. Prior to joining the centre, she was Senior Vice President for Centrica Energy’s Exploration and Production business in the UK and The Netherlands.
Colette has previously served on the board of Offshore Energies UK and the OGA Decommissioning Board. She is now the Chair of the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas and unmanned aviation firm Flylogix, sits on the Technology Leadership Board, the National Strategy for Economic Transformation Delivery Board, the Deep Ocean Board and is a Non-Executive Director for both OPITO and NORECO. She is also a Commissioner for the Just Transition Commission for Scotland, an active champion for the industrial transition of the oil and gas industry to a net zero future and a committed role model for women in industry.
In October 2021, Colette was nominated for appointment as a non-executive director for Technip Energies, acting as an observer at the meetings of the Board of Directors until after the company’s 2022 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.
Colette is a chemistry graduate from Queens University Belfast, has a Masters in Project Management and Economics from Ceram University, an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen, and is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Institute of Directors.
In 1921 Edith Clarke invented the Clarke Calculator which revolutionised graphing for electrical properties and made her the first female engineer. Since then, Patricia Bath developed the Laser-Phaco Probe, an advancement in laser technology to cure cataracts, Mary Winter Jackson, became the first African-American female to work as an aeronautical engineer for NASA, Ada Lovelace became the very first computer programmer, Yvonne C. Brill invented the fuel-efficient rocket thruster that keeps satellites in orbit today, Mary Kendrick led team working on the Thames Barrier, and Marissa Mayer has gone from creating yahoo to working on artificial intelligence… I could go on…
Inspiring women, each with trailblazing solutions, who entered the profession of engineering at a time when opportunities for women were limited.
As innovation becomes crucial to solve our world’s biggest challenges, we need more women to take their seat at the table.
Even with a history of female innovation, in 2022, we are faced with the fact that only 16.5% of engineers are women. Maybe because we have not celebrated that rich history of female innovators enough. Not made these trailblazers household names. We need to demystify engineering for women. Make it open to every curious mind, every person who loves to solve a problem or make the world a better place.
That is what engineers do.
So, as we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day 2022, giving centre stage to those who have, and those that will pave the way for the next generation of female innovators… let’s imagine the future.
A future that has been made possible by the inspirational women that have come before us but will be made amazing by the women working today, the students studying today….you. A future that celebrates female engineering role-models and makes a conscious effort to give them a platform, make them visible, so the next generation can see the real and exciting possibilities out there. A future that is free of bias and harnesses the wide range of benefits that comes with diversity of thought. And not just for a more efficient workforce, but for a society that lets everyone use their voice and take that first step to success.
That’s a future that sounds powerful. And we need to make it a reality.
Today, I’m taking a moment to recognise the women I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with during my career. Individuals who have demonstrated tenacity, grit and ingenuity. And I’d ask YOU to do the same… make them known. Tell your children, inspire the next generation to join us in solving the worlds biggest and smallest challenges.
#ImaginetheFuture #HelloFuture #InspiringOthers #INWED2022
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