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Carmen Urízar: meet the Director of the Central American Women in Energy Initiative


Carmen Urízar is the Director of the Central American Women in Energy Initiative (Iniciativa de Mujeres en Energía de Centroamérica, IMEC, by its Spanish translation). She is a strong, empowered woman, one of the leaders that attended the Political Leadership - Female Edition bootcamp of the FNF International Academy where we had the chance to discuss about her important work.



Tell us a few things about the 'Iniciativa de Mujeres en Energía de Centroamérica'


The Central American Women in Energy Initiative (www.imec.page) is a project based in Guatemala but whose scope reaches all six Central American countries. The initiative began in 2016, with the objective to connect and support the careers of professional women in the energy industry in Central America. This is achieved through opportunities where women can meet other professional women and leaders working in this industry.


Through IMEC, professional women will be able to:

· Develop collaborative networks between members and institutions,

· Train in relevant areas in the field of energy and development,

· Access training and knowledge programs,

· Achieve empowerment in the issues women face in the field of energy.


What are the challenges that you face in the organization?


At this moment, the biggest challenge we face is how to grow in a sustainable manner, since most of the people collaborating with IMEC do so on the basis of volunteering, so the time that everyone can offer for conducting all activities, or getting involved in some activities, is very limited. If we want to grow, we need to hire professionals who dedicate their time to specific projects, who follow up, and who ensure that they are implemented.


What are the most important things that you would like people to know about the organization.


I would like people to know that at IMEC, the female leaderships of Central America are represented. Here we met engineers, economists, financiers, sociologists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and investors, among others, who are currently in charge of the decision making of very important projects in Central America, but there are also young professionals eager to learn from these leaderships, and who want to be included in the changes that our region needs in the energy transition that the world is facing.


IMEC is where female leaders in energy in Central America meet, offering opportunities for networking, to strengthen relationships and ways to influence, to train, and to teach and learn from others, through our mentoring programs. It is an initiative built to help women among other women, and men who believe in the potential of women, to reach decision-making positions in both the public and private sectors.


What is your own personal approach to leadership and bringing about change?


It seems to me that leadership can be exercised in many ways. Personally, I like to involve people in the search for solutions, to involve them and make them feel a sense of belonging to the processes in which we are involved. To achieve that team feeling and to generate positive attitudes by example. I believe that, as they say, example is more powerful than words.


Can empathy be a successful way for people to explore their inner self as well?


Definitely yes. I think empathy is a successful and effective way to explore our own interior, since it allows one to relate to other people with ease, and pleasure, and being important to the relationships with others to maintain a balance in their emotional state of life.


What advice would you give to the women that would like to try some of the things you do?


I would tell them that women can be like energy in the sense of using our ability to transform the situations or realities we wish to change. The world needs so many changes and solve so many challenges, so I would invite them to get more and more involved in spaces that allow them to demonstrate what they can do, that we should not be afraid to execute great things, because only by doing we will know if we are able to do it.


I believe that female leadership becomes fundamental in current times because women have qualities and skills that are more developed in the genre such as creativity, negotiation skills, tolerance, flexibility, the ability to think and address many issues at once, and all this complements the male leadership that has prevailed in the energy sector, and undoubtedly between the two not only complement each other, but enrich the possibilities of generating better solutions.


What will your next project be?


I have several projects in mind. We want to continue growing the network of women leaders, incorporating more and more professionals in the region, but that in turn, this initiative could manage to connect us with similar initiatives in other regions, to the North with Mexico, USA and Canada, and to South America. But also, with networks in Europe, Asia and Africa and other sectors. Today, there are similar initiatives in sectors such as mining, with which energy has a very important link for the energy transition. So, we are interested in working on these networks as well.

We are also interested in getting involved in specific projects, and help to achieve the objectives that some national programs or plans are working on, such as rural electrification, energy efficiency, electromobility, recycling, and others.


Where can we find you?


You can find me in LinkedIn