Female Pioneers: We commemorate International Women's Day by highlighting the experience of 6 women leaders in the energy sector

Published on Wednesday, 8 March 2023

“Electricity is a fairly male-dominated line of business. Even though the company has a lot of guidelines regarding gender equity, from a social perspective in Chile, few women venture to study Electrical Civil Engineering”

– Denisse Cancino, Head of Network Operation of Enel Distribución.

With 17 years of experience as an engineer, Denisse is optimistic about the future of women in the energy industry and proud of the progress made through the support network forged among the women who work for Enel in Chile. Women can discuss all interests within this space, from motherhood to investment and business opportunities.

Shedding the male costume to lead work teams

Among the different visions surrounding female leadership, Claudia Peña and Claudia Navarrete agree that there was an attempt to masculinize women in the workspace for years. However, they recognize that this has changed recently and reflects positively in their teams' results.

After 12 years with Enel and leaving her hometown of Iquique, Claudia Peña says she was selected to participate in the company's women leaders program. It reaffirmed her goal to occupy more spaces and play different roles without the need to "masculinize" the way she did her job.

“Gender barriers are being torn down, first because the company is giving us the opportunity and visibility and not just because we are women. We are professionals, many of us are mothers, and we have a strength that does make a difference”

– Claudia Peña, Head of e-Bus & Smart Transport Services for Enel X.

Claudia Navarrete, Planning and Finance Control Manager for Enel Chile, joined the company in 1998 and has always felt welcome. She says she has always felt like her opinion is just as valid as any man. But, she points out, female leadership achieves a different kind of closeness.

“I’m worth just as much as any man who works here, and that's how I’ve faced this male-dominated world. Besides, Enel is always offering us opportunities.”

– Claudia Navarrete, Planning and Finance Control Manager for Enel Chile.

While women have always been present in work done by Enel's different areas, it is currently reaffirming its commitment to the paradigm shift. Lawyer Natalia Fernández, Head of Legal Affairs de Enel Generación, sees it as the first woman to hold her position within the company.

“During my 11 years with the company, I have worked with many very hard-working, meticulous, and outstanding women at their jobs. Recently, those valuable women have been allowed to hold positions better suited to their abilities and assume greater responsibility.”

– Natalia Fernández, Head of Legal Affairs for Enel Generación.

Human, honest, and humble leadership

Esmeralda Palatnic has nine years of experience within the Enel Group. She was transferred to Enel Green Power México, where she recognized that her career took off as a professional in a society different from the one she was used to in Chile. Today, Esmeralda is responsible for the Campos del Sol construction project in the Atacama Region.

“I feel like a visionary and aligned, exercising a human, honest, and humble leadership. Studies now show how we're moving towards a new world, and I'm proud to be an ambassador for it”

– Esmeralda Palatnic, Project Execution Manager for Enel Green Power.

Another interesting testimony is that of Marcela Díaz, Marketing and Sales Sr. Specialist for Enel X Way, who affirms that there are still a lot of changes to be made in how we lead teams. During her experience in the company, she has been part of different instances in gender issues within the WIL (Woman Innovation Lab) program and the Women's Empowerment and Leadership Program, which she confesses has been a boost to empower her as a leader in the electromobility field. Marcela adds that in order to move forward it is necessary to continue working in an integrated manner with men and women, reducing biases, stereotypes and other gender barriers.

These experiences confirm that the company's gender equality efforts in recruitment processes, professional development support, increasing the number of women in leadership roles, and inclusion within the different boards of directors have opened up new paths to drive and increase women's participation.

"We come together in our commitment to an overarching effort, as a team, passionately pushing to promote a culture of respect, free of discrimination, valuing talent and the uniqueness of each person. We aim to guarantee a constant balance between our work and personal lives, especially accompanying motherhood in a strategic, highly technical, and still very masculine industry." Camila Galvez, Head of Empowerment - People & Organization de Enel Chile.