To celebrate Women’s History Month, we are proud to celebrate one of Invenergy’s longest-standing industry association partners, Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, or WRISE. WRISE is a network of sustainable energy professionals dedicated to promoting the education, professional development, and advancement of women.

WRISE was founded in 2005 and was initially called WoWE, or Women of Wind Energy. Today, WRISE has a grassroots network of nearly 15,000 members and hosts workshops, webinars, and programming through its local chapters and alongside industry events each year. Some of the organization’s most important projects are its annual Wind Power and Solar Power Fellowships, which provide individuals (particularly women and other marginalized genders) with the opportunity to attend annual industry conferences and trade shows.

WRISE is dedicated to building a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse energy sector and has had working sessions for diversity champions to learn about the status of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) efforts, share resources and expertise alongside partner organizations. WRISE Executive Director Kristen Graf notes, “The renewable energy and sustainability sector has made dramatic advancements in recent years and yet we are still at the tip of the iceberg and have a great deal of work ahead of us. Our hope is to ensure that each organization is not reinventing that work. There are incredible experts, resources, and best practices that are already known – we want to be sure our partners have access to all they need to be successful in their DEIJ efforts.”

Invenergy began our partnership with the organization in 2007 and Invenergy team members helped found the Chicago Chapter of WRISE in 2010. Several Invenergy colleagues have spoken at WRISE events since then and have hosted a variety of fundraisers for WRISE and its fellowship programs.

“Events that highlight women engineers and help raise money to fund internships for women rising in their field really resonate with members,” says Vice President of International Finance, Rolanda Shine. Rolanda started out on the WRISE Chicago Chapter’s Ongoing Education subcommittee and eventually joined the Fundraising subcommittee. “Everyone who came to the meetings and signed up to the subcommittees was excited to be there and welcoming.”

Director of Renewable Engineering, Emily Paice, began attending WRISE meetings early in her career and ultimately served on WRISE Chicago Chapter’s board of directors from 2017 to 2019. “There is certainly still a need for groups that provide a platform for women in the industry,” she says, “and it’s been great to see how WRISE has grown its efforts to provide this. WRISE is one of the most accessible of the industry groups, an approachable network of people whose ambitions are directly applicable to the work we do at Invenergy.”

WRISE also influenced the development and scope of the Invenergy Women’s Network, whose annual awards and fundraising efforts are dedicated to the advancement of women in renewables. “We felt it was really important to recognize the impact women are having on the industry, and we thought WRISE’s annual Woman of the Year, Rising Star, and Champion awards would be great accolades to introduce at Invenergy,” says Senior Vice President of Global Risk, Andrea Hoffman. The WRISE annual awards have been discontinued, however, Invenergy’s IWN Awards are still awarded each year within the organization.

Invenergy is proud to champion the work being done by WRISE and encourages women from all disciplines to consider a rewarding career in the sustainable energy sector. Learn more about Invenergy’s Impact partnerships at www.invenergyimpact.com