Skip to main content
Home » Women in STEM » A powerful reason to work in energy

Doireann Barry

Head of IT Strategy & Emerging Technology, EirGrid

Sheila Nolan

Senior Lead Engineer, EirGrid

The changing face of the energy industry affects everyone. These two women are playing an active role in this transformation.

Ireland’s energy sector is going through a period of unprecedented change and EirGrid, the company that runs the national electricity grid, is at its forefront.

Through its strategy, “transforming the power system for future generations,” the company is enabling a fundamental shift to clean, renewable electricity. Specifically, its goal is to change the power system so that at least 70% of electricity consumption in Ireland comes from renewable sources by 2030.

This transformation involves opportunities for women who would like to work in STEM. Doireann Barry, Head of IT Strategy & Emerging Technology, and Sheila Nolan, Senior Lead Engineer, Future Markets, both work at EirGrid in Dublin, which has a strong commitment to attracting females to join the group. 

Doireann says: “EirGrid has a history and culture of enabling women and I have had strong role models all around me throughout my career. In my current role as a head of function in IT, I help to incubate cutting-edge new technologies and shape our digital vision and strategy, so our employees are enabled to deliver innovative solutions to achieve our business ambitions.”

Doireann has worked in the engineering sector for over 20 years. At EirGrid she has taken part in initiatives to support women, acting as a mentor and championing International Women’s Day events. The company also seeks to help its female employees through a range of initiatives, including education support and family friendly initiatives that enable females to balance their work and home lives.

Qualities needed to work in STEM

Sheila has also worked in STEM for years and has a very clear view on the qualities needed. “To succeed it is critical to be able to think logically, to work with numbers and make decisions based on data, as well as the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively,” she says.

“If a person has those qualities, there are huge opportunities,” she says. “It is hugely exciting to be involved in the energy sector at the moment, particularly with the significant transition that is underway from fossil fuels to renewables,” she says. “My main role at the moment is very forward looking, with clear focus on 2030, studying the power system of the future.”

It is hugely exciting to be involved in the energy sector at the moment, particularly with the significant transition that is underway from fossil fuels to renewables.

So, what advice would she give women entering the field? “The same to women and men,” she says. “Think about your interests in school and your extra-curricular and try to marry the two. Then remember that STEM skills are inherently transferable and, wherever and however you start, it is the skillsets that you develop that are important and they are what will open up a huge number of opportunities. You will not be confined to one specific role, but doors will open where you can make an impact and create meaningful change.”

Next article