Senior Business Developer
Energy Transition Portal
Katharina Andrés feels passionate about knowledge dissemination. And this is key in making detailed research accessible and readable for decision makers. In her current role as Senior Business Developer at TNO, she works with a team of researchers who carry out techno- and socio-economic research to help policy makers and energy professionals in making solid choices regarding energy transition. In 2019 together with her team, she launched the Energy Transition Portal www.energy.nl where research reports of TNO and others are published. It unlocks the latest research and insights of the Energy Transition to decision makers.
A transition point: moving to The Netherlands
Katharina holds aMSc in Environmental Sciences and Environmental Chemistry at the University of Bayreuth and the University of Bordeaux, and joined the German Federation of Wholesale and Foreign Trade in 2002.
“An important career transition point was when I decided to move to the Netherlands in 2013. I quit my job looking for new challenges. It might have been a bit risky but I consider it as a great gift: I got the opportunity to think about what is important to me using the experience from the first 10 years of my working life.
Here in the Netherlands, I started building up my network, talking to people and finding my way. This led me to TNO Energy Transition which is the perfect match at this moment. In my current role I feel privileged. My work has a positive impact, I enjoy what I do and I am good at it. The energy transition is a huge challenge and to tackle it, we will have to make many choices. I want to contribute by making knowledge and the results of our research available to a broad group of stakeholders. This is a project that I have made myself busy with in the past years and I want to continue expanding it for the time being.”
“The most important career advise I can give is “Be yourself“. In my experience it is important to listen to yourself and take your preferences seriously. A fulfilling job is one that gives you energy rather than costing you energy. I can recall a time early in my career when I was working in an environment dominated by men. I found myself copying male role models! And it took me some time to realize I am even stronger if I use my own strengths with pride rather than trying to be like the others. A fun and good network is extremely important: go out there and talk to people. Contact someone who has an interesting position and ask them for a meeting. You will be surprised how many positive reactions you will receive and how much you will learn about the possibilities out there. Go to those meetings with a growth and learning mindset, however not with the expectation that the only positive outcome of a conversation is a job offer.”
Power of Diversity
“We haven’t faced a challenge like energy transition in the past. Issues are intertwined and there is no blueprint to follow. Innovation and creativity are exactly what we need to tackle this problem. Research shows that diverse teams rank higher on creativity. One dimension of diversity is gender balance. In my opinion, diversity and inclusion goes beyond gender. You can also think of cultural diversity, age and educational background, to name a few. In order to enjoy the benefits of diversity, a team needs a minimum number of different people so that they can feel safe enough to be themselves instead of trying to copy the majority.
If I want to assess gender balance nowadays, I can get frustrated and think it goes too slow. However, I also realize we have made considerable progress in terms of gender equality in less than a century.
Gender balance will not occur automatically. We have to make a dedicated effort and I think it needs to be a common effort by us women, human resources departments, line managers as well as governments. What’s important to me is that we do this in a positive way: it’s not women against men. The purpose is a better situation for all where everybody can be themselves and make the most of their talents.”
A community to promote gender equality
“I noticed the importance of a good and fun network when I moved to the Netherlands. Within 75inQ we share a common goal: we want to actively promote gender equality in the energy sector. We can support each other, learn from each other and share valuable information in order to grow.
When I told my daughter about the community, she was wondering if it is not a discrimination itself to exclude men from our network! Her comment made me think about what I enjoy of this female network and why it empowers me.
I like networking in general. However, at most network events of our sector women are still a minority and that gives you a specific role. What I enjoy about our network is that I am not “the woman in the room” but only me with my ambitions and talents.”