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Say yes, take risks! Women receive tips on how to succeed in male dominated industries as a part of diversity week

Computer screen with an image of Laurie Wiegand-Jackson conducting a seminar.

Laurie Wiegand-Jackson conducts her Zoom seminar "How to navigate and be successful in a male-dominated industry" as a part of WVU Diversity Week.


Laurie Wiegand-Jackson, president and founder of Utility Advantage, presented “How to navigate and be successful in a male dominated industry,” on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The seminar was hosted online by the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources as part of West Virginia University’s Diversity Week.

Wiegand-Jackson has an active 35-year career in the energy business and is a prominent voice in the promotion of women’s professional advancement in the energy industry. With her personal experience in mind, she shared ten tips for surviving and thriving in any male dominated industry.

“So many women hold themselves back out of fear that they are not good enough, but we just have to get past the preconceived notions and say yes,” Wiegand-Jackson said. “We learn a lot about ourselves when we’re willing to take risks. It pushes us to another level of performance.”

Wiegand-Jackson is also the Founder and Board Chair of the Council for Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL). Developed within the International Association of Energy Engineers, its purpose is to promote the professional development and advancement of women in the energy industry. 

Following the lecture, viewers and listeners had the opportunity to discuss the seminar in virtual breakout rooms and ask questions.

“Saying yes and volunteering is my favorite tip being a female in engineering,” said Abigail Osborne, the current president of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at WVU. “I always tell other girls not to be afraid to make mistakes and go for it.”

Senior mining engineering student Victor Valencia asked what he could do as a male in the industry to help support women in the field. Wiegand-Jackson responded by saying, “What men can do to help women in the industry is to treat women with respect and listen. There are ways you can advocate for women by intervening and respecting their positions.”

Wiegand-Jackson received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from WVU in 1984. She currently serves as chair of the energy/environment focus group for SMART, a United States Congressional initiative designed to support research, development and technology-based opportunities in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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