Louise Phelan, CEO Phelan Energy Group

22nd June 2020

This week Louise Phelan, CEO of Phelan Energy Group and WMB Diversity Ambassador talks about the need to ‘pivot to survive and thrive’ where resilience is that all important ingredient!

Please describe your role at Phelan Energy Group.

I’m Chief Executive Officer of Phelan Energy Group.  Phelan Energy Group is a world leading private solar IPP and innovator in PV solar energy and battery storage, specialising in the low cost, high quality solutions.  Our mission is to be the leading low-cost electricity producer globally.

Can you put into context, the size and scope of Phelan Energy for our readers?

Phelan Energy Group is seen as one of the most successful privately owner solar energy developers worldwide, with a core success in low cost deployment. We are active, with international offices, in many locations around the world.  All our investments have government backed contracts feeding solar energy into the grid, in South Africa, India and now in Afghanistan. This has given us clear insight into the opportunity of the Climate Crisis and the viability and sustainability of renewable energy and that is a key component in terms of a Zero Carbon city. It is a successful business and we has generated profits of over €150m in past five years with no corporate debt.

As a WMB Magazine Diversity Ambassador, how important is it to have role models?

In my view it is extremely important to have a role model – we all need somebody to hold up the mirror and give open and honest feedback.

As a woman in a leadership role, do you believe it is your responsibility to lead by example and encourage other women to reach their full potential?

Absolutely, it is up to women in leadership to lead by example and encourage others. Women need to get support from other women to build their confidence so they can reach their potential.

Do you think the positive ground gained in diversity & inclusion might be eroded during this crisis?

No. I believe that diversity and inclusion is about having a voice at the table and I think through this crisis everyone has had a voice trying to charter new waters.

Do you believe remote working, and in a lot of cases, reduced working hours will allow working mothers more flexibility into the future?

I believe that remote working will allow working parents more flexibility. I believe the working day will not reduce but I believe the flexibility will provide better productivity and better work life balance.

How have you had to adjust your way of working in recent months?

I believe everyone has had to adjust the way they work in recent months – I believe it to be the new norm.  We need to support our employers and employees so that we have mutual benefit on remote work and how we deliver on outputs as opposed to face time.

Has it all been challenging or are there ‘silver linings’?

Change has always caused challenges and opportunities and I believe we have to manage the challenges and look for the opportunity in every crisis. There are many silver linings and we need to ensure we all benefit to the greater good of Ireland inc. and our people.

As a leading businessperson, what advice would you offer to those who are unsure of what their futures hold?

I think coming out of Pandemic we need to pivot to survive and thrive.  I think the critical things we need to think about are – how do we recover from the pandemic? As an individual, how do we ensure that we stay resilient and how do we reimagine ourselves to take us forward?

Can you share one important lesson/observation you have made in recent months?

The most important lesson is to be resilient.  You can bend but you cannot break!.