The new year is well on its way! But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about 2016 just yet. And for us here at BE-Ex, the WISE (Women in Sustainability and Energy) Holiday Party was definitely a 2016 highlight.

On December 19, 65+ people gathered in our Lighting the Future exhibit room to eat, drink, and celebrate women’s leadership in the sustainability and energy fields. As a special addition, we heard from some of the women who work for the organizations and companies that sponsored WISE this past year.

Lindsay O’Neill-Caffrey, from Gotham360, explained how meaningful it is for Gotham360, a woman-owned business, to be able to support an initiative like WISE. She noted that it feels especially important to cultivate a community of women professionals after the 2016 election, a time when it felt and continues to feel like women’s rights and safety are too often forgotten or ignored.

Vicki Kuo, the Director of Energy Efficiency Demand Management at ConEd and a BE-Ex board member, told the best story of the night. She shared that it was actually at a WISE event in March 2015 that she met a young woman who, soon after, she hired for a position at ConEd!

Vanessa Ulmer, of NYSERDA, spoke specifically about the role she believes women will play in bringing REV (Reinventing the Energy Vision), New York State’s comprehensive energy strategy, to fruition. Women tend to thrive at bringing people together and synthesizing information. Both of which are skills that will be absolutely crucial as we work to innovate our energy system and empower consumers to make more informed energy choices.

Kit Kennedy, representing NRDC, spoke more directly about the influence of the 2016 presidential election. She generously shared her post election mantra with the room. Resist. Recharge. Redirect. Resist unjust and backward-thinking policies, make sure to take time to personally recharge, and continue to fight for progress and justice.

Here at BE-Ex we are definitely taking this to heart as we continue to work hard to create a more sustainable New York City in 2017.

Check out photos from the WISE 2016 Holiday Party here.

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