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Fiona’s Journey…

At Amber, we’re lucky to be able to work with some of the brightest minds in our industry. To bring light to some of our team’s journeys, this International Women’s Day we’re celebrating some of our inspirational women’s careers and how they got to where they are today.

Fiona Harvey is one of our Net Zero Consultant’s here at Amber and was the only woman to pilot the first Net Zero and Sustainability style program at Edinburgh University. Since then she’s won numerous awards for her work in the sustainability space, and has proved herself to be a trailblazer for women in this field. We’re very lucky to benefit from her knowledge here at Amber, and we’ve chosen her as one of the first stories to celebrate this International Women’s Day.

Here’s Fiona’s story…

My key message is, don’t be scared to be the first, be proud! 

My passion started at age 6 after watching a documentary which left me in tears. No one around me appeared to be taking any action, so what was I going to do? Well, I started by setting up paper recycling in primary school. I wrote to the headmistress, I recently got a copy of the letter, identifying the problem and potential solutions. I started to understand the impact that one person can have. Fast forward to 2008 when I was applying to Universities, Net Zero and Sustainability did not exist in the educational sphere yet. I was very fortunate to be one of 5 selected (the only woman) to pilot the first program at the University of Edinburgh where they essentially let me loose. I could pick any courses, from any school as long as I could justify why it related. This breadth of learning gave me a really solid basis for understanding everything from data science, environmental science, sociology, and business. 

My next move was to get experience, but with no internships and almost no companies yet engaging in Sustainability I decided to create a 2-month program which I could deliver over a summer to demonstrate the cost and environmental benefits. I pitched it to a number of companies until one said yes! I was the only woman in the department of thirty men, all of whom were certainly a decade older, and the vast majority several. There were a lot of social challenges in getting my voice heard, and yes I was asked to make the tea far too many times, but I was determined to prove what I could offer. Over the 2-month period, I identified and delivered annual savings of £50,000 from solely no-cost solutions. I developed a presentation and report to the CEO detailing why they needed this role permanently almost entirely from a financial standing but also in developing myself and the organisation as a thought leader. I went on to win several national awards and present across the country, engaging businesses to take action. 

As a woman in this space, you may often be the only one in the room. You therefore have a unique perspective, use that to your advantage. Climate change disproportionately impacts women and it is so crucial our voices are heard and lead the change. Be the first. Be brave. Be proud. 

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