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Mary’s Journey…

For the final instalment of our International Women’s Day blogs we’ll be exploring our Senior Energy Price and Risk Analyst, Mary Lavis’ journey, and how she started off as the only girl in her year group to apply for a physics degree, going on to discuss how she balances her career in the energy industry with being a mum to her baby boy, Jonah.

I found my passion for numbers and science fairly late in life – I’d always considered myself to be ‘rubbish’ at maths and I think that’s partially what put me off from even trying. However, something clicked when I was about 15. I was watching ‘Wonders of the Solar System’ and marvelling at Professor Brian Cox managing to make the most complicated processes sound simple. I bought the books of the series and pored through the pages, trying to memorise as many facts about our solar system as possible. I was impressed by how much my interest had been piqued and I was quickly determined to grab this new-found passion and roll with it.

I worked hard and put in the time and it paid off; achieving an unforeseen A* in maths and As in my sciences, I met the requirements to continue on my path – and I’m so glad I did. Through my A Levels, I kept the same momentum going and, despite being the only girl in my year to apply to do Physics as a degree, I secured my place to study Astrophysics at Cardiff University. Though the degree was tough, I persevered and with the help of my friends, many coffee-fuelled late library nights, I secured a first class degree.

Although I knew a job in the world of Astrophysics was unrealistic, through completing my degree I was able to find other areas which interested me, which is how I found myself in the world of analysis and energy.

About a year into my journey at Amber, I found out that I was pregnant. Although this was decidedly a very good thing, I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t had concerns about how it would impact my career path – something which, for the most part, doesn’t affect men as much. Luckily for me, my partner, and my future son, I couldn’t have felt more supported by my manager, my team, and my colleagues. After taking over 6 months off to look after my baby, I felt I was ready and keen to come back to work – and I was welcomed back with open arms. I was able to ease myself back in to work on my terms, and have been fortunate enough to be able to condense my working hours – allowing me to continue to work full time while also spending additional time with my son.

If I could give any words of advice to myself at 15, being warned against following such a ‘difficult’ path, I would say this; keep pushing through, ignore the people who don’t have enough faith in you, and eventually you’ll be able to show that you can make it work and have it all – as cheesy as that sounds!

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