Monthly Meets - Meet Kelly | Guernsey Electricity

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Monthly Meets - Meet Kelly

Just in time for International Women In Engineering Day, this month we meet Project Manager Kelly Tavender who gives us an insight into what it's like ensuring our key energy transition projects are a success.

Just in time for International Women In Engineering Day, this month we meet Project Manager Kelly Tavender who gives us an insight into what it's like ensuring our key energy transition projects are a success.

What is your role at Guernsey Electricity and how does it link up with engineering?

"I am a Project Manager here at Guernsey Electricity working alongside four others in our Project Management team. Each Project Manager, manages and controls several major expenditure projects, such as renewing essential electricity network equipment, updating generation equipment at the Vale power station, and upgrade projects to transition our network into the 21st century. These projects are designed to push Guernsey towards a more sustainable future, with electrical energy use at the core."

What other industries have you worked in?

"I started out in the Finance world as a trust administrator when I first left college and although this job was very varied, it didn’t fill me with joy or the level of adventure I wanted.

After realising this, I moved into the motor industry as a booking advisor where I progressed to a gold level service advisor and warranty administrator. Using what I learned, I then side stepped into tyres, helping set up St Martins Tyre Company. Here I learnt to fit tyres as part of my job, something I found really interesting and particularly enjoyed being hands on and more practical.

After 12 years in the motor industry I decided it was time to move on, and transitioned to a Gas Company. While working in the asset management department, I noticed the need for a Project Manager, sparking a desire to become one. 

This gave me the push I needed to apply for a position at Guernsey Electricity where I could train and become a Project Manager.

I chose to work for Guernsey Electricity to get to the heart of working towards a sustainable future. I feel proud knowing my day job is helping us  move towards a net-zero future for the well-being of the planet and all of the inhabitants we share it with. 

I believe it’s important to make big steps to do this, and Guernsey Electricity is focused on making this happen."

What was your dream job growing up? Or what did you want to do when you grew up?

"When I was younger, I was always getting into everything, and my grandparents would often let me dig in their back garden. This prompted me to fully believe I could be an archaeologist and find dinosaurs in the depths of that very garden. Needless to say, I did not find any - and I did not become an archaeologist."

What does a typical day (or week) look like for you?

"No workday is the same for me really. I can sometimes be arranging meetings, organising the teams working on my projects, working with stakeholders to achieve a successful project and sometimes I go out to one of our many substation sites to oversee work there."

What is your proudest achievement so far?

"I am very proud of how far I’ve come within Guernsey Electricity.

I started out as a Project Support Officer and trained through my PRINCE2 qualifications, passed, and eventually moved into the project management team as a Junior Project Manager. With the help and assistance from my team, I progressed to become a fully-fledged Project Manager, and now work alongside my diverse project team."

What is the most unusual thing about your job and how would you describe it to someone who knows nothing about it?

"My job involves working with people from all over the company and external stakeholders. As part of my role, I need to be able to organise and arrange the workings of each individual project with them and see the change through to successful completion."

What does International Women in Engineering Day mean to you?

"International Women in Engineering Day, to me, means showing young women that you don’t have to be an engineer to help make the future more efficient and sustainable."

Read our International Women's Day 'Monthly Meets' feature here.

What advice would you give your younger self?

"No matter what happens, believe in yourself. It’s really difficult, but even when your confidence is knocked, believe in you and you can get it done."

What do you think diversity in the workplace is important?

"In my Project Management team, I work alongside another female colleague and three male colleagues and feel the more diverse a place is, the more options are open.

Diversity brings new ways of working and new ways of thinking."

How does your job help keep the island running?

"I work daily to ensure key projects are controlled, running on time and within budget, helping move towards a more sustainable future for our island. This means we can keep Guernsey running with electrical power, allowing everyone to continue to work and carry on their home lives in comfort without fail."

What woman inspires you the most? And why?

"Marie Curie changed the world by discovering radioactivity, which has created effective cures for some cancers. She is the only person, male or female, ever to receive two Nobel prizes in two different scientific fields. She paid for ground-breaking work with her life."

Bonus question – What women do you like to follow on your social media and why?

"I like to follow women on social media who have created a happy work, family life balance and are thriving in it. It’s great to see us do it all."

Interested in joining our team?

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