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Women’s History Month Employee Spotlight: Kirsten Rota

LevelTen News
March 22, 2024

Kirsten Rota is Director of the Energy Scholars Mentorship Program at LevelTen Energy. In honor of Women’s History Month, and celebrating the amazing women of LevelTen, Kirsten shared her career journey, her best advice, the importance of friends at work, and more!

Can you share a brief overview of your career journey and how you arrived at your current role?

I started my career in investment banking. I moved into account management and sales and then into recruitment, and career counseling and DEI.

What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?

My father ran an organization which helped minority and women owned businesses compete for public works contracts. He would get so involved with his members. They loved him. I watched how he really helped people, not just financially, but psychologically. He made a difference, and that is what I wanted to do.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud that I've kept in touch with so many people. Someone once told me that of all the things you'll possess, the collection you should care about the most, is hearts. Be a collector of hearts.

Can you share a challenge you faced professionally and how you overcame it? 

Changing industries as a recruiter was very difficult. I went from recruiting for IT specifically around trading systems. I moved into insurance, and it was like learning a new language. The worst part was the shortcuts. People are quick to use acronyms, but they rarely define them and quickly assume everyone knows what they are talking about. It's shorthand to them – but to new people, it's exclusionary. I would go to work everyday with an insurance dictionary. I would write down words or terms I didn't understand, and look them up at the end of the day. I had so many a-ha moments because I understood more than I thought. There was one term I never found because I didn't realize it was an acronym. People said it all of the time, quickly, and everyone else understood. I kept looking for different spellings  – nothing. Finally I realized that "peancy" was P and C – property and casualty. I learned that you can be self-sufficient, but sometimes it's best to just ask. What is obvious to one person, may not make any sense to someone brand new. Always consider those who are new, and how hard it is to be new to a place.

How do you approach mentorship or supporting other women in the workplace?

I try to make sure that other women know how appreciated they are. I have been lucky to work with some amazing women in my career. I have learned that so much of language comes from body language, and people's general perception of you. Someone can feel as though you don't like them, or value them, so it's important to be specific and give compliments when you can. A heartfelt observation can give someone a new perspective on themselves. You can show someone their value, but being direct about what you value. I try to do that in my life, and at work. I am always sincere. I try to tell people what I think – especially when it's positive.

Looking back on your career, what advice do you wish you had received earlier?

The best advice I've received is from my mother. She always told me to take everything from whence it comes. When you hear advice that you question, it's okay to disagree with its application to your situation. When you hear something that feels negative from someone who is not typically negative, question what you are hearing, and make sure that it matches what they are saying, and their intentions. Often we hear what we want, and are not open to positivity. In those moments, it's hard to hear anything but the negative. That's when it's time to go for a walk, or listen to music, or have a coffee. When you actually hear something negative, is it a person who is trying to help you? Is what they are saying true? Are you being honest with yourself? If you respect the person, you can assume they have made a valid assessment of you, and it may be time to change something. That's okay. We aren't born knowing it all. We actually have to remain open to learning, even about ourselves.

How do you think companies can best celebrate and support women in the workplace during Women’s History Month and beyond?

This is an interesting question. Allyship definitely helps. Checking in with women to see how they are doing is also helpful and more personal. Feeling seen and understood is important. One person in an organization can change how you feel about the entire place. Studies show (no idea where I picked up this statistic) that 80% of people who are not interested in leaving their job are content because they have at least one good friend, or a best friend where they work. It is harder to form these friendships as adults because our lives become more hectic and compartmentalized. Stretch yourself. There are friendships to be made, and memories to foster. Be a friend. Reach out to someone new. Accept an invitation. Let yourself be happily surprised.

LevelTen Energy

LevelTen Energy is the leading provider of renewable transaction infrastructure, delivering the marketplaces, software, automated analytics, and expertise required to accelerate clean energy transactions. The LevelTen Platform is the world’s largest online hub for renewable energy buyers, sellers, advisors, asset owners and financiers. The Platform includes the LevelTen Energy Marketplace, which delivers access to more than 4,500 power purchase agreement price offers spanning 28 countries in North America and Europe. It also includes the LevelTen Asset Marketplace, which brings together over 800 renewable energy project developers and owners, and delivers the online tools and expertise they need to buy, sell and finance assets quickly. Together, LevelTen and its partners share #OneGoal to accelerate the energy transition.

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