“We realised that we weren’t even providing ourselves the opportunities that women like Amreen (one of our sales people) needed to continue to develop as leaders.”

It’s always difficult to face your own shortcomings. When Alexie Seller, CEO of Pollinate Energy looked around the room during a team meeting in early 2017 and realised she was the only woman at the table, she knew something had to change.

That change started with Alexie’s acceptance of her own bias and recognition of the cultural barriers that were keeping women from thriving at her company. Ready to learn from failure, Alexie and her team set out to collectively change this. In addition to reporting on sales, the team started reporting on how many female Pollinators they recruited. They sought out other last-mile distributors who could help champion women’s empowerment and leadership initiatives, and merged with us at Empower Generation in Nepal.

Together, we set a goal to recruit, train and support 1000 women to join our distribution network in the next two years and have at least 60% female representation at all levels of our organization. The company in India made changes to become a more inclusive workplace for women, by restructuring to allow for Pollinators and operational employees to take out education loans for their children’s tuition and have access to the national health insurance plan.

These changes and integration of diversity goals into our KPIs are incredibly important to make for the organizations we work for and run. It is this kind of relentless focus on our culture, on inclusion, on gender equality that will ensure we achieve our target of providing meaningful work and life-improving products and services to a million people by 2020.

Watch Alexie’s talk about the importance of equal representation of women in the last-mile distribution sector, and specifically in leadership positions, at the European Project Drawdown Launch in Berlin during the international Energy Transition Dialogue 2018.

Pollinate Energy was a finalist in the SDG 7 category at this year’s Start Up Energy Transition Awards, facilitated by DENA, the German Energy Agency. Read the interview with Alexie at the awards here.