All my professional career I have been working in the field of renewable energy addressing climate change.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering I ended up working for the National Commission of Energy in Chile. I gained experience developing renewable energy projects in rural areas to tackle poverty through access to electricity. So, from the beginning my career has been centered around renewable energy and sustainability, in the context of improving livelihoods, tackling poverty and developing policies to enhance the use of renewables. After working for five years, I stayed on my chosen path and obtained a MSc degree in Environmental and Sustainable Development.

Creating positive impact makes working in renewable energy meaningful

I have been lucky to have had very interesting positions in both the private and public sector, always linked to renewables. A particularly meaningful experience to me was working at the United Nations because it allowed me to very directly see the positive impact of my work from two perspectives.

Firstly, working on rural energy projects allowed me to see the impact of my work from a grassroots level.  During my years in UNDP (United Nations Developing Programme) my work was very hands-on, I gained valuable experience working directly with the communities and local governments. It was very rewarding to see how your work created direct positive impact on people.

Secondly, when I was involved in developing policies related to renewables I got to experience the impact from a macro level and see how my work supported the bigger picture. As Expert Consultant at UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organizations) in Vienna I was developing renewable energy projects with measurable and direct positive impact on climate change. This time I was working on a more institutional and governmental level, so I had a broad overview over the project and the whole industry. This experience taught me that In this field it is good to have a futuristic mindset because it can take time for a project and its effects to occur. But when they do, it is extremely gratifying to see just how significant and long-lasting the impacts are.

In the last ten years I have been working in the private sector, first providing and leading engineering services in the energy market of Chile and Perú and later building and managing a portfolio of solar projects in different countries, before finding my way to Korkia.

“In this field it is good to have a futuristic mindset because it can take time for a project and its effects to occur. But when they do, it is extremely gratifying to see just how significant and long-lasting the impacts are.”

Fitting in with the refreshingly straightforward and private Finns

Even though it was my career that originally took me to Finland, I now have a home and family here. I really value the honesty and transparency in Finnish culture. Finns are straight-forward and clear in their communication so you can count on the fact that Finns really mean what they say.

Another aspect of Finnish culture that I really value is respecting each other’s privacy and space. I am a weird Chilean in the sense that I really enjoy the distance Finns keep to each other and that here you don’t have to be social all the time. Not having to talk with the taxi driver or strangers riding the same elevator fits me perfectly.

However, when it comes to close relationships with family and friends, I find the distance a bit foreign. In Chile it is completely normal to just stop by unannounced at your family member’s front door with perhaps a bottle of red wine. Here that does not happen. Seeing family and close friends usually requires making an appointment and that feels a bit formal to me. But I am learning to get used to it, and despite some cultural differences like these I can feel at home here.

 

 

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