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About Us


To mentor and participate in the advancement of women in the hydropower industry from across the globe.

The Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program provides an opportunity for women to connect, generate new friendships and networks, and share experiences in a supportive environment that highlights the powerful contributions women from around the world make in the hydropower industry.

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This program is open to all women from around the world involved in the hydro industry, including agency, stakeholders, and tribal representatives.


"The opportunity to mentor and participate in the advancement of women in the hydropower industry from across the globe is a highlight of my career."

The Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program is grateful to our supporting organizations that provide us opportunities during their annual/regionals meetings and conferences to let other women in the hydropower industry know about what we are doing!



The mentor brings her life experience and a willingness to listen, give counsel, and provide network connections that support the mentee.


The mentee brings her growth and development goals, opportunities, and challenges with a willingness to openly discuss them.


This program is open to all women from around the world involved in the hydro industry, including agency, stakeholders, and tribal representatives.

A volunteer Steering Committee, passionate about mentorship and supporting women in the hydro industry, matches applicants into mentorship pairs/groups. Each mentorship pair/group is unique and adapts to a relationship style and meeting format that works best for them, typically meeting once a month for eight months, October to May.

This initiative is supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the National Hydropower Association (NHA), Northwest Hydroelectric Association (NWHA), and Midwest Hydro Users Group (MHUG).

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The Women In Hydropower Mentorship Program is a volunteer led effort through the energy and talent of the Steering Committee. Steering Committee members serve a term of two years (October – September); the person serving as the Steering Committee Chair will serve a total of three years. 

"Our goal is to have 6-8 Steering Committee members with staggering terms to maintain a history of the program and continuity but at the same time, be recruiting new Steering Committee members to allow others to participate and share their wisdom, energy, and ideas."


Recruit mentors and mentees

Evaluate the effectiveness of the program through periodic surveys

Propose improvements to the program, as necessary

Serve as mentors in the program and may also request a mentor

Share potential discussion topics and valuable resources with program participants as needed

Discuss and address any issues or concerns raised by program participants during the program cycle

Meet on periodic basis (3~4 times annually) to discuss program issues and/or ideas

Initiate the application and pairing process for the next program cycle at the end of their term; and

Select members for the next Steering Committee

If you are interested in serving on the Steering Committee, contact the committee at or indicate your interest on the program application.



"Being a mentor in the Women in Hydropower program has given me the opportunity to learn from other inspiring, energetic women while reflecting on where my own path has taken me.  I’ve been awed by the resilience and creativity of other women in the industry, and I’ve gained understanding on topics ranging from how to bounce back from a job loss to what’s in seal scat.  We have much to offer each other, and I am excited to support the continued success and evolution of the program."   


Ellen Faulkner


Dominique Paquette

"The Women in Hydropower Mentorship program is an amazing community of women from all over the world willing to share their journey, help and inspire each other. To take a break and share knowledge and experience with other women in the hydro sector struggling with mental load, job position, motherhood and/or work-family balance is comforting, refreshing, and fulfilling."   

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Kelly Schaeffer
Steering Committee Chair

“Many women—both in North America and around the world—are participating in this program, providing a unique opportunity to learn from each other, establish relationships, and contribute to each other’s success in the hydroelectric workforce. This past year dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 presented an opportunity for our mentorship pairs and triad groups to reach out and check in on how other women were addressing these work and life challenges.”


Maria Brescianini

"As a mentor and a Steering Committee member, I found the program to be a unique opportunity to connect with people from different countries, share experiences and learn from each other. I have found mentorship really important through my career and I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking into personal and professional development."

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Yiying Xiong

"Being a mentor and Steering Committee member for the "Women in Hydropower" mentorship program for the past several years has been an incredible experience. I got to know so many bright women in our field. Their positive energy and desire for success inspire me to be a better mentor and better person each and every day."

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Nora Rosemore

"The best part about the mentorship program is the new friends I have made and all that we have discovered together about ourselves through our conversations."

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Debbie Gray

"I am starting on my third year as mentor, and I have really enjoyed sharing my experience and anecdotes from my long career in the hydro sector. I feel that I have helped my mentees get another point of view on some of the issues they encounter."

  • What are the criteria for being a mentor? Who can be a mentor?
    Given the broad range of backgrounds of our mentors and mentees, there is no specific criteria in terms of education, technical expertise, or years of experience for being a mentor. Mentors with different technical backgrounds and experience can offer valuable guidance and support to the mentees. Sometimes mentors and mentees want to discuss technical issues; for others, it can be project management skills, leadership, public speaking, or self-advocating. Some mentoring pairs discuss the work/family life balance. In general, we ask that our mentors and mentees discuss what each would like to get out of the mentoring program so that expectations are discussed early in the mentorship cycle. We want our mentors and mentees to be committed to this collaborative growth process and to be open to sharing information and experiences. Based on over five years of this mentorship program, we expect a large number of mentees; therefore, we strongly encourage anyone that is willing to serve as a mentor to apply.
  • What is the format of the mentorship pair?
    We attempt to put mentors and mentees together in pairs; however, if the mentee applicants exceed the mentor applicants, the Steering Committee will place two mentees with one mentor in a triad group. We look at time zones and language preferences in selecting our pairs/triad groups.
  • What if the mentorship pair does not work out during a program cycle?
    If a participant of the program has any concerns about the mentorship pair or triad group at any point during a program cycle, the mentor/mentee is encouraged to contact the Steering Committee by emailing The Steering Committee will work with the participant to address any concerns and may result in re-assigning a mentor/mentee to make the pair more effective. If a new mentor is unavailable, the mentee will have preference during the next pairing cycle. Participants are strongly encouraged to provide feedback through the Women In Hydropower Mentorship Program surveys that the Steering Committee issues periodically. Responding to these surveys helps us continue to grow and improve the mentor/mentee experience.
  • What do we talk about during our monthly meetings? Are there resources for mentors/mentees?
    The program anticipates that mentors and mentees first communicate the expectations of each participant. There are many topics, books, articles, and other resources that are available to create an experience that is as formal or informal as each mentoring pair or triad group determines. Resources are available on the website at We encourage program participants to submit resources that they have used during the program cycle to the Steering Committee for including in the list of resources.
  • What is the application process?
    Applications are required for both mentors and mentees on an annual basis in order to participate in the Women in Hydropower Mentorship Program. Our annual application process: Open call for applications will be announced by the mentorship program Steering Committee by June 1, annually. Applications are due by August 1. The Steering Committee will match mentors and mentees in pairs/triads based on the information provided in their applications. Pairs will be announced in September. Pairs will start their first meeting in October.
  • How long is the Program and what are the expectations?
    How long is the Program and what are the expectations? The Program lasts from October through May, annually The expectation is that pairs/triads meet monthly, for an hour; however, each mentor/mentee pair or triad should work out a schedule that works for them.


Provides an Opportunity for Women

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