Asset Management Is For Women Too (featuring Marie-Claude Roquet)By Judi Hess
One thing I have been noticing more and more is the number of women entering the field of Asset Investment Planning & Management (AIPM). In fact, many of Copperleaf’s clients are women who are taking a leading role in their organizations in planning and managing their asset investments more strategically, to minimize risk and create the highest value for their organizations.
Certainly the prevalence of women is not evident by attending an asset management conference…yet. But it occurred to me that this is a great role for women in a field where you might not expect to find many women! And I believe this is the beginning of an exciting trend and would like to highlight some of these women—and the interesting work they’re doing—to establish some role models and shine a light on this as a possible career path for young women. In our first article, we highlighted Unnur Þorvaldsdóttir from Landsvirkjun.
In this article, we are featuring Marie-Claude Roquet, Chief of Planning and Asset Management at Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie, a world leader in the field of hydroelectricity, operating the most extensive transmission system in North America.
How did you get involved in the field of asset management?
My background in Electrotechnical Engineering helped me get a position in our public electrical utility. But it was my desire to impact decisions, and my interest in planning, that brought me to this field of activity.
What attracted you to this field?
The diversity of the elements involved:
- human impact
- internal and external politics
What excites you most about this field?
The present context: assets are aging and are due for major work. In parallel, we are expecting more and more out of them. Key decisions need to be made. Expectations are high, issues are complex.
What are the most rewarding aspects of the work you do?
The fact that my team directly contributes to the livelihood of our business.
Where are you and your team making the biggest impact?
Identifying and justifying the right decisions to make for upper management, for our regulator, and for our customers.
What do you think are the biggest challenges?
So much to do, so little time! Identifying key issues, prioritizing them, building the work plan, and then getting it all done—not to mention addressing all the change management associated with these activities.
More specifically, the internal and external politics are also a challenge in striving for a balance between the needs of our customers, shareholders, and regulators.
Would you recommend asset management to other women as a career?
Absolutely! For a variety of reasons:
- Asset Management (AM) is a vast topic that ranges from the hands-on intervention of a specific asset, up to the strategic planning of a portfolio of assets and their operation and maintenance.
- AM suits the broadminded, the curious-minded, and the performance-minded individual. The roles are varied enough to accommodate the tactician, the strategist, the technical expert, the business manager, the “people” person.
- AM is a transversal activity in a company—crossing different departments and involving a wide variety of people. It touches on business, engineering, project management, human resources management, change management, technological evolution, R&D.
- Last but not least, if you get involved in AM for a company that is an Asset Management business (i.e. a railway or utility as opposed to a service or manufacturing company), you will be directly involved in the “pulse” of the business.
In the coming months we plan to feature more women to showcase the contribution of women in this emerging field of asset management! I’d love to hear your feedback.