Inside MPCES

Interview with Dr. Gillian Marcelle, Senior Advisor to MPC Energy Solutions and Founder, CEO Resilience Capital Ventures

How did you get where you are – tell us about your educational background.

First of all, thank you MPCES for being part of your IWD celebrations in 2022.

I have always been a really keen and disciplined student. Started off doing pure natural sciences at an all-girls Anglican high school - Bishops Anstey High School; but when I didn’t do well in Physics at A levels, switched to social sciences for my first degree. All my quants training kicked in after the general first year and so I ended up converting to Economics, which I really enjoyed. Once I completed my bachelor’s degree at UWI St Augustine, Trinidad, I went straight off to Washington DC to do an MBA, starting that at twenty-one with no work experience. George Washington University was great and the MBA program in technology management provided a fantastic educational experience. What was more, the city itself provided many opportunities for learning - attending congressional hearings, interning at the National Research Council and doing research projects for professional bodies headquartered in the nation’s capital. Was a super busy time.

Next came the opportunity to move continents; on a scholarship from Volkswagen Foundation, supplemented by the German Foundation for Development, I spent a year in Kiel, Germany on the Baltic Sea, completing a postgraduate diploma in International Economics and Economic Policy Research at the prestigious Kiel Institute of World Economics. This hyperintense phase of my education never stopped for six years straight. But then, I paused for a decade after getting a dream job in corporate strategy and mergers & acquisitions at British Telecom in London, England. When I resumed my education for doctoral work at SPRU, University of Sussex, I had industry, research, teaching and regulatory experience under my belt, and was living in another continent, having moved to Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

Were there obstacles for you as a woman in your professional life and how did you overcome them?

As a Black woman originally from a tiny island in the Caribbean - Trinidad & Tobago - the obstacles that I face in my professional life are a mirror of those facing billions of women. We live in a world where a failure of imagination and misplaced ethics, result in women being underestimated and undervalued.

My family background and formative years provided me with confidence, a positive sense of myself and lots of support to achieve professional goals. From a highly aspirational middle-class family with generations of educators, doing well at school was expected. My education in and out of formal schooling helped me to understand the world and my place in it. I was introduced to heroes who contributed to world ideas and shaped struggles for justice and my late father was actively involved in the independence movement and politics of every description. Personally, ideas around women’s equality and female empowerment came easily. I learnt by observing my mother and her friends who lived their lives on their own terms. Putting women’s equality into practice was a major part of my university student politics and as formative as the anti-apartheid struggle. My meeting Professor Heidi Hartmann a leading feminist economist, and interning for her, shaped my academic thinking about feminism, those introductions provided me with the theoretical and analytical tools to navigate a world shaped by patriarchy. So, I am still, as is every woman, handling a world in which women’s rights to economic well-being, freedom and self-expression are circumscribed. Along my journey, there have been outstanding role models, mentors and wayshowers. My school friends who come from all walks of life (class of BAHS 1980-1982); my senior sisters who’ve been there for me at life’s inflection points and many artists that provide the inspiration and keep us showing up for this fight.  

We’ve not yet overcome, but I hope we will and am dedicated to the cause.

 

Why are you passionate about ESG?

I am passionate about justice. ESG investing is a tool that can be used as we change the ways in which business is organized and interacts with society. Companies such as MPCES are making great progress in tackling societal issues, for example through your stakeholder engagement processes. Your investments in renewable energy tackle environmental challenges and clean up the energy mix in Latin America and the Caribbean. The shifts in governance, including paying greater attention to gender equity in recruitment decisions have been great to see.   

Private companies are a central part of the fabric of our lives. Contributing to their strategies, improving them by integrating ESG principles moves society towards a better today and a brighter tomorrow. My experience as a research scholar, student activist and an advocate are all brought to bear in my work advising investment companies and corporates. Bringing improvements on these important questions takes knowledge, skill, insight and lots of patience. I am learning a lot on this journey and am grateful to be contributing to positive change.

What is your main wish for the future?

As a woman, daughter, sister, friend, parent, and a global citizen, my wish is that the human family rediscovers what makes us thrive so that the future is a time of lasting peace; one not characterized by brutal conflicts, domination over nature and obscene levels of inequality. 

 

What do you do in your freetime when you don’t work?

A couple decades ago I used to be a DJ, playing in small gigs with friends, family and even in clubs. Music still soothes and inspires me, so I try to get back to it. But during the Covid 19 pandemic, I have mainly been watching lots and lots of films and TV series. Sometimes, we’ve been able to make time for family movie nights. Once the restrictions were lifted, I went back to the movie theatres with my teenage daughter and she got to see her first Bond film in 2021.

 

Thank you very much for this interview.

Dr. Gillian Marcelle is Senior Advisor to MPC Energy Solutions and Founder & CEO of Resilience Capital Ventures
 

You want to know more about the international women's day, have a look:
The 8th of March is International Women's Day

Dr. Gilian Marcelle Senior Advisor MPC Energy Solutions

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