Past Event

Women in Power: Perspectives from the Energy Sector

March 8, 2021
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
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On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai and the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) at Columbia University School of International Studies and Public Affairs (SIPA) invite you to a panel discussion with experts from the Columbia community who will discuss the status of women in the energy sector, exploring governance solutions, employment, as well as women as beneficiaries.

Prior to the panel discussion, we welcome you to an exclusive online streaming of the highly acclaimed National Award winning Indian documentary film, Powerless (Katiyabaaz), which will be available to view between February 26-March 8, 2021. A link to the documentary will be sent via email upon registration.




● Laurie Fitzmaurice, Executive Director, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University SIPA


● Ravina Aggarwal, Director, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai  


● Deepti Kakkar, Director, Powerless (Katiyabaaz); Columbia SIPA '15
● Philippe Benoit, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University SIPA
● Vaishali Nigam Sinha, Chief Sustainability, CSR and Communication Officer, ReNew Power, and Columbia SIPA '94

About the Speakers

Laurie Fitzmaurice

Laurie Fitzmaurice is Executive Director at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA. Laurie joins the Center with nearly 30 years of experience in business development, specializing in energy infrastructure development around the world. Laurie has demonstrated skills building and managing organizations, including the development and implementation of strategic business plans and new market entry with companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500. She also has a deep knowledge of international energy markets. At the Center, she works closely with the senior leadership team to build on the momentum of the Center, create and implement lasting structures that will ensure our continued growth, excellence and impact, and continue to cultivate leadership practices that promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. Most recently, Laurie was Vice President of Business Development at EDF Renewables México, based in México City, México, where she was responsible for the management of the business development department, focused on the origination and development of new wind and solar energy projects. Prior to joining EDF EN, she served as Cielo Wind Power & General Manager in Chile, Senior Vice President of Floresta Group, Vice President of Investments and Acquisitions of CE2 Capital, and Director of Business Development of Sempra Pipelines & Storage. A native of Southern California, Laurie graduated with honors from Swarthmore College.

Deepti Kakkar

Deepti has read history, public policy and international affairs at the Universities of Delhi, Leipzig, Vienna and Columbia University in New York. She co-founded Globalistan Films in 2010, where she helmed FC Chechnya (2010), Powerless/Katiyabaaz (2013), Leila (Netflix Original Series, 2019) and an upcoming documentary feature (Netflix Originals, 2021). Her work has screened in over 50 countries around the globe and won a National Award in India. Deepti also works as an independent consultant with the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice in India, since 2018. At this moment, she is developing an indie fiction project at Globalistan and a toddler at home.

Philippe Benoit

Philippe Benoit is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA. Philippe has had a distinguished career in energy, development, and climate policy. His experience spans a wide spectrum of regions, including the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America, developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, North America and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience in working on energy, finance and development in both the private and public sectors. From 2011-2016 Philippe served as head of the Energy Environment and Energy Efficiency Divisions at the International Energy Agency. In addition to his time at the IEA, he worked for over 15 years at the World Bank, including as energy sector manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, and at Société Générale as a director in the Energy Project Finance Department. He is also currently Managing Director-Energy at Global Infrastructure Advisory Services 2050, an independent consultancy. Philippe has managed over 50 publications in the areas of clean energy, development and climate change while at the IEA and the World Bank. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a B.A. in economics and political science from Yale University, and a masters in trade law from the University of Paris.

Vaishali Sinha

Vaishali Nigam Sinha is the Chief Sustainability, CSR and Communication Officer at ReNew Power, which is India’s largest renewable energy IPP (Independent Power Producer). She is a member of the Governing Council of the UN Global Compact Network, India (GCNI) and Chairperson of their Gender Committee; Chairperson – South Asian Women In Energy (SAWIE); Co – Chair of CII Indian Women Network and Woman Empowerment Committee. She is on the Advisory Board for Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai and is a member of the Governing Council of the Vedica Scholars Programme for Women. She also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA) at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Vaishali was felicitated for her outstanding contribution towards woman empowerment by CSR Journal in July 2019, and also recognized as being amongst India’s Top 25 Impactful CSR Leaders by the India CSR Network in April 2019. CEO Today magazine has conferred the Business Woman of the Year Award 2019 on her for her achievements and leadership of women in business.