Starting her current position during the pandemic came with unique challenges, but Nkiruka Catherine Ohaegbu managed to learn the ropes with the help of her coworkers, opening up new opportunities for herself in the energy industry. Ohaegbu dedicates her time away from the office to her community, serving in leadership positions in multiple organizations such as the YMCA of Superior California, Metro EDGE, the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation and PBS-KVIE.
Why did you enter the energy industry?
“From a young age, I always had an interest in engineering and technology; however, I chose to focus my career on government affairs and economic development. Entering this industry combined my early interest in engineering and technology with my career experience in government relations and public affairs. It’s allowed me to learn more about the future of the industry and how clean energy plays a vital part.”
Which of your professional achievements are you most proud of?
“I am most proud of recently completing my doctorate in business administration program. My dissertation focused on trade and investment between sub-Saharan Africa and California, allowing me to glean into the energy sector in the continent and have a better understanding of the needs and how they could be met through public/private partnership.”
Describe a memorable professional experience.
“One memorable professional experience that I had was welcoming a delegation visiting from Nigeria to learn more about the U.S. energy sector. This was exciting to me because I focused my dissertation on trade and investment between sub-Saharan Africa and California, and the energy sector was an area of need identified.”
What qualities do you think are necessary for a good leader in the energy industry?
“Good leaders take in feedback while making the necessary changes to move a company forward. They understand their strengths and weaknesses and aren’t afraid to work collaboratively with others.”
What has helped you develop your leadership abilities during your career?
“I have been fortunate to participate in multiple leadership programs that have helped shape my leadership abilities during my career. In addition, the advice from mentors has been invaluable in helping to guide me in my journey. There is an African proverb that says, ‘What an old man can see sitting down, the youth cannot see standing up.’ Feedback from mentors have really helped me in developing my leadership abilities.”
What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the energy industry?
“What keeps me motivated is that I have the power to make a difference and help shape the future of the industry to transition to cleaner energy.”
What do you think young industry members as a group have to offer that is unique to them?
“Young industry members offer a more global perspective about the industry and ways to make it more equitable for groups that may have been disenfranchised in the past.”
What advice would you give other young professionals in the industry and/or in your sector?
“Don’t be afraid to take a risk and try new things. It may be scary at first, but I’ve found it to be very rewarding.”
What transformations do you think the industry must undertake for it to thrive in the future?
“The industry must embrace the cultural shift toward clean energy and embrace ways to integrate it into their business model to thrive in the future.”
- I love to travel. My goal is to visit every country in the world.
- I am very family-oriented.
- I love Zumba.