Women in Energy Transformation Profile: Colleen Lenahan

“It’s both a great privilege and a great responsibility to be a part of the energy transformation”

February 28, 2023
Blog Entry
Women in Energy Transformation
Colleen Lenahan, Shell’s Commercial and Business Development Manager at Scotford

Photo: Colleen Lenahan

Over the last two years, the Pembina Institute has examined the barriers to gender equity in the energy sector and has proposed solutions to be adopted by the province, federal government and leaders. This forthcoming series of interviews celebrates women advancing Canada’s transition to a clean economy and offers their insights into the opportunities to make the net-zero future one where all Canadians can participate and lead.

Colleen Lenahan is Shell’s Commercial and Business Development Manager at Scotford. She believes strongly in working together to drive social, economic and environmental sustainability for both business and local communities. She is passionate about building inclusive teams and helping team members develop and grow their skills through opportunities near and far. In this pivotal moment in history as the world transforms its energy sources, Colleen believes it’s both a great privilege and a great responsibility to be a part of the energy transformation – one which will require the use of everyone’s collective skills, experience and perspectives. As part of an incredible team of women and men focused on transforming the energy system, Colleen relishes the opportunity to develop and deliver low-carbon energy solutions.

Why is the energy transition important to you?

We are at a tipping point in human history, and I believe the future social, economic and environmental state of the world my son will experience is depending on the actions we take right now to transform our energy system. I want my son and the generations to come to thrive and benefit like I have experienced. I believe it is the great privilege and responsibility of my life to use my strengths and talents in leadership and building community, and my experience in the traditional Energy Industry to help transform our energy system and take a step forward towards that better world.

What are the key challenges you’ve faced in your career, and what are your thoughts on their solutions?

As a woman in a STEM field, and working in the Energy Industry, I have been a minority – this has presented many challenges, but also the opportunity to grow by finding my way to bring my voice to the table, to bring compassion and kindness alongside performance and delivery, to create a nurturing environment for my teams, to advocate for both diversity and creating inclusivity, and to use my privilege, strengths, and experience to lift others as I progress. I’ve had incredible mentors throughout my entire life – women and men, who have demonstrated what is possible and how to work together to remove barriers. The solution is complex and nuanced, but the key is to work together to bust barriers that keep women and all minorities from contributing fully in all aspects of our communities.

What does a successful energy transition look like to you?

A successful energy transition looks like a balance between social, economic and environmental prosperity in our communities. It looks like thriving communities that can support the growth and development of the next generation, without the anxiety of job-loss or a harsh environment impacted severely by climate change. It looks like sustainable, affordable energy for all to use to power and improve their lives. It looks like the creation of new technologies, skills and careers.

Lightning Round

What book is on your nightstand?

Indian in the Cabinet – Jodi Wilson-Raybould.

What is the proudest accomplishment of your life?

I'm at the start of what I hope to be my proudest accomplishment – raising a socially-conscious son who uses his privilege and talents to make the world a little bit better.

If you were granted one wish to make the world a better place, what would it be?

Equal opportunity for all to learn, develop, and contribute their views, solutions, and ideas to propel our society forward socially, economically, and environmentally.

Describe the future of energy in one word.


This profile also appeared as part of the Women in Energy Transformation Series, a series of four national dialogues co-hosted by the Pembina Institute and GLOBE Series. You can view the rest of the profiles here.

The Pembina Institute also wishes to to thank the McConnell Foundation and Women and Gender Equality for their generous support of Pembina’s ongoing work on advancing gender equity in energy.