Last year School-gen profiled five of our amazing female staff with science backgrounds to celebrate the 150th anniversary of women having the vote in New Zealand – and also to give young girls ideas about what their futures could hold. For International Women’s Day, we thought it would be fun to do a ‘special edition’ women in science feature, starring one of the Genesis Executive Team – Tracey Hickman.

Hi Tracey! What’s your role at Genesis? I am Executive General Manager for Generation and Wholesale. What this means is that I report directly to our CEO Marc England and I am responsible for managing our portfolio of generation assets (our hydro stations, wind farm and Huntly). I work with our teams who safely operate, maintain and invest in our assets, who ensure we gain the access we need to land, air and water resources via resource consents and who responsibly manage our environmental footprint and the important relationships we have with tangata whenua and the communities within which we operate. I also work with our Trading, Wholesale and Fuels teams ensuring access to the various fuels we need to power our stations, and trading of our energy generation into the market.  Beyond that, a lot of our focus at the moment is on managing our carbon footprint for the future including initiatives for direct investment in land and trees and by partnering to build NZ’s next wind farm. As we frequently say in our team “there is never a dull day in Generation and Wholesale!”

What does your job involve on a day to day basis? Gosh – every day is different and that’s what makes it so interesting! I travel a lot – between our generation schemes and our Auckland and Hamilton offices and reasonably frequently to meet with competitors, customers, regulators, stakeholders and Iwi/Hapu. Beyond that I meet frequently with the Genesis Executive Team to discuss and agree a range of key strategic issues and of course I also engage with the Board on key matters.

What did you study at school and/or university that prepared you for this role? I did a Master of Arts at Auckland University specialising in natural resource management. The focus was on balancing the use of natural resources and trading off conflicting values and risks such as ecological, amenity, cultural and commercial. If that didn’t prepare me for managing power schemes and energy markets then I’m not sure what would of!

What do you enjoy most about being a scientist? These days I am relying on the brilliance of the data scientists, ecologists, hydrologists, engineers and mathematicians who work in Generation and Wholesale. I enjoy trading off and balancing a range of data and value sets to make decisions that maximise the value of our fuel and generation assets to Genesis.

Would you encourage kids to get into science and technology and how? Absolutely – if that’s what spins their wheels. I think it’s important to expose our kids to the whole range of disciplines and career options but also to realise kids will form their own view about what makes them happy and engages them and it may be different to what parents or mainstream society wants or thinks. So our job is to remain open minded and give our kids freedom to change their minds and explore new things multiple times over in their career or to be something we perhaps never imagined we ever could be.

Thanks to Tracey for her time and insights. If you’re interested in checking out our other Women in Science profiles, you can find them here:

  • Rebecca Larking:
  • Karen Sky:
  • Andrea Black:
  • Martina Perez Casajuana:
  • Louisa George: