“I can see that the years ahead in this industry are going to be fascinating and dynamic, and I’m keen to play my part to influence and shape the future,”
Jacqui Bridge on her new role as Executive General Manager Energy Futures with Powerlink Queensland.
The resume of Jacqui Bridge paints a picture of a woman who believes in always looking for the learning opportunity.
Jacqui’s career has seen her as an industrial engineer, a consultant, and as a manager for electricity and gas distribution networks around the country, all the while honing and strengthening her knowledge of the energy and electricity sectors. Now, Powerlink Queensland are very excited for her to be leading the new Energy Futures portfolio.
The positive impact for Queenslanders
“The opportunity to have a real impact on the lives of Queenslanders is the key thing that excites me about this role.”
This newly created division of the company is looking to the future to better understand how customer expectations are changing and are defining the role Powerlink Queensland will play as the power system transforms to support decarbonization, renewable energy, and new technologies.
In leading this division, Jacqui’s role is focused on thinking deeply about the future power system in Queensland and influencing the development of an effective and functional system moving forward.
By providing a safe, reliable, and secure power supply, and facilitating economic growth as the reliance on renewable energy continues to increase, Jacqui is very excited by the huge positive impacts her new role can have on the lives of Queenslanders.
Her path to Powerlink
“I never expected to be working in the electricity sector and that I would find my purpose here.”
Jacqui says if her high school self could see her now, she’d be very surprised. She is an Industrial Engineer by training and worked in the manufacturing sector as a graduate. But her career turned a corner when she joined a consulting firm and began working on several energy related projects. For almost 20 years she stayed a consultant, not only becoming more and more focused on projects across energy regulation and markets but also building her leadership skills running and managing the project teams.
“Some years ago, I reached a point of clarity that my collective energy sector experience was valuable, and I had a strong desire to be part of the energy transformation.
Jacqui had already known some of the team at Powerlink Queensland through various industry forums and events and said she had always been impressed by the level of engagement and constructive contributions they made to regulatory and planning discussions. When it was her turn to join the team, Jacqui remembers how warmly she was welcomed and how valued her experience and opinions were.
“I was surprised how easy the transition to Powerlink was. I definitely feel I’ve made the right decision in joining Powerlink and look forward to playing a key role in guiding the future direction of our business.”
A day at work for Jacqui
The most challenging parts of the job according to Jacqui, is the uncertainty and speed at which the future is approaching the energy sector.
“Right now, the energy sector is changing rapidly, regularly outstripping forecasts and as a result our focus and priorities are also changing. The challenge is to lead a team in an uncertain environment, to decide what information warrants a change in strategy/direction and how to communicate this, and keep the team engaged as direction and priorities change.”
Thankfully, the people she works with means she isn’t facing these challenges alone. Whether it’s Powerlink‘s Chief Executive, Paul Simshauser and his ‘incredible energy and intent to get things done’, or even her own Executive Assistant ‘who makes all things possible despite a very hectic schedule’, Jacqui has praise for everyone she works with.
“I’ve always felt that people are the most critical ingredient that makes an organization successful and my experience at Powerlink has reconfirmed that. We are all at work for different reasons but taking the time to get to know people and understand their motivations, provide feedback and opportunities to develop and progress makes all the difference to the work environment and the enjoyment we all get from coming to work.”
The best days for Jacqui come down to seeing those weeks and months of collaborative effort come together to a policy decision or project commencement that she knows will move the business and the future power systems development forward.
A brighter future for everyone
Jacqui has always been a person with a knack for leading teams and bringing out the best in everybody. She also believes very strongly in the importance of mentoring and sponsoring team members and staff across the business.
“Sponsorship from people who believe in your ability is critical to getting opportunities and making progress in your career.”
Powerlink continue to support Jacqui, offering her the opportunity to attend the Melbourne Business School where she’s looking forward to further improving her leadership capabilities.
Jacqui’s journey from engineer to Executive General Manager, is a lesson for all on how many opportunities there are out there. No-one should feel confined to a narrow career path by their qualifications, and Jacqui herself encourages everyone to ‘take opportunities’ and ‘enjoy every moment’.
“My recent appointment to Powerlink’s Executive Team showcases the potential career progression of a female engineer working in a technical area. I am proud to be contributing to Powerlink in this strategic capacity and hope that sharing my career pathway has a positive impact for other women to consider the possibilities for their own career development.”