Arielle BertmanI work to create clean, sustainable investments and businesses that enable lower costs and make renewable energy more accessible. These businesses and investments are resilient, commercially attractive, and have impact. Google defines “impact” over the long term, which enables us to consider earlier stage, higher-risk investments with the potential for higher returns.

Three things have helped me to find my way in this field. A strong analytical and engineering background gave me confidence to delve into the technical details; supportive and brilliant colleagues have challenged me and helped me grow as I learned the renewable energy industry; and I’m passionate about learning, which is important, since this is a fast-changing and always evolving field.

I completed my first Ironman triathlon last year. A love of challenges is also one of the many reasons I chose to study engineering. While we’re getting better, unfortunately, it is still a male-dominated field.

When I think about my colleagues, we complement each other because of the varied perspectives and approaches that we bring to the team—not because of our genders. That being said, I have always thrived on defying stereotypes and see challenge and competition as a motivator.

I may never be the person designing the next clean energy breakthrough, but I am confident engaging at a technical level and asking important questions. This has opened doors and helped me build trust and respect, both internally and externally.

I tell people to never underestimate your knowledge and preparation for a situation. I was once involved in a tough negotiation with a notorious counterparty on a technical risk issue. Because I had read all the engineering reports and was familiar with the technical aspects of the project, I could navigate the tricky situation, and we moved forward with the respect of the male-dominated group.

This helped me realize two things: Negotiations are a favorite part of the deal process, but some people lack the information to make the best decision, so knowing your projects—especially the technical, financial, or legal details—and sharing information with confidence is invaluable. This is a simple, but underappreciated element.

Read up on the rest of our 10 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability here.