Gillian Barnett 

Gillian Barnett

Regulatory Legal Counsel, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

Describe a typical day
The AESO plans and operates Alberta’s electricity system and wholesale electricity market safely, reliably and in the public interest of all Albertans. I work with the AESO’s technical and subject matter specialists to draft the rules and standards that govern participants in the Alberta electric industry. I prepare submissions to the Alberta Utilities Commission regarding these rules and standards, and provide legal and strategic advice with respect to any related regulatory proceedings.
Perks of your job and things you like about your current company.
The AESO is a not-for-profit organization made up of a high performance team of professionals who are driven by the common goal of “keeping the lights on” in Alberta. Working in this environment, I have the opportunity to learn about the complex and ever-changing electric industry from my colleagues on an ongoing basis, while providing an integral service to Albertans.
Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.
I have been in my current role for a year, and have had to develop my knowledge of the industry to a point where I am able to understand complex and often highly technical information in order to draft documents, prepare submissions and provide advice that is clear, concise and sound from both a legal and technical perspective. Outside of work, I am a runner and have completed two half-marathons in the last two years – the SeaWheeze in Vancouver and Melissa’s Road Race in Banff.  
Thoughts on the future of the industry as it relates to your field.
Alberta has a competitive market for electricity generation, and this market is facilitated by the AESO. Advancements in technology will continue to make diverse sources of generation available to the Alberta electric grid, and the AESO will be tasked with developing the rules that will allow new types of generation to connect along with other more traditional sources of generation.
Current community involvement efforts.
I am the co-chair of the Calgary Run for Water, a charity race (being held in Eau Claire on June 13, 2015) that raises funds for clean water projects in Africa: http://calgary.runforwater.ca/. I also volunteer regularly with the Making Changes Association’s Walk In Closet program, which provides professional business attire to women who want to rejoin the workforce but are facing barriers: http://makingchangesassociation.ca/our_programs/walk_in_closet_program/. The generosity of Calgarians is truly amazing, both on a local and an international level.  
Why YWE?
The energy industry in Calgary is transitioning from an old boys’ club to a much more diverse and dynamic community. We need new organizations like YWE that help to connect women in meaningful ways as a forum for important discussions about the future of the energy sector, both locally and globally.
What are you reading?
 I am reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I am about five books behind my book club, but they are very forgiving!