Celebrating Women in MRE: A Conversation with Fabienne Joly


As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to spotlight the voices that are shaping this critical sector. Fabienne Joly, Director of Development at ORPC Canada, offers a unique perspective and a multifaceted approach to leadership. With a background in economic development, community engagement, and energy transition project development, Fabienne brings interdisciplinary expertise to her role at ORPC Canada.

Fabienne’s journey into renewable energy began with an early commitment to environmental stewardship and innovative technologies. She started her career in supporting project development in one of the world’s most innovative ecosystems, nestled amidst the mountains of Grenoble Alps, France. Driven by this “innovation for the environment” ethos, she moved to Lac-Megantic, QC, to contribute to the reconstruction following a devastating fuel explosion that destroyed the city center. She played a pivotal role in coordinating Hydro-Quebec’s first community-scale microgrid project in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, for the municipality. This experience inspired Fabienne’s passion for sustainable energy solutions design and laid the foundation for her subsequent work in the renewable energy sector.

As a graduate of Grenoble-Alps University, Fabienne holds a master’s degree in business management from The Grenoble Institute of Political Studies. Many years later, she came back to her studies in Canada where she received a post-master’s degree from the University of Sherbrooke in Strategic Advisory in Environment to deepen her knowledge in socio-ecological transition challenges and politics in Canada. Her academic background, coupled with hands-on experience in economic development and community engagement, has equipped her with a unique skill set to tackle the complex challenges facing the marine renewable energy industry.

Interdisciplinary Expertise and Collaborative Leadership

Fabienne’s background in economics and political science has provided her with a holistic understanding of the intricate dynamics at play in the renewable energy landscape. “A key to project success is to understand the challenges partners face as early as possible.” This can also lead to complexity which characterizes socio-ecological transition, a subject she is teaching to graduate students in, “Governance and change management in socio-ecological transition,” at the University of Sherbrooke. “One of my strengths is my ability to bring people from various disciplines and organizations to the table, and analyze and understand their capacity to work together,” Fabienne reflects. Her ability to navigate complexity and foster collaboration has been instrumental in driving forward ambitious renewable energy projects.

Fabienne emphasizes the importance of embracing diversity and fostering inclusive partnerships. “From doing so, we develop empathy and tolerance and realize that we all have one goal—to live on the same planet.”

Environmental Advocacy and Community Engagement

From early on, Fabienne has been passionate about preserving the planet and contributing to sustainable development. “Technology is part of the solution, but the most crucial aspect is for people to work together,” Fabienne added. Her dedication to understanding and addressing the unique needs of communities, including Indigenous and northern communities, underscores her commitment to environmental responsibility. “We support communities and partners to develop the best solutions to meet their needs.”

Empowerment through Authentic Leadership

As a female leader the industry, Fabienne embodies authenticity and resiliency. She believes in the power of embracing one’s strengths and sensitivities, fostering a culture of inclusivity and empowerment.

“Be authentic and be yourself,” Fabienne urges. “Our strength and our sensitivity are key in taking our place, regardless of gender or background.”

Fabienne believes that authentic leadership fosters empathy, collaboration, and innovation. “When we shine, we can bring light to others,” she affirms, highlighting the impact of empowered female leadership in driving innovation and sustainability.

Inspiring the Next Generation

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Fabienne’s story serves as an inspiration to aspiring professionals in the marine renewable energy industry.

“To women and underrepresented groups aspiring to make their mark in the renewable energy sector, I offer a message of hope and empowerment,” Fabienne shares. “Know yourself and embrace your unique strengths. Your voice, your perspective, and your contributions are invaluable in shaping the future of renewable energy.”