Vanessa WilsonPresidentPartner, DLA Piper LLPVanessa Wilson focuses on advising project sponsors and developers, private equity investors, commercial banks and institutional lenders and investors in the development, financing, sale or purchase of independent energy projects, including utility-scale solar projects, wind farms, energy storage facilities, biomass projects and gas-fired and coal-fired power generation facilities, natural gas pipelines, methane-capture projects and other energy-based transactions. She has played a significant role in projects located in California, New York, Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada.
Vanessa has more than 15 years of experience representing sponsors and developers in connection with project financings, including traditional construction and term loans, 144A offerings and tax equity investments. She also has extensive experience negotiating agreements for the sale or purchase of energy assets and companies. She regularly manages the diligence review of proposed targets and portfolios in connection with such transactions. Vanessa has also spent significant time structuring joint ventures for the development of energy assets.
Representative clients include Exelon Corporation, AES Energy Storage, LLC and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank.
Carolyn GusickPresident ElectSenior Manager, West Monroe PartnersCarolyn Gusick is a senior manager in West Monroe Partners’ Technology practice, based in New York City focusing on delivering technology solutions for energy and utility clients.
Carolyn is currently the Project Manager for a large East Coast Investor Owned Utility leading the launch of a new SharePoint Intranet for over 15,000 employees. She also recently managed a project for an Energy Efficiency company that transitioned 200 national programs to a newly selected work management platform.
Carolyn joined West Monroe Partners from Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), where she was the manager for the Business Performance Excellence group, provided contract management and regulatory support and managed projects in engineering, asset management, and storm restoration.
Carolyn earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Villanova University and a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance from Fordham University. She is a certified running coach and can be found training for numerous marathons and triathlons.
Jennifer CooperTreasurerNational GridA Utility professional with 18 years of experience across North America; A Mother, Partner, Friend, Environmentalist, Experiential Cook, Organic Gardener, Global Adventurer and Women’s Leadership Advocate.
In her current position, Ms. Cooper is an internal consultant with National Grid, working across the business to support strategy development, organizational change and process excellence. Prior to this, she established and ran program management, planning and performance offices in both Gas and IT functions, and led IS strategies to align with the business.
Prior to joining National Grid, Jennifer served as a consultant to the North American utility industry through Accenture. Her expertise spans across Change Management and Organization Design, Supply Chain Strategic Sourcing and Process Engineering.
A passionate and articulate management executive with expertise in developing people and problem solving, Jennifer is experienced in developing and improving capabilities across multiple disciplines, working across and between several leadership levels primarily within the utilities and technology industries. Her functional expertise includes people engagement, change management, process improvements, supply chain/procurement, IS/IT, business strategy development, communications, investment and budget planning, operational performance management and creative problem solving/workshop facilitation.
Ms. Cooper has an energy and passion fueled by the amazing people in the networks she develops and opportunities to grow in challenging and collaborative environments.
Outside of the office, Jennifer spends her time with her husband and two young sons in northern New Jersey.
Jamie GohProgramming Director Co-ChairNational Australia BankJamie is a Senior Associate with National Australia Bank and has 6 years of experience covering investment grade and distressed energy, infrastructure and P3 transactions across North America, LatAm and Asia. Prior to her current role, she has held roles in Blackrock, Fitch Ratings and BNP Paribas. In recent years, Jamie has focused largely on financing gas-fired power plants, natural gas pipelines, as well as Liquefied Natural Gas projects. She has a BSc. in Economics and BA in Psychology from the University of Washington (2012), a Master’s in Public Administration (Energy and Sustainability) from Columbia University (2019), and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification since 2016. As a project finance enthusiast, Jamie thrives in connecting with folks in the industry and seeks to guide/mentor younger professionals who wish to build a career in this field.
Amanda LevinMarketing and Communications Co-ChairPrincipal Consultant, PA Consulting GroupI am an experienced strategy and communications expert in PA Consulting’s Energy and Utilities Group in New York, with more than 15 years of industry experience. A former award-winning financial journalist focusing on power, utilities and renewables, I now help utilities and energy investors / advisors to navigate an industry that is undergoing tremendous transformation. I am an accomplished business development and sales expert, initiating and developing opportunities. I have appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and served as a regular speaker at energy conferences, including NY Energy Week and S&P Global / Platts Financing U.S. Power and Global Power Markets conferences. I graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Albany with a major in Communications and earned a Master of Science degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. When I am not in the office, I am hiking and rocking climbing. I live in Scarsdale, New York with my husband and two children.
Fei WangMarketing and Communications Co-ChairSenior Research Analyst, Wood MackenzieFei Wang is a Senior Analyst with Wood Mackenzie specializing in customer energy management. Fei was previously a consultant in ICF's commercial energy practice, where she worked on assessing the impact of environmental regulations for commercial, government and nonprofit clients. Prior to that, Fei earned a Master of International Affairs degree with a concentration in energy and environment from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. During graduate school, Fei worked for the New York Power Authority. Fei holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Franklin & Marshall College.
Jaclyn CochraneMentoring Program Co-ChairCommunications Manager, GE Energy Financial ServicesJaclyn Cole is the Communications Manager at GE Energy Financial Services, where she is responsible for developing and executing a communications strategy for the business that holds approximately $13 billion in energy assets and invests globally across the capital spectrum.
Jaclyn joined GE Capital in 2013 from Alpari US, a global online foreign exchange and futures trading brokerage, where she oversaw the company’s digital, brand, sponsorship and events programs for almost five years, and served as Head of Marketing from 2010-2013.
Jaclyn earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sociology, with a focus on Media Arts, from Stony Brook University.
Rosa PietanzaMentoring Program Co-ChairSenior Legal Counsel, Brookfield RenewableRosa Pietanza began her career at Huber Lawrence & Abell, a boutique energy law firm, where she focused on regulatory matters affecting utility companies. She later joined Direct Energy, where she supported energy trading and marketing desks, and supported the Firm’s retail market expansion in PJM, ISO-NE and NY. In 2007, Rosa was hired at Lehman Brothers and following its bankruptcy, stayed with Barclays, where she supported the Firms’ commodities businesses, drafting and negotiating physical and financial master agreements, and advised on complex structured transactions. She joined Credit Suisse in 2010, as Legal Counsel to the Commodities desk. In 2016, she joined BNY Mellon as FX Compliance Officer. Currently, Rosa is Senior Legal Counsel, Trading & Compliance at Brookfield Renewable, where she primarily advises the energy trading and marketing desk, covers regulatory matters related to Brookfield’s assets, and provides guidance on compliance matters affecting Brookfield Renewable’s US platform. Rosa is Co-Chair of WEN’s Mentoring Program.
Joy Elise Brown KirstSponsorship and Membership Co-ChairManaging Director, Grojean Kirst AssociatesJoy Brown Kirst Is the Managing Director of Grojean Kirst Associates and has over 20 years of corporate and consulting experience. For the majority of those years, she was in the executive search industry, starting and growing the regions of two boutique firms entering the North American market.
She was most recently with FWB Park Brown, where she established the company’s presence in the North and South American regions, specializing in the energy industry. Prior to that, Joy was Vice President at Maxwell Drummond International, also focused on the energy sector. During her seven years with the firm, she helped grow the Houston office from two to 17 staff members, and managed teams conducting searches in North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Additionally, she served as the Director of Alumni and Corporate Relations at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.
Prior to Maxwell Drummond, Joy was with Heidrick & Struggles in the Houston office. Working with the leader of the Energy & Chemicals Practice, Joy helped build the practice from scratch to a significant business within the Industrial Practice for the firm.
Joy began her professional career with Western Atlas International, a leading oilfield services company, now a part of Baker Hughes. In her role she worked with the engineers, geologists and geophysicists of the company to provide technical, business and patent data for the development of the company’s logging tools.
Joy has an undergraduate degree in Russian and a Master’s degree in Library Science. In 2012, she completed her Master of Business Administration at Rice University.
Danielle GarbienSponsorship and Membership Co-ChairBracewell LLPDanielle Garbien, Counsel at Sidley Austin, focuses her practice on representing energy and commodity companies, financial institutions, private equity institutions and hedge funds in a variety of transactional, regulatory and risk management matters. She frequently advises clients on structured transactions related to energy and commodities, as well as on risk management and compliance issues.
Danielle has advised on structuring hedges for the financing and acquisition of energy facilities; renewable energy transactions including solar and wind offtake arrangements; total return swaps to pass-through risks from seller to buyer; long-term supply and credit facilities for retail and wholesale energy contracts; prepaid natural gas and electricity transactions; and long-term natural gas cross-border supply arrangements with related credit support obligations.
Danielle has considerable experience drafting, analyzing and negotiating physical and financial commodity-related agreements, including purchase and sale agreements, revenue put transactions, energy management agreements, repurchase agreements, commodity hedge agreements, netting agreements, as well as standardized industry agreements. She also advises clients on international and domestic regulatory and documentation issues related to structured commodity and derivatives transactions, and on-exchange and over-the-counter energy transactions in cash and derivatives markets. Danielle has represented clients involved in government investigations conducted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Christine BensonCommunity Initiatives Director Co-ChairManaging Director: Financing Group - Structured Finance and Risk Management -IBD, Goldman SachsChrissy is a managing director in the Financing Group on the Structured Finance and Risk Management team within the Investment Banking Division (IBD). She is responsible for the firm’s commodity structured finance efforts within IBD.
Previously, Chrissy was a managing director on the Energy Sales team and led the refining coverage team for physical and financial risk management and structuring. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2004 as an analyst in Energy Sales and was named managing director in 2015.
Chrissy serves as co-chair of one of the Harvard Schools Committees in New York City.
Chrissy earned an AB in Earth and Planetary Sciences, magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 2004.
Victoria Katharina MeyerCommunity Initiatives Director Co-ChairErnst & Young (EY)Victória K. Meyer is a Senior Manager in the Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP, currently based in the New York office. In addition, she previously spent over 5 years in the Swiss Advisory Practice, based out of Zürich, and one year in the Financial Services Office in New York.
As a member of this group, Victória has collaborated for over 12 years with clients throughout several countries.
Victória has worked across several industries, focusing the past 5 years on power and utilities. Other industries include consumer products, health care, renewable energy resources and financial services. She has worked extensively in Europe, as well as emerging markets particularly Latin America and Asia.
She has participated in several type of engagements such as Internal Audits, Internal Controls Assessments, Fraud and Investigation reviews, Risk assessment, SOX, process review and evaluation, financial and operational audits, as well as Shared Service Center internal controls’ reviews.
Kathy BeniniImmediate Past PresidentManaging Director, IHS MarkitKathy is a Managing Director at IHS Markit and Past President of WEN Greater NY Chapter. She is Head of IHS Markit’s Environmental Registry & Auction products and Co-Head of Sustainable Finance. She joined Markit in 2009 and has been responsible for the development and growth of IHS Markit’s environmental businesses across asset classes. Kathy is a frequent speaker on environmental markets and utilizing data and technology to advance the growth of carbon markets.
Kathy joined from Goldman Sachs where she was Vice President and Regional Manager of Commodity Operations responsible for all over-the-counter (OTC) structured derivative and physical transactions including global responsibility for logistics covering electricity, oil, gas, emissions and renewable energy. Prior to that, she spent numerous years in various management positions in finance, project management and operations. Kathy worked at Goldman Sachs for over 25 years and holds a degree in Economics from Eisenhower College of Rochester Institute of Technology and an MBA from Columbia University.
She has served as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of LEAP (Leadership for Energy Automated Processing) and as a member of the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) Commodities Working Group.