I met Molly Bauch three years ago at a conference in Denver and I was immediately impressed by her energy and passion for EVs. We became instant friends and discovered many other mutual loves, such as world travel, gardening, urban chickens, Thai food, and salsa dancing.
Molly is a great example of a woman who transitioned into EVs from completely unrelated professional fields – journalism and national security. She now leads a practice at Accenture on energy transition consulting and has many clients who are figuring out how to integrate EVs into their various business models. I’m excited that I discovered her climate and energy talents and look forward to seeing her career explode.
Molly, what were you doing before you started working in the EV industry?
I’m from Louisiana, where we lose a football field of land to coastal erosion roughly every hour, every day — we’ve lost the equivalent of Delaware since the 1930s. I grew up near Cancer Alley — a 100-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans with over 130 petrochemical refineries/ facilities they call the “sacrificial zone,” because of the radically higher-than-average percent of residents that die of cancer. My dad was among these residents and died of cancer by age 40.
So environmental awareness was a clear and present thing for me pretty early on. One of my first reporting beats as a journalist-in-training at the University of Georgia was the intersection of climate and policy. I won a broadcasting award for coverage of traffic sprawl in Atlanta and continued to think about and study how energy and resource scarcity catalyzed conflict through grad school at George Washington University.
9/11 happened a few days after I started said Master’s in international affairs and while I thought a lot about how climate was a force multiplier of instability, the Global War on Terror was the loudest drumbeat around. I subsequently got sidetracked thinking about terrorists, national security, and how to take the fight to the bad guys. I left journalism. I stopped covering climate. For almost a decade into my career, I focused on defense, moving through a series of homeland and intelligence community jobs, only occasionally dipping into sustainability as a hobby volunteer project/ assignment.
The more climate catastrophes piled up, however, the further away from the actual action I felt. I hit a tipping point a few years ago, when it was abundantly clear I was spending time solving the wrong problems. I ultimately made the decision that security clearances and the job security that came with them weren’t worth the squeeze. Climate was calling, so I shifted into the energy transition, where I now work – thinking about EVs, and the systems, policies, process, tech, and talent needed to scale them – and electrification, writ large.
What would you tell other women considering a career change into the EV industry?
We’ve got to rewire America and that’s going to take an enormous amount of gumption, grit, gusto, and grind – and we need all women on deck from every corner of the talent spectrum to get there. Whether it’s engineering the next long duration battery, designing a superior charging experience, educating customers about adoption, range anxiety and the superiority of a supercomputer on wheels, we’ll need women who understand human-centered needs and expectations to be front-and-center in solving for this. All skill sets and experiences welcome – it’s going to take a global village to get this done; and change isn’t going to happen without us leaning in and moving the needle ourselves.
What is the best and worst part about working in the EV industry?
Best: EVs are the on-ramp into deep decarbonization. If we get this right, we enable and empower change at scale and with the urgency we need. That’s a pretty compelling calling.
Worst: It’s not obvious or easy how we’ll get there. And – that’s ok. Change is hard. I’m often the only, lonely voice who’s got solar, an all-electric house, and an EV – but increasingly, it won’t just be a self-selected group of energy evangelists at the tip of the spear. We’re moving in the right direction – and with more empowered ladies with a point of view and seat at the table, we will get there.
What would you tell the EV industry to attract more women into the field?
Women are good for business. This is an empirical, nearly Law-of-Physics-level fact. EVs are at a major tipping point, just recently breaking 5% penetration on global vehicle sales. Companies serious about moving the needle on climate will get the right people on the bus in the right seats – and those people need to be clear-eyed and ready to scale the new energy future – and they need to be an equitable mix of lady leaders. Anyone serious about change, success, and impact will act, invest, and promote accordingly.