Selina Wrighter – Green Climate Fund (GCF) – Interview
Global Careers for Women Event – Oct 2018
The Green Climate Fund recently helped sponsor our Bi-annual “Global Careers For Women” Online event, as we continue our journey towards gender parity. #PressForParity
We caught up with Selina Wrigther to chat about her background and working at The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
Name: Selina Wrighter
Title: Senior Adviser to the Executive Director
Residence: Republic of Korea
How long have you been working for GCF?
A year and 2 months
What is your background? What did you do/study before working for GCF?
I have an undergrad in Arts/Law from the University of Sydney, and a Masters of Law from Harvard University. I started my career as a transactional lawyer for Baker & McKenzie, in their energy and resources practice. After doing my masters I moved to the Australian Government (then: the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency), where I worked on international climate negotiations in the UNFCCC.
What first attracted you to work for GCF?
I admit I’m a climate change die-hard! Working at the GCF is an opportunity to be at the leading edge of the response to climate change, working with developing countries where support for mitigation and adaptation action is so much needed. Also, you don’t pass up an opportunity to work with Mr Howard Bamsey, our then-ED – and a guru on climate.
What single fact would surprise people the most about you?
I have a Ugandan mum and dad! Well actually – they’re my second mum and dad. I stayed with them for 7 months after the Paris COP, volunteering at their school and orphanage in Kalagi, about 45 minutes out of Kampala. The family and the kids there are my second family.
What is the best thing about working for GCF?
You get to work on one of the greatest social, economic and policy challenges of our time. You get to work with an incredible group of inspiring, committed people. And because it’s still a young institution, you get to really shape the way the institution works and way we work with our countries and partners. There’s space to try new ideas.
What are your proudest achievements within your career?
Being a part of the successful conclusion of the Paris Agreement in 2015 – many years of preparation, many sleepless nights, and such a huge celebration when the world adopted a truly landmark deal.
What has been your greatest challenge as a woman during your career?
I still don’t believe there is equality of opportunity for men and women as they progress through their careers. Too often I still walk into a meeting of senior managers or attend a conference where the panel is dominated by men. But the climate change world also has some truly great female leaders – and I know that they would’ve had it tougher than women coming through their careers today. To follow in their footsteps is a great motivator.
Is there anything about working at GCF, that you did not expect when starting?
The politics within which the Fund operates can be tough. But I also didn’t expect to have such a strong network of colleagues and friends who really band together when the going gets rough.
What do you believe is/are the most important skill(s) needed as a woman for an international career in your job field?
Belief in yourself: don’t be afraid to pursue the opportunities you’re interested in, say what you think, shift the dial. Many men will do it worse!