Diana Gao: Developing Future With Renewable Solutions

Diana Gao: Developing Future With Renewable Solutions

  Diana Gao,     Chief Marketing Officer

Diana Gao

Chief Marketing Officer

An alumnus of the University of New South Wales, Diana Gao, Chief Marketing Officer, Athena Energy Limited is an accomplished leader in the infrastructure & energy industry. During her university days, while conducting solar research, she developed a keen interest in renewable energy. On working across different countries, she grew deep domain expertise in the power sector. She had worked in diversifying capacities including consultant, engineer, transactional advisory, and also as an investor and operator of the energy assets. Over the years, the proficient leader has acquired extensive international exposure by working in the regions of Australia, Singapore, China, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia.

Apart from being the CMO of Athena Energy, she is also its co-founder and started the company with the vision to contribute towards a greener future. Previously, she was the APAC Power Business lead at Advisian Worley, ASX listed entity. Leveraging her skills, experiences, and connections within the ecosystem, she has been able to shift the mindset of the financial institutions to support renewable energy projects and encourage decarbonization globally. Diana is a seasoned professional under whose leadership Athena Energy has been able to be a leading renewable energy infrastructure developer and place a strong presence in the Asia Pacific region. Let's hear it from her.

How would you define the work culture in Athena Energy? What keeps your team motivated? At Athena Energy, we enjoy a healthy work culture within the organization, forging and maintaining strong bonds across our teams in different countries. We are not afraid of the challenges that come our way, instead remaining steadfast in our focus to find solutions for these problem sets. Our work culture encourages us to engage meaningfully and enjoy our discussion with each other and our stakeholders. Our team is very passionate about the work we are doing picking up challenges every day and designing solutions, is what keeps us motivated.

We as a team are very passionate about the work we are doing; picking up challenges every day and designing solutions, is what keeps us motivated

What kind of marketing and business development strategies do you follow to successfully execute energy projects? To successfully secure an energy project, we need to have a good understanding of the mega-trends and the macro environment of the global economy. Secondly, we must be aware of the target country's electricity master planning and its legal framework including the permitting issues. Above that, we must have domain experts who understand the technical know-how and a commercial structure to ensure the viability of the project. At last, a proper project financing & strategic structure are required to understand the lender's concern to make a project commercially viable. Our investment in the energy project is a long-term infrastructural investment that always incurs Capex upfront and recoups our investment and a reasonable profit in the next 15-20 years. While addressing environmental and social impact issues, it is also imperative that we remain respectful to local communities and earn our social license to operate. We are committed to maintaining good relationships with our key stakeholders, partners, and service providers so that we can get the necessary support in need. 

What were some of the most challenging circumstances you had to overcome to become a competent leader? The renewable energy industry has been a traditionally male-dominated sector. Hence, overcoming skepticism and bias has always been a challenge for me. Nonetheless, I have proven that these challenges can be overcome with a relentless tenacity to learn new things and maintaining a strong ability to adapt to a constantly changing environment.  I maintain a strong belief in myself to continuously improve, be able to hold my own weight and even be better than my peers, regardless of gender, age, and background. 

How do you maintain the perfect balance between your personal and professional life? It is quite a challenge to have a perfect balance between personal and professional life, especially with kids. But it is possible with the support of the family and colleagues. Also, it takes a personal commitment in drawing the line between family and work life. I make sure to devote myself entirely to the present moment and give my undivided attention toward one part of my life at a time, rather than trying to do everything together. 

What is your anticipation of the changing market behavior and what are the opportunities that you foresee? What are your future goals as an entrepreneur? I believe the government policies regarding renewable energy projects would become clearer. Companies with strong financial plans coupled with well defined longterm strategies driven by a strong execution team will survive in the market. 

Athena is looking forward to focusing on renewable energy and sustainability. We will be also transforming the company by implementing technologies like AI. Considering the widest application of hydrogen in our daily lives, we are planning to implement it to transform the energy market in the future. We will be focusing on enhancing efficiency and better optimization of assets to intensify the value chain in the market. 

Diana Gao, Chief Marketing Officer, Athena Energy Diana is an accomplished leader with rich experience in the Infrastructure & Energy Sectors for developing gas fired co generation plants, coal-fired power plants, wind farms, and renewable energy across international borders. 

Hobbies: Travelling Awards & Recognition: Recognized as the Most Outstanding Female Engineering Student by Motorola 

Current Issue