Meet edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2020: Faye Hyslop, SGN
This new series profiles the members of edie's 30 Under 30 - a nomination-based community of 30 hugely talented young sustainability and energy professionals who have already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise. Up next: Faye Hyslop, environment manager at SGN.
The future of business leadership starts right here. Last year, edie unveiled the second cohort of members of its 30 Under 30 initiative – a group of bright and ambitious rising sustainability and energy stars from across the UK.
After being nominated by their colleagues and impressing judges from Global Action Plan and the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), this cohort of youthful visionaries now benefits from an unrivalled opportunity to connect with one another and co-develop solutions to some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our time.
In this weekly series, we will be sharing their stories and successes beyond the group, giving edie readers insight into the minds of those who will be leading the charge in creating the low-carbon, resource-efficient economies of the future.
This week, it's the turn of Faye Hyslop, environment manager at one of the UK's major gas distribution companies, SGN.
How I got to where I am now:
“I actually started for SGN as a cleaner before moving to a receptionist role at head office. From there, I progressed to facilities coordinator, facilities manager, environment advisor and environment manager.
“My journey up was definitely unconventional but pretty cool. I secured my current role by studying for an Open University degree while working and trying to learn as much as possible from my colleagues. I really wanted that career change and to focus on environmental issues, so I just kept pushing and pushing until the role became available.
“My current role covers Scotland and Ireland and I’m the only one with that environmental responsibility.”
My biggest career achievement to date has been:
“Of course, I’d mention doing the Open University degree. That was the best decision for me even though it was very difficult, taking seven years part-time. I’m now on my Masters with them.
“But also, securing my current role and being chosen as one of the edie 30 under 30.”
The biggest challenge I have encountered along the way is:
“Working as a woman in a male-dominated industry and trying to pave the way for other women who would like operational roles.
“My role isn’t hugely operational, but I do have to do things like site visits and external meetings, and, a lot of the time, I’ll be the only woman there.”
If I had to describe my generation in one word or phrase, I would say:
“Determined to make a difference and drive change for the better.”
A successful 2021 for me looks like:
“We managed to do quite a lot during lockdown; we have recently launched our new sustainability strategy and our collaborative report on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with other UK gas networks. This will form the foundation to a sector-wide approach to these common Goals.
“We’ve also started the initial work to deliver the new goals, including net-zero by 2045, in line with Scotland’s target.
“This year, we’ll be keeping the ball rolling on a lot of renewable energy projects, circular economy projects and biodiversity initiatives. We’ll also be engaging with the executives regularly to educate them on topics that are newer to us. The focus for the coming years is very different; previously, the approach has centred on reducing carbon footprinting.”
Outside of my career, I enjoy:
“Musical theatre and dancing.
“Also, I’m currently preparing for my next big challenge – the birth of my first child!”
My ‘Mission Possible’ message for business is:
“If we don’t transition to net-zero, many businesses will not exist in the future. Moreover, net-zero is not way off in the future. We need to make changes now to ensure that we meet our goals.”
My key piece of advice for any young professionals entering my industry today is:
“Take every opportunity you can. Just because an organisation is not ‘green’ already, this doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference.
“People may ask why airports, for example, or gas companies, have an environment manager or team. But sometimes, you can make more of a difference working for a traditionally carbon-intensive company. Like me, you could help your company change business models for good by transitioning to net zero and contribute majorly to the decarbonisation of the whole country.”
The full Class of 2020 membership is detailed here.
To stay in the loop for 2021 nominations for the 30 Under 30, email firstname.lastname@example.org.