Liquefied natural gas
Canary Media’s Charging Up column chronicles gender diversity in the climatetech sector. Part 1 is a short Q&A with an industry role model about their career path. Part 2 features updates on career transitions. Please send feedback and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Ann Mink: A seasoned scientist turns to climatetech
How did you end up on this career path?
My career spans nearly 37 years. It began with a second-grade teacher who ignited my passion for scientific discovery. She taught me that chemistry was all around us, and from that point on, I was determined to become a chemist. As a first-generation college student, I earned a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in chemistry, specializing in electrochemistry.
I entered the industry as a research scientist at a U.S. subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, then moved to the Rohm and Haas company, which really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that being a scientist offered. After completing a two-year executive business management program, I transitioned from the lab to a commercial role in the chemical industry. I gained extensive experience across 13 global businesses in multinational companies, including executive leadership roles such as the president of a multibillion-dollar business group at Dow and CEO of Innophos Holdings.
In recent years, I’ve served as an independent director on the boards of three major public companies in the chemicals sector. Just last month, I entered the climatetech space, joining the board of Group14 Technologies, a leading manufacturer of advanced silicon battery technology. I’m excited to use my experience in the chemical and manufacturing industries to help Group14 Technologies grow, scale its global manufacturing and advance its vision in electrification and energy transition.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
In business, as in life, change and challenge are constant. So it’s important to move out of your comfort zone and embrace new opportunities when they present themselves and understand that challenges, though difficult at times, provide opportunities for continued learning and growth. Over the last three decades, being open to change and embracing challenges really allowed me to achieve my career goals.
What is a barrier you faced, and how did you overcome it?
As a woman who has held many executive roles in the predominantly male-dominated chemical industry, I often found myself as the only female at the table. Over time, I observed that women frequently weren’t given the same opportunities for advancement into leadership roles.
What I’ve learned is that getting past this starts with the internal work of building a strong sense of self, to be authentic and to embrace my unique experience, perspective and voice. Understanding my value, knowing my worth and being able to clearly demonstrate what set me apart were all imperative for my success. As a mentor to many young women in STEM fields, I consistently emphasize this message.
What do you think are some interesting, overlooked career opportunities in climatetech?
Scalable technological innovations will continue to be critical. And I’m a firm believer that to drive innovation, companies need to draw inspiration from a wide spectrum of voices and perspectives. Diversity of thought is a true asset when working to develop solutions to new challenges, and giving teams the ability to operate creatively and think outside the box can lead to transformative outcomes. The battery sector is attracting diverse, talented individuals passionate about making a difference. Opportunities exist for engineers, HR professionals and students to find a career in climatetech companies like Group14. The company’s training and reskilling initiatives are creating opportunities for work in this growing industry.
What is your superpower?
A leader is only as great as the team they lead, so good leadership really necessitates an understanding that success is a shared venture. I have received feedback from my team saying that my towering strength is my ability to motivate and persuade people toward a compelling vision. Building that sense of pride and fellowship and a culture of collaboration within teams is my superpower.
Check it out
On the most recent episode of the Climate Now podcast, Canary’s Editorial Director Eric Wesoff joins the hosts to discuss this week’s climate news and answer questions about the latest developments in the ongoing Auxin solar tariff saga. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.