Lead with Light: Meet Cara Olmsted


Lead with Light: Meet Cara Olmsted

Meet Cara Olmsted, Co-Chair of CWEEL

Cara is an inspiring energy industry leader and current Co-Chair for the Council on Women in Environmental and Energy Leadership (CWEEL) who has adapted to change in her career and seen the benefits. Keep reading to see how Cara blazes a trail, lighting the way for energy professionals.

Cara Olmsted on a spontaneous trip to Europe in April 2024 with two of her daughters.
Cara Olmsted on a spontaneous trip to Europe in April 2024 with two of her daughters.

What is your current role? Where did you start at your company, and how has your role evolved over time?

Cara is a Senior Director at RWE Clean Energy, a subsidiary of RWE AG, focused on the development, ownership, and long- term operation of renewable energy generating assets, including solar, wind, battery storage, and hydrogen.  RWE Clean Energy is the result of the purchase of Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, by RWE AG, and the combination of RWE Americas with Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses in March of 2023.  They currently have over 8 GW of renewable generation installed in the Americas and a goal to invest 50 billion e by 2030.

For the past 3 years, pre and post-acquisition, she has been part of the Distributed Clean Energy group with the organization.  Her current responsibilities include portfolio management of community solar assets; budgeting, forecasting and analysis; commercial contract structuring & negotiations; and the development of new technology solutions.

Prior to this position, while at Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, she managed the Demand Response line of business, and oversaw the new business development for the retail commodity and energy services lines of business.  In addition, she has been the lead on corporate strategic initiatives that resulted in the formation of Con Edison Solutions, the ESCO, following the deregulation of energy generation in 1997 and the commitment of resources to develop the grid and distributed solar lines of business in 2009.

Early in her career, she was in the Natural Gas Supply and Marketing department at Con Edison Company of New York, the utility.  Here she developed the economic models and deal structures for converting large oil using customers to Natural Gas.

Cara has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Missouri, and an MBA from Fordham University.

What does an average day for you look like?

Cara's day begins at 5:00 am and she reads until 6:00 am. From 6 to 6:30 am she exercises and gets online to work by 8:00 am.  Currently she is reading Slow Productivity by Cal Newport, an excellent read to enhance the quality of your work life and your sense of fulfillment in what you do.  Her current exercise is rucking, 25lbs of weights on my back for 1–3-mile walk.  This works just about every muscle group and doesn't she know it.

What’s something you do that you’re proud of?

Cara has loved her work all of her career and at this point, she not only continues to participate in the transformation of the industry, but she is able to give back to the next generation and provide perspective on how things have evolved and what we have to consider in what we do today.

What is your current role on the CWEEL Governing Council? What do you hope to accomplish while on board? 

Cara is the Co-Chair of the Governing Council along with Deb Lenny.  She is also the Chief Strategy Officer. Her goal is to expand our voice through our programming in support of women in developing their careers in energy.  Given that we are a Division of AEE, and our membership is now free, there is no impediment to women joining the organization and taking advantage of all the benefits CWEEL has to offer including our mentoring programs, event speakers, and career webinars, and networking opportunities.  Our Governing Council consists of 12 industry leaders who are dedicated to bringing meaningful programming to our members.

How do you hope to inspire other women in the energy and environmental industry?

She wants to inspire women to be the leader of their own lives.  Take the time to reflect upon who you are and what makes you tick, what makes you happy and fulfilled.  Then go get it.  You will do this all of your life because although the sea may be calm at times, it is always moving, and we must be alert and listen to the changing winds within us.

Connect with Cara on LinkedIn!

Cara's journey exemplifies the importance of staying curious and adaptable. She transitioned across different roles within the energy industry, from natural gas supply to renewable energy management. By embracing change and learning new technologies, we hope her story inspires young professionals to be open-minded and agile in their careers.


The Council on Women in Environmental and Energy Leadership (CWEEL) serves as a platform for professional women to grow, learn, and connect. With committees focused on encouraging, leading, and supporting, CWEEL is committed to fostering opportunities for women in the industry. You too can join CWEEL by adding division membership to your existing (or new) AEE membership. You can also deepen your commitment to our mission by forming a CWEEL group within your local AEE Chapter or by joining one of our Governing Council committees. To submit interest in joining a committee or starting a group, please email [email protected].