Seven women discuss their work and life experiences in meteorology and related fields. They review the progress or lack thereof made during the past three decades in efforts to create gender balance and equality in the global weather enterprise – how far have we come? How far do we still have to go?
As many people know, much effort has been made over the past 30 years to bring gender balance to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM as it is called, by various intergovernmental, public, private and academic institutions. While gains have been made in this direction in the fields of meteorology and hydrology, there is still much more work to be done before we can claim gender parity in terms of the full participation of women at all levels and particularly in leadership positions in these fields.
Our roundtable brings together 7 women with long and varied experience in working in meteorology and related fields with diverse backgrounds of national meteorological and hydrological services, private sector, the United Nations system, development, research, academia, and media.
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Anna-Maria Bogdanova is Disaster Risk Management Specialist in the Global Hydromet Program led by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) of the World Bank. Anna-Maria provides operational support to the teams and projects addressing various aspects of hydromet and early warning services in Africa, the Caribbean region, Russia and South Asia, monitors and evaluates the portfolio of hydromet operations to identify best practices, and contributes to the team’s work with international organizations, donors and partnering institutions. Prior to this position, Anna-Maria worked as an Operations Officer in the World Bank Russia Country Unit. She joined the World Bank in 2004.
Boram Lee is senior consultant to the Hydromet Program of the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Her work includes analytical and technical advice on innovative approaches to improve the capability of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and on the public-private partnership. Throughout her career, Boram has been involved in the global coordination of weather/climate/ocean research, as well as in the decision-making support for intergovernmental processes and inter-agency collaborations. Boram has worked for over 20 years at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and Korea Meteorological Administration. Boram holds a PhD in climatology from the Université Paris VI, France, MSc and BSc degrees in Atmospheric Science from the Seoul National University in Korea, and an MBA from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
Claire Martin Morehen is a qualified meteorologist, TV broadcaster-host, public speaker and office manager-director with 3 decades of work experience ranging from official weather observing and forecasting, to television broadcasting and managing a TV production company. Currently Claire is Manager, Service Delivery Transformation, Environment and Climate Change Canada, where she focuses on re-engaging, rebuilding and strengthening relationships between Canadians and national Meteorological Service. Prior to that, Claire served as President and CEO of Met Media Services helping various organizations including UK Met. Office, the Irish Meteorological Service and The City of Toronto Water Services with corporate branding, media communications, and social media management. In the 2015 Canadian Federal Election, she ran as the candidate for North Vancouver as climate critic for the Green Party of Canada and ranked 3rd. Claire also advised Canadian political delegation at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, COP21. Between 2005-2014, she worked as Senior Meteorologist at CBC Newsworld. Claire holds a BSc in Meteorology from the University of Alberta, Canada.
Haleh Kootval joined the World Bank as a senior consulting specialist in meteorology and service delivery in April 2017. She has been working in countries in South Asia, Central Europe, the Caribbean and Africa on hydromet modernization projects, and in South East Asia as senior service delivery expert to the Government of Laos. Prior to that, Haleh worked in WMO as the Chief of the Public Weather Services Program, which she set up in 1994 and continued to develop until her departure from WMO. She has co-authored and edited more than 30 publications on various aspects of service delivery with a focus on public weather services. Prior to joining WMO, Haleh served as the Head of the Brunei Meteorological Service and the Permanent Representative of Brunei with WMO, the President of WMO Regional Association for Asia and South West Pacific, and as a member of the WMO Executive Council. Haleh is a physics graduate of the Imperial College of London University, and completed her post graduate studies in geophysics.
Hanneke Schuurmans, MSc, PhD, is Leading Professional Climate Resilience at Royal HaskoningDHV. Hanneke is responsible for the development of scalable digital services that enable industries and governments to become more resilient towards climate related disruptions. With almost 20 years´ experience she has worked worldwide on climate risk assessments, building with nature projects and implementations of flood and drought early warning systems. Hanneke holds a PhD in Hydrometeorology with a specialization in the use of remote sensing techniques in computation models. One of her most recent activities has been the development of the multi-hazard intelligence platform, which aims to help the end-users to stay in business by getting insight into their past risks, act upon real-time events and be resilient for future changes. See www.resiliencesuite.com for more info. Hanneke’s main responsibility is in the development of the hazard data, the interaction with data and scientific partners, and in the alignment of IT-architect regarding the needed backend components to meet the requirements.
Maria A. Pirone is Business Development and Capture Director for Civil Space, National Security and Space Sector, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Before joining SAIC in 2021, Maria was Senior Principal, Strategy & Business Development in the Spectral Solutions Business Unit, Space & Airborne Systems, L3Harris Corporation. Between 2003 and 2009, she was VP of the Commercial Division at Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER). In that capacity, Maria was responsible for product management, sales, and marketing of weather and climate forecast products for the energy, financial and insurance markets. She has held senior management positions in marketing and IT services throughout her forty-year career in weather and information services. Currently serving on the advisory board for Mill¬ersville University’s Master of Science in Integrated Scientific Applications program, Maria was appointed to the Weather and Air Quality Panel of the 2017 National Academies of Sciences Earth Sciences and Applications from Space. She has an Executive MBA in Finance and a BSc degree in Chemistry from Suffolk University, USA.
Shiromani Priyanthika Jayawardena is Director of Meteorology (Forecasting and Decision Support), Department of Meteorology, Sri Lanka. Shiromani has held senior positions at the Department of Meteorology including Deputy Director (Weather Forecasting and Decision Support) and Deputy Director (Climate Change and Research). Before that, she served as Meteorologist, National Meteorological Center, and Aviation Meteorologist, Aviation Meteorological Center, Katunayake International Airport. In 2015, Shiromani was Visiting Researcher, Center for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Australia, working on “Intra-seasonal rainfall variability in Sri Lanka”. Her research interests involve climate variability, intra-seasonal variability, tropical cyclones, storm surge, climate change, seasonal forecasting, heavy rainfall events, and Asian Monsoon. She has numerous publications on the topics listed above. Shiromani holds a PhD from Open University of Sri Lanka, an MSc in Meteorology from University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA, and a BSc in Physics from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.