An interview with Neha Bhat, the new Energy Coalition Chair

By McKenzie Ganders

With the new school year off and running, the Energy Coalition (EC) is ushering in a new era of leadership.

Among that board is the sixth chair to serve in that capacity since the group’s inception, Neha Bhat – a senior simultaneously working towards her bachelor’s and master’s in accounting.

Now, how does an accounting major take the reins of the largest energy-centric student organization in the country?

Bhat first became interested in joining the EC during her sophomore year when she decided to attend the group’s yearly Energy Banquet; a night spent hosting students, esteemed alumni, industry executives, government officials and more. After that, she realized how unique and broad the energy industry was and the various career opportunities the field brings to a wide range of interests.

“I had a blast at the first banquet I attended,” Bhat shared. “I realized it’s rare to be a part of an organization that interconnects peers and industry leaders across various fields and colleges. I love the operational value and gross margin improvements an accountant can add to the energy market. The industry challenges you to think in unique ways, which I find incredibly enjoyable.”

No stranger to leadership roles, Bhat isn’t taking her responsibilities lightly, saying that teamwork is essential toward the success of the EC as well as her own.

“My previous experience as the President of the Internal Audit Student Association and being a working student has taught me time management,” Bhat said. “This preparedness as well as having such an amazing team is what makes being Chair not only manageable, but fulfilling. We’re always looking towards the future. If we want to grow, we have to share ideas and have conversations as a team. Without that, we stay stagnant, and nothing gets accomplished.”

Keeping this in mind, the EC has focused their attention on two main goals for the 2021-2022 school year. One goal Bhat shared was the group’s Internal Grassroots Campaign (IGC) – an initiative designed to ensure recognition of its union-ship from energy industry partners. Beyond their domestic goals, the organization aims to bring international awareness to its brand.

“To support our IGC, the EC is hosting several events and tailgates to initiate conversations and interest,” Bhat explained. “Our intent is to create deeper connections within our community, through various events such as our ‘Energy 101’ event that happened on October 18. We hope to showcase the value we can offer students and professionals within the market.”

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Energy Coalition has managed to find opportunities for growth and creativity, Bhat said.

“At the start of last year, it was difficult to imagine how the pandemic would impact our goals for the EC,” Bhat said. “But it’s inspired new ideas for bringing awareness to our organization. It’s been a learning curve for sure, but having a great team comes in handy.”

The EC puts their team at the heart of everything they do, especially during trying times. Being a part of such a large group can be intimidating, but Bhat guaranteed each and every member holds similar values when it comes to inclusivity. She encouraged other students interested in the energy industry to take a chance and join as she did.

“You don’t realize how much you’ll enjoy it until you start conversations and network to create those bonds,” Bhat said. “The EC is a chanc