PARIS — Formed this year, the International Network for Women in Cooling (INWIC) has appointed its first president and president-elect. Colleen Keyworth was voted in by the board as president to serve as of January 1, 2023, with Dr. Ina Colombo-Youla as president-elect to succeed her in 2024. 

The official appointments were made after a unanimous vote during the recent quarterly INWIC board meeting. Representatives from 12 of the 13 founding partners attended the virtual meeting, despite the vast time zone differences, and voted on the nominations that had been previously submitted.  

“We want to formally congratulate our newly appointed leaders and wish them all the best in their mission to create a path where none has been before,” said the INWIC secretariat. “We are confident that INWIC can make a great difference with such strong leaders at the helm.” 

The president is elected for a one-year term whereafter the president-elect will step in to serve as the next president in the following year. The remainder of the board comprises representatives from each founding partner — a delegate plus an alternate with WRD and UNEP OzonAction jointly managing the Secretariat. 

During the board meeting, nominations were also accepted for three working groups: mentorship, membership, and media. These working groups will meet on a more regular basis and report back to the board. 


Presidential Team Ready for the Challenge

Colleen Keyworth currently resides as the 2022 president of Women in HVACR and has served on the Board of Women in HVACR group for the last nine years. During her tenure, the organization has grown from 100 to over 900 members. She is also the director of sales and marketing for Online-Access for an HVACR web marketing company located in Michigan in the United States.

“This is completely uncharted territory, but I look forward to the challenge,” said Keyworth during her acceptance speech. “It will be important to break down the barriers and learn how to work together, not just in our own silos and districts.”

“INWIC is such an important organization because for the first time ever we are being intentional about uniting women’s industry groups from all over the world,” Keyworth added. “By doing so, we are able to gather resources and share proven strategies and programs in order to skip the learning curve for groups that are just getting started. I am excited to work with Ina and to get to know the rest of the other INWIC partners. I can’t wait to tackle the challenge of bringing everyone together to open up the industry to all people.”

Dr. Ina Colombo-Youla is the deputy director general of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) where she oversees the promotion of the refrigeration industry worldwide. She holds a PhD in Engineering (carbon dioxide refrigeration for retail applications), a master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Systems, and various other degrees. She has published three academic articles on women in the RACHP industry and is an advocate for diversity in the engineering industry, particularly concerning ethnic representation.

“Congratulations to Colleen who will be my role model and mentor before taking over my role as the INWIC president in 2025,” said Dr. Colombo-Youla. “In the meantime, I will promote the INWIC memberships into the women IIR members for instance by organizing an INWIC workshop/meeting during the ICR2023 that will take place in Paris in August 2023. I believe that this network will enable to attract and retain more women into the cooling industry particularly black (African and afro-descendant) woman who are even more underrepresented.”