The inspiring women working in key roles within the LPG industry

Tuesday 8th March 2022

Sophia Haywood, Director of Public Affairs at Liquid Gas UK

Sophia Haywood is Director of Public Affairs at Liquid Gas UK. As part of our series of interviews to celebrate International Women’s Day we spoke to her about her role, her career path and the advice she’d like to give to young people entering the LPG industry.

How long have you working at Liquid Gas UK and what we your career path prior to joining the industry?

I’ve been at Liquid Gas UK for over three years, prior to that I’ve worked in other parts of the energy sector, chamber of commerce network and for a politician.

What inspired you to join the LPG industry?

I like a challenge! One thing that was clear when I joined Liquid Gas UK was that industry was at the start of a transformative journey, I was excited about the opportunity to be part of that and help shape the narrative for the sector. I could tell it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing and that there were huge opportunities, but also challenges – something to get my teeth stuck into. 3 years later, I wouldn’t look back.

What has your career path/education been?

While studying Modern History & Politics at Aberystwyth university I was lucky enough to earn a place on a Parliamentary Placement Scheme, where I went and worked for Julie Morgan MS in Cardiff. Post-university, I then worked for Julie for a year – learning the ins and outs of policy making, but decided I very much envied the individuals who would come and sit on the other side of the desk to lobby their case – which is why I moved into public affairs. 8 years later, here I am!

What does your role involve?

As Director of Public Affairs, I lead in developing and delivering our public affairs and external communications strategies, alongside my team and colleagues. On a day-to-day basis, this can range with meeting with politicians to curating consultation responses, looking to build relationships to commenting to the media. It’s very varied but my number one priority is to represent member’s interests and secure the role for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the future energy mix… ok that might be two priorities!

Who is your biggest role model in the industry?

One of my industry role models is Neil Schofield, Head of External Affairs at Worcester Bosch, as he really took me under his wing pre-Liquid Gas UK when I used to work for Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.

As my mentor, he taught me all the fundamentals on public affairs and parliamentary engagement, setting me on the path I’m on today. He’s a legend in the heating space, whether people agree with him or not, he’s always respected. Also, I literally wouldn’t be here at Liquid Gas UK if it wasn’t for him, he introduced me to the organisation and encouraged me to go for the job – so I have a lot to thank him for.

What would you like to tell young people, particularly women coming into the industry?

There is a huge opportunity for women of all ages and backgrounds to join the LPG Industry. Industry is investing for the future, innovating and exploring exciting technologies, and shaping how LPG can support the energy transition. Whether engineering or sales, taking up an apprenticeship or joining at a later stage in life, there is a need and a want for female talent across all types of roles.

What has surprised you most about the LPG industry?

Just how interesting LPG actually is. Non-LPG people hear me out… it heats hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, powers distilleries and other industries and supports agriculture. It cooks tasty street food (or depending on your cooking ability, burns your burgers on the bbq), boils a kettle on the top of a mountain and keeps a variety of vehicles on the move – if that’s not enough, its literally the Olympic flame. I think that’s quite interesting.

The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK