Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders: Challenge – Session Three (Jun 24-26)

An intensive training for high potential managers and supervisors through exposure to broad perspectives of the utility business, its interrelationships and successful leadership strategies. This program is designed by a utility-driven Curriculum Development Team, and directed by facilitators, and executive and alumni mentors. Program sessions are hosted by member utilities and topics are presented by executives, subject matter experts and formal instructors. The first four sessions focus on leadership development, industry perspectives, customer connections, communications and strategic planning. The program includes a capstone project which is delivered to industry leaders at the WEI Annual Meeting. Participants build a broad peer network that continues well into their future careers.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Anna Scarlett, Director of Shared Services, Avista

    • Program Location
    • Tacoma Public Utilities
    • 3628 S. 35th Street
      Tacoma, Washington 98409
    • Who Should Attend
    • Participants are nominated by WEI members and selected through a formal application review process. Applicants make a commitment to attend and actively participate at each session, and should plan time for additional work between sessions. It is expected that students commit to completing “homework” assignments during evenings and off-hours with additional assignments required outside of the normal work day. Each group is assigned one executive and one alumni mentor who will support the group’s development throughout the program and guide them to a successful final project.

  • Full Course Dates + Locations
  • Session 3: June 24-26, Tacoma Public Utilities, Tacoma, WA
    Session 4: August 7-9, Hydro One, Toronto, ON
    Session 5: September 15-17, Annual Meeting, Carlsbad, CA

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations and the critical role of group compositions for the success of the program, cancellations received after January 5, 2018, will not be eligible for a refund, and the organization will be responsible for the full 2018 registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the program are always welcome prior to session one.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.


Monday, June 24, 2019

9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Optional Capstone Project Work Time

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Registration and Check-In

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome to Session Three
Speaker(s): Anna Scarlett, Director, Shared Services, Avista Utilities

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Welcome to Tacoma Public Utilities
Speaker(s): Chris Robinson, General Manager / Chief Operations Officer, Tacoma Power

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM


2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Digital Transformation for Utilities: A Customer and Workforce Perspective
Speaker(s): Joe Tellez, Chief Technology Officer, Tacoma Power

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Peer Roundtable Discussions

The group will beak in to four tables for peer to peer roundtable discussions. Students should bring issues/best practices/questions to address with their fellow students in these areas. The point is to get feedback and perspective on how other companies approach your issue so you can have more tools to be successful. Students who do not fit in to these four specific areas will join a table that closely relates to a group that they work with or support at their company or an area that they want to know more about.

5:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Return to Hotel

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Breakfast at Host Utility

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Internal and External Communications Strategy
Speaker(s): Chris Robinson, General Manager / Chief Operations Officer, Tacoma Power, Dan Drennan, Manager, Market Development, Tacoma Public Utilities, Rebekah Anderson, Communications Manager, Tacoma Public Utilities

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Customer Segments & Trends
Speaker(s): Dan Drennan, Manager, Market Development, Tacoma Public Utilities

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Customer Experience & Analytics
Speaker(s): Steve Hatcher, Customer Services Manager, Tacoma Power

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Business Acumen Homework Discussion

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM


1:15 PM - 4:00 PM

A Trio of Tours

Split into three groups to rotate through tours of the Power Trading Floor, Power Warehouse, and Energy Control Center.

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

WEI BAEL Program Reception for Students, Hosts and Special Guests

The Gallery
Hotel Murano
1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, WA

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Breakfast at Host Utility

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Leadership Presence Workshop
Speaker(s): Seka Ojdrovic-Phillips, Associate, The Humphrey Group

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM


12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Executive Speaker
Speaker(s): Jackie Flowers, Director, Tacoma Public Utilities

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Wrap Up and Debrief

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Optional Capstone Project Work Time

Hotel + Travel

  • Hotel Murano
  • 1320 Broadway Plaza
  • Tacoma, Washington 98402
  • Phone: (888) 862-3255

  • Click here to make your reservation now.
  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (877) 986-8083 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI) Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders to receive a special rate of $169 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until June 3, 2019 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Chris Robinson

Tacoma Power

General Manager / Chief Operations Officer

Joe Tellez

Tacoma Power

Chief Technology Officer

Dan Drennan

Tacoma Public Utilities

Manager, Market Development

Steve Hatcher

Tacoma Power

Customer Services Manager

Jacqueline Flowers

Tacoma Public Utilities


Anna Scarlett

Avista Utilities

Director, Shared Services

Seka Ojdrovic-Phillips

The Humphrey Group


Rebekah Anderson

Tacoma Public Utilities

Communications Manager