Business Acumen for Emerging Leaders: Opportunity – Session Three – Virtual (Jun 22-24)

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 Location
  • Virtual Event
  • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific time. Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided to the attendee before the program.
  • 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 22-24, Virtual
    Session 4: August 17-19, Virtual
    Session 5: September 27-29, Annual Meeting, Virtual

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations and the critical role of group compositions for the success of the program, cancellations received after January 31, 2021, will not be eligible for a refund, and the organization will be responsible for the full 2021 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. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Christopher Lee, Senior Program Manager at (971) 255-4967.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Virtual Help Desk + Technology Check

The room will open early with optional time for participants to get familiar with the virtual platform, test their audio and webcam, or ask questions about the agenda before we begin.

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Customer Speaker
Speaker(s): Michelle Ansani, Director Call Center, Southwest Gas Corporation

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM


10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Executive Speaker
Speaker(s): Kevin Christie, Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Chief Customer Officer, Avista Corp.

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM


12:15 PM - 1:00 PM

Virtual Tour + Manufacturer Speaker
Speaker(s): Michael Schleich, VP Product Management, Itron, Inc.

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Key Account Panel
Moderator(s): Tegan Knifton, Supervisor, Commercial Delivery, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Panelist(s): Justin Brock, Customer Service & Key Accounts Manager, Northern Wasco County PUD, Sandra Ball, Manager, Business Customer Service, Seattle City Light, Zeecha Van Hoose, Sr Key Accounts and Industrial Programs, Clark Public Utilities

1:30 PM - 1:45 PM


1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

Capstone Team Building Activity

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM


2:45 PM - 3:30 PM

Cohort Networking Activity

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Virtual Help Desk + Technology Check

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Strengths Based Leadership Workshop
Speaker(s): Shannon Earley, Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Volare Strengths

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM


10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Strengths Based Leadership Workshop

11:15 AM - 1:15 PM

Break + Capstone Work Time

Please dedicate at least 60 minutes to break.

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Capstone Collaborations

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Social Networking Activity

WEI or Mentors will lead a networking activity

Thursday, June 24, 2021

8:15 AM - 8:30 AM

Virtual Help Desk + Technology Check

8:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Leadership Presence Workshop
Speaker(s): Dan Dumsha, Consultant, The Humphrey Group

9:50 AM - 10:10 AM


10:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Leadership Presence Workshop

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM


12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Industry Roundtable

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Capstone Report Out

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Mentor Panel + Preview

Meet The Speakers

Michelle Ansani

Southwest Gas Corporation

Director Call Center

Kevin Christie

Avista Corp.

Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Chief Customer Officer

Tegan Knifton

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Supervisor, Commercial Delivery

Sandra Ball

Seattle City Light

Manager, Business Customer Service

Zeecha Van Hoose

Clark Public Utilities

Sr Key Accounts and Industrial Programs

Justin Brock

Northern Wasco County PUD

Customer Service & Key Accounts Manager

Dan Dumsha

The Humphrey Group


Shannon Earley

Volare Strengths

Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach

Michael Schleich

Itron, Inc.

VP Product Management