This program has been postponed. New dates will be announced in the future. If you have any questions or you’d like to be notified when the rescheduled dates are available, please contact the event planner directly.
Neena Master, Director, Customer Services, Southeast Region, Southern California Gas Company
Denise Wilcox, Vice President, Human Resources, New Mexico Gas Company
Hilton Portland Downtown
921 SW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97204
Who Should Attend
• Corporate and customer service senior management
• Customer experience and channel managers
• Service center managers
• Customer program managers
• Community outreach and public relations professionals
• Human resources professionals
• IT and technology professionals
• Data analysts, scientists and management professionals
• Enterprise risk management leaders
• Risk analysts
• Compliance analyst/managers
• Change Management Professionals
• Service company providers
Do you need help getting approval to attend the Symposium? We’ve put together a downloadable sample letter to help you with the process.
Conference Registration Member: $799 USD (speakers and delegates)
Conference Registration Regular: $1,799 USD
Registration prices increase $150 after February 23, 2020. Registration includes full conference access and materials. Does not include pre-conference networking tours that have separate fees. Guest passes are available for $99 and allow a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event. Guest registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials. Does not include pre-conference networking tours that have separate fees.
General Cancellation Policy
Due to contractual obligations, cancellations received 15 business days prior to the program will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 6 to 14 business days prior to the event will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. No shows and last minute cancellations, 5 business days prior to the event or less, will be responsible for the full registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the same event are always welcome.
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.
For more information contact Amy Nye, Program Manager at (503) 688-2794.
8:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Optional Pre-Conference Networking Activities
Bonneville Dam + Columbia River Gorge Tour: 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Downtown Portland Walking Brunch Tour: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Please indicate your interest in attending one of the tours when registering. See the Networking tab for more details.
1:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Registration Desk Open – Name Badge Pickup
For guests who wish to pick up their conference materials prior to the opening keynote, we provide early registration check-in.
2:00 PM – 4:15 PM
Vendor Displays Open
Pick up a scavenger hunt card and complete to win prizes.
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM
Program Development Team and First-Time Attendee Meetup
If this is your first time attending a WEI event show up early to meet the Program Development Teams that make this conference possible. We want you to get the most out of your experience at the Symposium!
4:00 PM – 4:20 PM
Welcome to Portland and the 2020 Customer + Corporate Symposium Opening
4:20 PM – 5:30 PM
Leading with Spark: Create a Culture Where Everyone Matters
Speaker: Simon Bailey, Chief Executive Officer, Simon T. Bailey International
Transformational leaders are divergent thinkers who refuse to settle for a status quo culture. They are relentless in creating an environment where everyone belongs and brings their best selves to work. This is a conscious inclusive mindset that fosters growth, high performance, and trust. Culture is more than the mission and vision of the organization. Culture happens when no one is looking. As business changes at the speed of light, an organization’s culture will stand the test of time if it’s built on the right foundation. Culture is the game changer that attracts talent, engages customers, and establishes a brand in the next decade.
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
All conference coffee service sponsored by:
8:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Morning Welcome + Keynote
Speaker: Brian Solis, Futurist, Digital Anthropologist, and Author, Self Employed
Brian Solis has been called one of the greatest digital analysts of our time by CMOs and CEOs of top brands. He studies disruptive technology and its impact on business, working as a digital anthropologist who seeks to better understand how technology affects and shapes behaviors, norms and society. Through his research and published work, Brian humanizes disruptive trends to help leaders understand how technology, markets and people are evolving and how to drive innovation and growth.
9:45 AM – 10:15 AM
Break with Vendors
Pick up a scavenger hunt card and complete to win prizes.
10:15 AM – 11:45 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session
Customer Contact Transformation – Exposing the Bottom Line: From Customers to Shareholders
Data-Driven Insights – In the Beginning … There was Data
Emerging Threats + Risk Management – Enterprise Risk Management: A Journey, Not a Destination
Evolving Your Brand Identity – Looking Outside of the Utility Industry to Inspire Your Brand
Facing Customer Disruptors – Embracing the Challenges + Opportunities with the Growth of EVs + Renewables
Innovation + Business Agility – Showcasing Innovation
Insights That Drive Customer Value – Translating Satisfaction to Value
Our People – Diversity, Equity + Inclusion: Creating an Environment Where Everyone Can Thrive
11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
Vendor Showcase Lunch sponsored by:
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Break with Therapy Dogs
Take a break with therapy dogs from Portland Area Canine Therapy Teams (PACTT) from DoveLewis. Research shows that the power of the human-animal bond can lower stress and help improve health. Therapy animals offer acceptance, affection, physical and mental support, and plenty of hugs from a gentle furry friend.
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session
Customer Contact Transformation – Contact Center Development – From Agent to Leader
Data-Driven Insights – Treat Your Data Like an Asset
Emerging Threats + Risk Management – A New Emerging Threat: Wildfires
Evolving Your Brand Identity – Using Today’s Voice of the Customer to Improve Tomorrow’s Brand Value
Facing Customer Disruptors – Hydrogen – Enabling the Energy Transition
Innovation + Business Agility – Tackling Roadblocks to Innovation
Insights That Drive Customer Value – Leveraging Your Customer Feedback to Create a Better Customer Experience
Our People – How Enterprise Change Management Impacts Our People
2:45 PM – 3:15 PM
Break with Vendors
3:15 PM – 4:30 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session
Customer Contact Transformation – Creating a Collaborative Culture – Corporate to Customer
Data-Driven Insights – Analytic Insights for Improving EE, DR, and DER Adoption
Emerging Threats + Risk Management – Navigating the Changing Landscape of Data Privacy
Evolving Your Brand Identity – Stand Up and Stand Out: Being Bold in Times of Adversity
Facing Customer Disruptors – Insights from SoCal Edison and Google’s Smart Speaker Projects
Innovation + Business Agility – How to be More Like Amazon and Innovate Faster
Insights That Drive Customer Value – Do You Really Know Your Customer?
Our People – Workforce Shaping: Responding to Intelligent Automation’s Impact
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
8:00 AM – 8:15 AM
PDT Recognition + Raffle Winners Announced
8:15 AM – 9:15 AM
Utility Executive Panel
Moderator: Gillian Wright, SVP-Customer Services, Southern California Gas Company
Panelist: Debra Smith, CEO, Seattle City Light
Frank Lawson, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Eugene Water & Electric Board
Maria Pope, President and CEO, Portland General Electric
Roger Dall’Antonia, President and CEO, FortisBC
Come listen to a dynamic panel of utility Executives up on the main stage as they address this year’s theme of “Powerful Connections”. Learn the challenges and opportunities they face with the changing landscape in the energy industry as they share their vision for the utility of the future. Take the opportunity to interact by asking your own questions.
9:15 AM – 9:45 AM
Break with Hotel Checkout
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session
Customer Contact Transformation – The Power of Emerging Training for CSRs Today
Data-Driven Insights – Bigfoot, Unicorns, and Self-Service Analytics: Reality or Myth?
Emerging Threats + Risk Management – Is Your Grid Ready for EIM?
Evolving Your Brand Identity – Why Being an Employer of Choice Matters
Facing Customer Disruptors – Playing a Catchy Tune – Building Customer Advocacy
Innovation + Business Agility – How to Greenlight Your Innovation Project
Insights That Drive Customer Value – Using Segmentation to Drive Customer Strategy
Our People – Why Being an Employer of Choice Matters
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Concurrent Tracks – Breakout Session
Customer Contact Transformation – Empowering and Understanding Low Income Customers
Data-Driven Insights – Risk Management: 3rd Party + Data Interactions
Emerging Threats + Risk Management – Risk Management: 3rd Party + Data Interactions
Evolving Your Brand Identity – Enhancing Your Brand Image in a Rapidly Evolving World
Facing Customer Disruptors – CCA 101
Innovation + Business Agility – Establishing a Culture of Innovation in an Increasingly Complex Environment
Insights That Drive Customer Value – When Customers Call, We Are Listening
Our People – Establishing a Culture of Innovation in an Increasingly Complex Environment
12:00 PM – 1:25 PM
Closing Keynote + Lunch
Inside-Out Customer Experience: Great Customer Experiences Starts From Within
Speaker: John McFarland, Vice President, Customer Solutions, Chief Customer Officer, Portland General Electric
Our closing keynote will provide an overview of cultural transformation within an organization and why cross-collaboration, accountability, and embracing technology are all necessary to create the best experience for our customers.
1:25 PM – 1:30 PM
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
2020 Wrap Up Meeting
You’re invited to participate in the wrap-up as we set the stage for the 2021 Symposium! Open to all Customer + Corporate Symposium participants who are interested in joining the planning teams or just want to provide your feedback.
Hilton Portland Downtown
921 SW 6th Ave
Portland, Oregon 97204
Phone: (503) 226-1611
Please contact the hotel directly at (503) 226-1611 or use the link above to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with the WEI Customer + Corporate Symposium to receive a special rate of $169 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until February 23, 2020, or until the WEI room block is full.
Customer Contact Transformation
With a focus on contact center management and customer-facing frontline employees, this track will explore how utilities are preparing their current and future customer workforce to handle emerging challenges. Attendees to this track are managers or customer contact center representatives, staff of payment centers, and those working in the field with customers regularly. Employees responsible for customer workforce management strategy and training are encouraged to attend.
Utilities find themselves inundated with a diversity of data across all lines of business. This track will explore how companies are using data as an asset to improve systems and operations, enhance the customer experience, and ultimately improve the bottom line.
Emerging Threats + Risk Management
Utilities have always managed risks to maintain a successful business model. However, with the pace of change increasing, emerging risks pose a variety of threats. This track will focus on how utilities measure the likelihood, impact, and velocity of emerging risks across business units.
Evolving Your Brand Identity
A utility’s brand and communications must meet the needs and desires of changing customers and employees. How can and how do utilities strategically brand and market themselves in this changing landscape? This track will explore how companies are enhancing their customer experience, delivering consistent communications and accurate messaging across a variety of channels, utilizing technology to maximize their message, and creating a customer-driven strategy across business units. External communications professionals, social media strategists, digital specialists and contact center employees are encouraged to attend, as are those individuals responsible for developing customer communications strategies.
Facing Customer Disruptors
With the industry facing disruptions and competitors on many fronts, the trusted energy partnership that many utilities have cultivated with customers for decades is at risk. Utilities must identify disruptors and develop processes, products, and services to better serve their customers. This track is designed for professionals responsible for developing and rolling out new products and services, developing innovative partnerships to enhance your relationship with customers, and creating strategies to better understand your customer’s needs.
Innovation + Business Agility
Utilities must be proactive in embracing change and chasing innovation, or risk no longer being relevant and possibly failing to exist. This track will focus on technology, process and cultural changes that increase a business unit’s ability to be agile and implement practices that foster innovation across all levels of their organization.
Insights That Drive Customer Value
Customer analytics allow utilities to better understand their customers’ preferences, improve the customer experience, and optimize systems and operations within customer business units. This track will focus on how utilities are using data to better serve their customers. It is intended for customer analysts, data analysts, customer managers, and leaders responsible for customer service, product development and leveraging customer data.
Utilities face core challenges to recruit, retain, develop, and train their workforce. This track will bring together employee development and training experts, HR leaders, change management specialists, and other professionals to share case studies on current issues and preparing the utility workforce for future challenges.
All networking activities are scheduled for Monday, March 9, 2020.
Bonneville Dam + Columbia River Gorge Tour
8:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Capacity Limit: 40
Come see how nature, technology, and people intersect at the Bonneville Dam in Cascade Locks, Oregon. Visitors learn about the cultural history of the region, dam construction, the development of navigation along the Columbia River, and the life-cycles of Pacific salmon. After the Dam tour, enjoy a networking lunch and a stop at one of Oregon’s most popular attractions, Multnomah Falls, a 611-foot-tall waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. Tour includes round-trip bus transportation from the Hilton.
Please indicate your interest in attending this tour when registering. WEI will reach out to you when more details are available. WEI reserves the right to cancel networking tours if the minimum number of participants is not met.
Downtown Portland Walking Brunch Tour
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Capacity Limit: 15
Start your day with delicious tastes from some of Portland’s favorite stops. Discover the beginnings of Portland’s food scene and why we’re on the world’s radar for food trends. On this morning walking tour, we will discover downtown Portland treasures and notable landmarks, and visit some hole-in-the-wall shops and restaurants which have left their mark on the city. Let a local guide take you to breakfast, lunch, and dessert!
Please indicate your interest in attending this tour when registering. WEI will reach out to you when more details are available, including any associated cost to confirm your participation. WEI reserves the right to cancel networking tours if the minimum number of participants is not met.
Conference Registration + Vendor Display Member: $1,198 USD
Conference Registration + Vendor Display Regular: $2,298 USD
+ Vendor Assistant for $299 USD
+ Guest Pass for $99 USD
Prices increase $250 for the Conference Registration + Vendor Display options and $100 for Vendor Assistant option after February 23, 2020. The Conference Registration + Vendor Display registration includes full conference access and includes you as the main Vendor Display Representative with one skirted table in the display area. Arrangements for power, audiovisual equipment, or other supplies may be made by calling the hotel directly.
Vendor Display Assistant registration is only for those whose vendor company has already registered for a table. Includes vendor area access and vendor associated food functions.
The Guest ticket can be added to a conference registration and allows a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event. Guest registration includes all meals and receptions, and all program materials.
Vendor Display Schedule
Monday, March 9
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Check-in and Vendor Set-up
2:00 PM – 4:15 PM – Vendor Area Open
Tuesday, March 10
7:30 AM – 6:00 PM – Vendor Area Open
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM – Breakfast with Vendor Displays
9:45 AM – 10:15 AM – Break with Vendor Displays
11:45 AM – 1:30 PM – Lunch (Vendor Showcase at 12:05 PM)
2:45 PM – 3:15 PM – Break with Vendor Displays
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM – Reception with Vendor Displays
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – Tear Down
All shipping is managed through the UPS store at the Hilton Portland Downtown hotel. Fees will be based on the weight of the items handled. Please contact the USP store at 503.208.3352 for further details.
Simon T. Bailey is a Breakthrough Strategist whose life’s purpose is to teach 1 billion+ people how to be fearless and create their futures.
He equips companies with the tools necessary to effect cultural transformation resulting in higher employee engagement and platinum customer service experiences. He challenges individuals to dig deep to find and release their inner brilliance and become Chief Breakthrough Officers – personally and professionally.
With more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including serving as sales director for Disney Institute, Simon knows how to engage and inspire leaders and team members through his keynotes, workshops, books and online courses. He has personally worked with more than 1,700 organizations in 46 countries.
Brian Solis has been called “one of the greatest digital analysts of our time” by CMOs and CEOs of top brands. Brian is also a world-renowned keynote speaker and digital anthropologist, who studies disruptive technology and its impact on business and society. In his work, he humanizes trends to help people understand how the world is changing, why and what to do about it.
Brian is an award-winning author of several best-selling books including X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, What’s the Future of Business (WTF) and The End of Business as Usual and his latest book, Lifescale.
With a loyal online audience of over 600,000 people online, his work makes him a sought-after thought-leader to leading brands, celebrities and startups.
John McFarland oversees all aspects of Portland General Electric’s customer experience and is responsible for developing new strategies to meet the changing needs of our customers. Before joining PGE in April 2019, McFarland spent more than 16 years in general management, marketing, product innovation and digital transformation at two Fortune 500 companies, General Motors and Procter & Gamble.
Most recently, McFarland served as director of Global Digital Experience and Connected Vehicles at GM. He led the company’s connected ecosystem transformation, digital customer experiences and in-vehicle digital ecosystem strategy. McFarland previously served as chief marketing officer of GM’s global OnStar business. He also served more than eight years in finance and brand management leadership roles at Procter & Gamble, working on iconic brands such as Tide, Gain and IAMS. AdWeek magazine named him one of the Top 10 Marketers of the Year for his work on Tide.
McFarland earned a B.S. in management information systems and accounting from Miami University, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with a focus on strategy, marketing and finance. He is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Leadership Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a guest professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He previously served on the board of AdCraft Detroit, the nation’s oldest active advertising organization.
Frank Lawson has accumulated over 30 years of technical and management experience in various areas including engineering, marketing, operations, customer service, sales, and finance. During his career, he has lead the development and launch of technology, products, systems, and services used in power generation and delivery, drinking water treatment, pharmaceutical and semiconductor manufacturing, and a variety of other industries. He has worked for small entrepreneurial organizations, as well as large companies including Danaher, Pacific Scientific, and JELD‐WEN. More recently, as EWEB’s Electric Systems Engineering Supervisor, Mr. Lawson was responsible for many aspects of electric transmission & distribution infrastructure planning, system reliability and regulatory compliance, capital financial planning, and capital project execution for the utility.
Frank Lawson became the Eugene Water & Electric Board general manager in June 2016. As general manager, Frank directs an approximately 500-employee utility that serves roughly 200,000 people with electricity and water in the Eugene metropolitan area and the lower McKenzie River Valley. EWEB is Oregon’s largest customer-owned utility.
Mr. Lawson is a registered Professional Engineering in the State of Oregon, has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University, and a Master of Business Administration from Northwest Christian University.
Maria Pope is president and CEO of Portland General Electric, Oregon’s largest electric company.
Pope joined PGE in 2009 as chief financial officer and treasurer. She also oversaw the company’s power generation facilities, wholesale power marketing and long-term resource strategy as senior vice president of Power Supply, Operations and Resource Strategy. From 2006 to 2008, she was a member of PGE’s board of directors.
Prior to PGE, Pope was CFO of Mentor Graphics Corporation. She also held senior operating and finance positions within the forest products and consumer products industries. She began her career in banking with Morgan Stanley.
Pope serves on the Oregon Global Warming Commission. Her other board and commission activities include The Nature Conservancy, Electric Power Research Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Pope is an alumna of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.
Roger is President and Chief Executive Officer for FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc., overseeing electricity and natural gas business operations. He has more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry including senior financial roles with Westcoast Energy prior to joining FortisBC in 2004.
Roger has been trusted in numerous leadership roles throughout the organization, including executive oversight of customer service & technology, regulatory affairs, strategic planning & corporate development and finance and treasury. He has also served the operation by bringing his skills and experience to energy solutions, business innovation, and conservation and energy management.
As a senior executive in the energy industry, Roger serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Gas Association, Canadian Electricity Association and Western Energy Institute. In addition, Roger is a member of the Business Council of BC’s Board of Governors. He is also a Board member for both FortisBC companies as well as Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. Roger has previously served on the Board of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation and Resource Centre.
Roger holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Debra Smith is the General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, one of the nation’s largest community-owned owned electric utilities. City Light serves more than 460,000 meters and 900,000 people across Seattle and parts of eight adjacent franchise cities.
Previously, Debra served as Central Lincoln PUD’s General Manager from July 2013 to October 2018. She brought 17 years of experience to that role from the Eugene Water and Electric Board, where she held a variety of positions, including Assistant General Manager.
Debra earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Arizona State University and is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum of Oregon. She currently serves as chair of the Public Power Council and is on the board of the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee.
Debra and her husband Dale have raised three sons and two daughters. They love City life, and have a home in Eugene, Oregon as well. The Smiths enjoy travel, time with friends and family and hanging out with their grandson Oliver.
Neena Master is the Director of Customer Services for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), the nation’s largest natural gas distribution company serving nearly 21 million consumers. SoCalGas has over 8,000 employees and is headquartered in Los Angeles.
Previously, Neena has experience in community relations, pipeline safety, billing operations, customer services and marketing. Neena has over 20 years in the utility industry and has working experience with energy, federal and local government agencies, and manufacturing industries. Neena also sits on the Board of Directors for the Orangewood Foundation, Orange County Human Relations and Korean Health Education, Information, and Research (KHEIR) organizations. She is a Certified Energy Manager and has earned a Master Degree of Business Administration from Claremont Graduate University in 1999 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Southern California in 1995.
Denise is responsible for leading Human Resources, Corporate Security and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Strategic Solutions. Before joining New Mexico Gas Company in February 2009, Denise built a distinguished career with the City of Albuquerque, serving in a variety of leadership positions in municipal development, environmental health, labor relations, risk management and customer services. Denise holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a B.A., both from the University of New Mexico. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and holds the SHRM-SCP designation through the Society for Human Resources Management. Denise serves on the Board of Directors of the Anderson School of Management Foundation and the Domestic Violence Resource Center.
Gillian Wright is senior vice president, customer services for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility. She is responsible for the SoCalGas customer services operations, customer solutions and gas acquisition organizations.
Previously, as chief human resources, administrative and environmental officer of SoCalGas, Wright oversaw the SoCalGas human resources, fleet, facilities, environmental services, supply management and logistics organizations.
She joined SoCalGas as a regulatory analyst in 1999 and has held increasingly responsible management roles in regulatory affairs and customer service for SoCalGas since then.
Wright is a member of the board of the California State University Foundation, LA Family Housing, Western Energy Institute and Los Angeles Business Council. She is also past chair and a former member of the board for the Energy Solutions Center and a graduate of Leadership California. Wright holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Reed College.
10 years of energy and regulatory experience. JD and Masters in environmental policy and law. Member of the Oregon Bar, licensed to practice in Oregon. Expert on emerging technology in the energy sector from energy efficiency to transactive control. Several years of experience with wholesale markets, carbon policy and demand side resource development. Currently leading Oregon policy development on electric vehicles, energy storage and demand response. Initiated and worked to assure funding for the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. Privileged to be an early team member with PNNL developing the concept of transactive control. Worked on energy efficiency and resource planning before Commissions in ID, WA, OR, MT, CA and VT. Regular engagement with the Northwest’s congressional delegation and state legislators. Helped permit the first “cow power” plant in Vermont.