Women in Energy Symposium (Nov 01-03)

Women are traditionally underrepresented in the energy industry, with an extreme disparity continuing into both leadership and trade positions. This program addresses some of the opportunities and challenges that women face working in the energy industry and advocates for workplace inclusion and teamwork. Open to both women and men, WEI members will join together for leadership training, education, networking and mentorship. Sessions include executive panels with both males and females, and roundtable discussions on internal support for inclusion. With a growing emphasis on cross-functional teams and diverse skill sets, this program will support utility directives to build a cohesive workforce.

Register Now

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Erin Boyd, Pacific Gas & Electric Company

    • Program Location
    • San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina
    • 333 Harbor Drive
      San Diego, CA 92101
    • Who Should Attend
    • Women and men in all facets of the utility are encouraged to join us for this dynamic conversation. If you have an interest in this capacity for yourself or your employees, we invite you to join us.

      • Women – Gain knowledge and perspective on how to develop and get ahead in a traditionally male dominated industry.
      • Men – Gain understanding of the issues women face in the industry to improve team development and synergy.
      • Executives – Learn where utilities are seeing successes in attracting and retaining their female workforce, while effectively leveraging the benefits of greater organizational diversity.
  • Registration Options
  • Member: $599 USD
    Regular: $899 USD

    Registration prices increase $100 after September 30, 2017. Registration includes meeting materials, two receptions, two breakfasts, and one lunch. Guest tickets are available for $150 and allow for a personal guest (a spouse or partner who does not work in the energy industry) to accompany a registered attendee at the event.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For more information contact Kristen Taylor, Program Manager at (971) 255-4969.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

12:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Networking Tour of SDG&E Escondido Lithium Ion Battery Storage Facility

Tour the SDG&E Escondido Lithium Ion Battery Storage Facility.
Tour the world's largest lithium ion battery storage facility in Escondido, CA. The 30 MW, 120 MWh facility is capable of serving 20,000 customers for 4 hours. Join us for a private tour of this leading edge facility.
Registration will open over the summer as the details are confirmed.

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Old Town Trolley Sightseeing and Networking Tour of San Diego and Coronado

Tour the City of San Diego and the Island of Coronado on a private two hour Old Town Trolley tour. The tour leaves from our hotel and includes Horton Plaza, the Historic Gaslamp Quarter, the Island of Coronado, Balboa Park, Little Italy, Old Town State Park, the Embarcadero along the Harbor next to the USS Midway & Maritime Museums, and Seaport Village . More information is provided on the Networking tab.

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM


5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Welcome Reception

Thursday, November 2, 2017

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Breakfast + Registration

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Welcome + Conference Overview
Speaker(s): Erin Boyd, Manager, Measurement, Data & Analytics, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Our chair will welcome attendees and share important announcements.

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Keynote Speaker
Speaker(s): Sue Kelly, President and CEO, American Public Power Association

Where is the energy industry headed? How do we not only adapt, but remain one step ahead rather than two steps behind? How are the proposals and actions of the new administration likely to impact our efforts to move forward? Sue Kelly, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association and one of Washington’s “Most Powerful Women” in 2015, will share with us her perspective on these questions, the latest in Washington, DC, and how we can make a lasting impact on the industry and our careers.

9:30 AM - 9:40 AM


9:40 AM - 10:40 AM

Energy Policy Panel Discussion
Speaker(s): Dan Kirschner, Executive Director, Northwest Gas Association, Maura Brueger, Director, Government & Legislative Affairs, Seattle City Light, Nina Odell, Director of Federal Government Relations, Puget Sound Energy, Rosalie Barcinas, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Infrastructure Licensing, Southern California Edison

10:40 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Breakout Sessions

Battery Basics: Banking on Benefits
Speaker(s): Jason Zyskowski, Interim Sr. Mgr. Substation, Metering & Telecom Services, Snohomish County PUD, Connie Mosier, Vice President, Project Management & Construction, E.ON, Kelly Kozdras, Senior Electrical Engineer, Puget Sound Energy
The panel will discuss the planning, installation, operation and use cases of several utility battery energy storage systems. Lessons learned from the projects will be shared as well as discussion about technology and standards.

Riding the Wave: Navigating the waters of innovations to meaningfully engage in the energy transition
Speaker(s): MIchelle Cathcart, Vice President of Transmission System Operations, Bonneville Power Administration, Curtis Kirkeby, Fellow Electrical Engineer, Avista Utilities
Smart Grid. Internet of Things. Distributive generation. Grid edge. If you work in the utility industry you've likely heard of these terms and initiatives but what does it all mean, and more importantly, what does it mean for you and your business? Join this roundtable to hear different perspectives on the varying hardware, software and business innovations that are increasingly enabling smarter, better connected infrastructure that will revolutionize the electric power grid.

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Networking Lunch

1:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Working Across Generations
Speaker(s): Lillian Tsai, Diversity & Inclusion Trainer, Coach, Speaker & Consultant, TsaiComms, Alisa Blum, Corporate Trainer, Facilitator, Leadership Coach, Author & Speaker, TsaiComms

We currently have three generations of employees in the workplace, with a fourth generation beginning to enter the workplace.  Each generational cohort has unique communication preferences.   This two-hour workshop will help participants understand the communication preferences of each generation, learn strategies to bridge these differences and how to develop more productive relationships at work.

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM


3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

Sponsorship vs. Mentorship: Which one fits your career development?
Speaker(s): Tim Swanson, Director, Information Systems, FortisBC, Kristin Stathis, Vice President, Customer Service Operations, Portland General Electric, Nancy Arroyoavila, Manager, Gas Technical Curriculum Development, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Annette Gardiner, Vice President of Gas Strategic Development, Itron, Inc.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of mentorship while navigating our careers. However, what is sponsorship? In this session, senior leaders will discuss the differences between mentors and sponsors, how to organically create these relationships, and when to use them in your career development plan.

4:45 PM - 6:00 PM

Networking Reception

Reception on the pool deck. Appetizers will be served.

6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

No-host Dinner (optional)

No-host dinners where conference attendees are welcome to join pre-arranged groups walking to nearby restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter or Seaport Village. More details to come on restaurant choices and how to join groups for additional conversation and networking over dinner.

Friday, November 3, 2017

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Keeping Up with the Times
Speaker(s): Sheri Givens, President, Givens Consulting, Robin Lunt, OF Councel, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, LLP

In today's increasingly tech-focused era, how can an uber-traditional and heavily regulated industry keep up with technology demands in a way that appeases the increasingly engaged consumer, attracts top talent who may otherwise consider employment with the Googles and Facebooks of the world, and continue to attract the investment that is needed to further transform the industry – all while keeping the lights on.

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM


9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Breakout Sessions

Energy – The New Lifestyle
Speaker(s): Uzma Siddiqi, Principal Electric Power Systems Engineer, Seattle City Light, Suzanne Figy, Products and Services Manager, Avista Utilities, Kate Doll, Director of Customer Success, Enervee, Laura Weiss, Senior Experience Design Advisor, Slalom Consulting
You’ve heard it a million times by now – the utility industry is being disrupted, our business model has been turned on its head, utilities are a dinosaur waiting to die. While not to be entirely disputed, the industry has stepped up to the challenge that customers are no longer interested in buying just electrons, but rather a lifestyle. This panel will discuss how the industry is responding to these new demands, provide insights and strategies on creating new products and services that offer customers the lifestyle they’d like, and enable attendees to more easily navigate the path from concept to reality.

Cyber Threats are Real: Coping with the Hacking Future
Speaker(s): Jessica Matlock, Director of Government Relations, Snohomish County PUD, Bryce Hilsmann, Supervisor, Operations Technology and Security, FortisBC, Kristen Worosz, Senior Advisor, Products and Services, Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center
The next decade will see enormous growth in cyberspace. More people, more devices, more connectivity, more data. This will offer opportunities and risks, especially related to cyber security. This session will examine the future of cyber security and the challenges utilities face trying to balance privacy with open access to information.

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Negotiation Tactics and Alternate Methods to Handle Difficult Situations
Speaker(s): Leslie Duke P.E., Group President, Burns & McDonnell

The Art of Negotiation. Negotiation is a method to reach an agreement by resolving differences through creativity. This session will help you recognize how frequently we all negotiate, how vital preparation is to negotiate successfully and how to create a ‘win-win’ for both parties. We will discuss tactics and methods to handle difficult situations.

11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Closing Comments

11:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Wrap Up

Join the Program Development Team to share feedback and brainstorm ideas for next year’s symposium. 

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (619) 230-8955 to reserve your room, or click the link below to reserve online. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $239/night. This rate is guaranteed until September 30, 2017 or until the WEI room block is full.

  • Click here to make your reservation now.


All networking events take place on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

Networking Tour of SDG&E Escondido Lithium Ion Battery Storage Facility
12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Registration Fee: $50 USD

Tour the world’s largest lithium ion battery storage facility in Escondido, CA. The 30 MW, 120 MWh facility is capable of serving 20,000 customers for 4 hours. Join us for a private tour of this leading edge facility.

Security clearance: The final day to register for the tour will be Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 in order to complete all security clearances. Please remember to bring a photo ID on the tour.

Attire: Use your best judgement to select clothing for an operational facility. Closed toed shoes are required. The tour will be approximately 1.5 hours outside. It is expected to be around 70 degrees, clear and sunny for the tour. Consider a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses depending on the forecast at the time of departure.

Refreshments: Be sure to eat a good lunch on your own before you meet up to depart on the tour. Light snacks and drinks will be provided by SDG&E onsite.

Old Town Trolley Sightseeing and Networking Tour of San Diego and Coronado
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Registration Fee: $60

Tour the City of San Diego and the Island of Coronado on a private two hour Old Town Trolley tour. The tour leaves from our hotel and includes Horton Plaza, the Historic Gaslamp Quarter, the Island of Coronado, Balboa Park, Little Italy, Old Town State Park, the Embarcadero along the Harbor next to the USS Midway & Maritime Museums, and Seaport Village.

Refreshments: Be sure to eat a good lunch on your own before you meet up to depart on the tour. Water will be provided on the trolley.

WEI reserves the right to cancel networking tours if a minimum number of participants is not met.

Meet The Speakers

Sue Kelly

American Public Power Association

President and CEO

Dan Kirschner

Northwest Gas Association

Executive Director

Maura Brueger

Seattle City Light

Director, Government & Legislative Affairs

Nina Odell

Puget Sound Energy

Director of Federal Government Relations

Jason Zyskowski

Snohomish County PUD

Interim Sr. Mgr. Substation, Metering & Telecom Services

Curtis Kirkeby

Avista Utilities

Fellow Electrical Engineer

Lillian Tsai


Diversity & Inclusion Trainer, Coach, Speaker & Consultant

Alisa Blum


Corporate Trainer, Facilitator, Leadership Coach, Author & Speaker

Tim Swanson


Director, Information Systems

Kristin Stathis

Portland General Electric

Vice President, Customer Service Operations

Nancy Arroyoavila

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Manager, Gas Technical Curriculum Development

Annette Gardiner

Itron, Inc.

Vice President of Gas Strategic Development

Uzma Siddiqi

Seattle City Light

Principal Electric Power Systems Engineer

Jessica Matlock

Snohomish County PUD

Director of Government Relations

Leslie Duke

Burns & McDonnell

Group President
Learn More

As leader of Burns & McDonnell’s Houston office, Leslie Duke, PE, has played an integral role in launching the firm’s engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) business throughout Texas. Her efforts have led to the development and successful execution of over 100 multi-million dollar projects. During the past 15 years, Leslie has helped to expand Burns & McDonnell’s customer base from one client to more than 100 clients in the industrial, refining, chemical, manufacturing, and utility markets, resulting in more than $1 billion in revenue. She has also played an integral role in the development of multiple large-scale alliance relationships, resulting in approximately
$244 million in repeat, non-competitive project work for
Burns & McDonnell nationally. In addition, she has developed a leadership training program for the firm’s high-potential staff that focuses on maximizing performance via accelerated career training.
Leslie joined Burns & McDonnell in 1999 and served as a regional manager in the Transmission and Distribution group from 2002 through 2009, as well as the operations manager in Houston from 2005 to 2009. In 2010, Leslie moved to Dallas to open Burns & McDonnell’s 10th regional office and helped diversify the firm’s services in the region and expand the company in north Texas. The Dallas and Fort Worth offices specialize in on-site energy design, facilities design, transportation design, environmental services and permitting, and design-build construction services. In July 2012, Leslie returned to Houston as general manager. The Houston office focuses on the design of high-voltage power, refining, chemical, terminal, and pipeline facilities. Additional services include environmental permitting and remediation and construction. Leslie is honored to lead our firm’s largest and fastest growing office, and looks forward to a promising future in the region.
Family is important to Leslie and she credits her father’s leadership and strength through adversity as her most significant influence. She has two children, Justin and Kendall, and spends most of her free time supporting their activities, traveling, and remaining active in her church.

Bryce Hilsmann


Supervisor, Operations Technology and Cyber Security

Erin Boyd

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Manager, Measurement, Data & Analytics

Suzanne Figy

Avista Corp.

Products and Services Manager

Sheri Givens

Givens Consulting

Learn More

Sheri Givens is President of Givens Consulting LLC, an Austin, Texas-based energy consulting firm. Her clients include consumer advocate and non-profit organizations, trade associations, investors, and U.S. and international government agencies and utilities. Sheri’s focus is on utility consumer engagement, education, protection, advocacy, and regulatory policy. Her professional experience includes nearly twenty years in legal, regulatory, legislative, and external affairs. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Women in Energy.

From 2009 to 2013, Sheri was twice appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, and confirmed by the Texas Senate, to lead the Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel, the state’s consumer advocacy agency representing residential and small business utility customers before the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), regulatory agencies, and courts. Sheri served as a Director on the Boards of both the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s independent system operator, and the Texas Reliability Entity Inc., the state’s Regional Entity for the ERCOT region. She was elected, by fellow nationwide advocates, to the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). Her prior positions have included senior advising attorney at the PUCT, assistant general counsel at the Texas Workforce Commission, and various roles in the Texas Legislature.

Sheri obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Energy Bar Association, Association of Women in Energy, and Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment.

Robin Lunt

Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, LLP

OF Councel
Learn More

Robin Lunt is an attorney at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP (WBK) her practice focuses on state and federal energy regulation, policy and strategic guidance for utilities and emerging companies in the energy vertical. She brings a pragmatic and strategic problem solving approach to clients that draws on her combination of experience as a policy maker and in the private sector. Her work crosses the spectrum of issues faced by utilities and technology companies in the energy vertical. She advises clients on a variety of issues including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state utility commission regulatory filings, other state and federal administrative agency actions, the deployment of new technologies into a utility system and commercial contracts and corporate transactional matters.

Prior to joining WBK, Robin worked as the general counsel of a venture backed energy technology company, and before that as a legal and policy advisor to WBK’s Tony Clark when he served as a Commissioner at FERC where she covered western electricity matters, oil and gas pipeline orders and contributed to significant policy making matters. Prior to that, she worked closely with state public utility commissions as the assistant general counsel to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). She started her legal career at a boutique Washington D.C. law firm working on redevelopment efforts for US Air Force BRAC and other contaminated sites and in shaping the US Department of Interior regulations for off-shore wind development.

Connie Mosier


Vice President, Project Management & Construction

Carmine Tilghman

UNS Energy Corp.

Senior Director - Energy Supply

Kristen Worosz

Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center

Senior Advisor, Products and Services

Rosalie Barcinas

Southern California Edison

Director of Regulatory Affairs, Infrastructure Licensing

Kate Doll


Director of Customer Success

Laura Weiss

Slalom Consulting

Senior Experience Design Advisor

Kelly Kozdras PE

Puget Sound Energy

Senior Electrical Engineer

Michelle Cathcart

Bonneville Power Administration

VP Transmission System Operations