Women in Leadership: Excellence – Kick-off Meeting – Virtual (Oct 26-27)

The utility energy workforce is typically only about 25 percent women, as compared to the general population where women make up roughly half of the total workforce. Organizational efficiency is characterized by a balanced workforce both in terms of skill sets and perspectives. This mentorship program addresses some of the opportunities and challenges that women face working in the energy industry, advocates for workplace inclusion and teamwork, and discusses critical issues related to attracting and maintaining a diverse workforce. Formal opportunities for mentorship provide women in the industry with support for increased retention and satisfaction. Mentors and mentees are matched up across companies, and then connect over a ten month period with two in-person meetings.

Register Now

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Christine Fanous, Managing Director, Transmission & Substations Transmission & Distribution, Southern California Edison

    • 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
    • Mentors consist of female executives including utility company presidents, vice presidents, general managers and senior directors who have significant experience in the utility industry and an in-depth understanding of various utility functions. 

      Mentees consist of female directors, managers, supervisors and front-line employees who want to develop their leadership skills, gain a broad perspective of the utility industry, and discuss workplace challenges for experiential learning.

      Space is limited. Participants will be invited to register after being accepted to the program via the application process. Service company mentors and mentees also encouraged to apply. WEI has several programs supporting diversity and inclusion in the utility industry. For more information about WEI’s Women in Energy Symposium, visit westernenergy.org/WIES. 

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $1,399 USD

    Registration includes mentoring materials, registration for the Kick-off Executive Forum and 2022 Annual Meeting (includes all specified meals).

    A Women in Leadership participant ticket is available to enrollees of the 2021/2022 Women in Leadership – Mentoring + Development program who also attend the Virtual Women in Energy Symposium. The discount on the normal attendee rate is applied automatically at registration for the Women in Energy Symposium.

    Space is limited and applications must be submitted and accepted before participants are given access to registration. View more program information including a timeline for applications and the program here.

    Mentor Application available here.
    Mentee Application available here.

  • 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. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Diana Zoren, Director of Strategic Initiatives at (971) 255-4965.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

1:15 PM - 1:30 PM

Check-In and Test Equipment

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Welcome and Introduction
Facilitator(s): Christine Fanous, Managing Director, Transmission & Substations, Southern California Edison

Get to know the other mentors and mentees of the Women in Leadership Brilliance Cohort. Attendees are encouraged to share their background in the energy industry and individual goals for what they hope to get out of the program.

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Mentoring Success Case Study
Speaker(s): Christine Lewis, Substation Construction Maintenance Manager, Tacoma Power, Tamara Bradley, AMI Program Manager, Avista Utilities

A mentor and mentee from last year's Women in Leadership Mentorship program will share their insights on getting the best value from your relationship as a Mentor and Mentee.

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM


3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Strategies for Successful Mentoring
Speaker(s): Lena Wittler, CEO/General Manager, Clark Public Utilities

Learn best practices for working with your mentor or mentee from an energy executive.

4:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Mentor + Mentee Kickoff Session

Mentors and mentees will have an opportunity meet one another one-on-one during this time. The session will end with a mentoring exercise in pairs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

8:15 AM - 8:30 AM

Prep for the Day

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Executive Panel - Experiential Learning + Promoting Diversity
Moderator(s): Christine Fanous, Managing Director, Transmission & Substations, Southern California Edison
Panelist(s): Carmen Jandecek, Director, Ethics, Total Rewards, HR Operations & Technology, Arizona Public Service Company, Dan Koch, Vice President of Operations, Puget Sound Energy, Jeanne Vold, Vice President – Technology, NorthWestern Energy, Paul Grigaux, Vice President, Distribution, Southern California Edison

A panel of male and female executives will join us for a discussion on navigating the traditionally male-dominated utility industry. Hear about their journey, lessons learned, and how they leveraged mentors, coaches, and sponsors along the way. There will be an opportunity for the panel members to respond to questions from the audience at the end of the facilitated portion.

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM


10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

Mentorship Expectations Breakouts

During this session mentors and mentees will participate in breakout groups and engage in roundtable conversation. Mentors will discuss best practices around providing feedback, expectations of mentees, program specific goals, and leveraging the mentoring relationship for future growth. Mentees will discuss expectations for mentors, receiving feedback, and how to leverage the mentoring relationship for development.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Mentorship Expectations Debrief

Mentors and mentees will come back to the table and each group will share what they discussed and learned in the breakout session. We will conclude the session with a group dialogue around best practices and expectations of the mentoring relationship.

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Logistics Overview + Next Steps

WEI will share logistics of the next steps for the remainder of the mentoring program, including a best practices discussion about networking.

12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

Scheduled Time – Developing Your Agreement

Mentors and mentees will have a mentoring session around developing a mentoring agreement and plan for next steps over lunch. Program goals, follow up sessions, and topics for future meetings will be discussed.

Meet The Speakers

Christine Fanous

Southern California Edison

Managing Director, Transmission & Substations
Learn More

Christy Fanous is the managing director for the Transmission & Substations department within Transmission & Distribution at Southern California Edison (SCE). She oversees the construction and maintenance of transmission and substation facilities to safely deliver power to the distribution grid.

In previous executive roles, Christy was responsible for the compliance, quality oversight, training, and operational services associated with planning, constructing, operating, and maintaining SCE’s transmission and distribution facilities. Her experience includes leading the vegetation management and pole program management activities across SCE’s 50,000 square mile territory.

During her career with SCE, Christy has held a variety of leadership and project management positions in Real Properties, Supply Chain Management, Operations Support, Information Technology, and Corporate Philanthropy. Prior to joining SCE, Christy worked as a financial analyst in the phone center for Sparkletts®.

She is an advisory board member for the Executive Energy Course at the University of Idaho and the Customer Experience Certificate Program at UC Irvine. She is a member of the North American Transmission Forum (NATF). She currently chairs the Women in Leadership program through the Western Energy Institute and volunteers on the board of Harvest Home, a nonprofit residential program that serves homeless pregnant women and their children.

Christy earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University and an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California.

Paul Grigaux

Southern California Edison

Vice President, Distribution

Dan Koch

Puget Sound Energy

Vice President of Operations

Jeanne Vold

NorthWestern Energy

Vice President – Technology

Carmen Jandacek

Arizona Public Service Company

Director, Ethics, Total Rewards, HR Operations & Technology
Learn More

Carmen Jandacek has worked for Arizona Public Service (APS) since 1996 holding various positions and leadership roles in Human Resources over her tenure with the company. She is currently the Director of the Ethics Office, Total Rewards, Health Services and HR Technology.
Carmen is the Founder and Chair of the APS LGBT Alliance, an employee network group, former chair and board member of the nonprofit organization one•n•ten, a board director of the Better Business Bureau serving the Pacific Southwest and a member of the City of Phoenix Census 2020 Complete Count Committee. She previously held positions on the board of the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the One Community Multicultural Advisory Board. Carmen has an undergraduate degree in management and she earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix in 1999. She is a previously certified Senior Professional in Human Resources Designee (SPHR) and a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP). In 2017 she was recognized as a Woman of Achievement by In Business Magazine and in 2019, she received the One Community Local Hero Award for her contributions to equality and inclusion in the Phoenix area.
Carmen is an avid fitness and health enthusiast and believes the key to success is a healthy mind and body. She believes you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. She has participated in many biking, running and triathlon races throughout the state of Arizona and is an Ironman Arizona finisher.

Lena Wittler

Clark Public Utilities

CEO/General Manager

Christine Lewis

Tacoma Power

Substation Construction Maintenance Manager

Tamara Bradley

Avista Utilities

AMI Program Manager