Women in Leadership: Excellence – Kick-off Meeting – Virtual (Nov 03-04)

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.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Heather Burns, Director, Human Resources, NorthWestern Energy

    • Program Location
    • Virtual Event
    • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific time. Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided 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 

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $1,399 USD

    Registration includes mentoring materials, registration for the Virtual Kick-off Executive Forum and 2021 Annual Meeting (includes all specified meals).

    A Women in Leadership participant ticket is available to enrollees of the 2020 and 2021 Women in Leadership – Mentoring + Development program who also attend the Virtual Women in Energy Symposium. This $100 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 program here.

    Mentor Application available here.
    Mentee Application available here.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • To best serve WEI members and program participants during the COVID-19 pandemic, WEI will be waiving its standard cancellation policy for this program and all virtual programs through July 2020. Registrants can now receive a full refund should they need to cancel their registration up to the day before the program begins. This applies to both new and existing registrations for virtual programs.
  • 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, November 3, 2020

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Check-In and Test Equipment

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Welcome and Introduction

Get to know the other mentors and mentees of the 2020 Women in Leadership Portland 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

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): Carla Peterman, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Southern California Edison

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. Use this time to share your goals, expectation from this mentorship and start the process of working on your plans.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

7:45 AM - 8:00 AM

Prep for the day

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Executive Panel: Experiential Learning + Promoting Diversity

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.

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM


9:45 AM - 10:30 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.

10:30 AM - 11:00 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.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

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.

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Scheduled Time – Developing Your Agreement

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

Meet The Speakers

Heather Burns

NorthWestern Energy

Director, Human Resources

Carla Peterman

Southern California Edison

Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Greg Ferree

Southern California Edison

Vice President, Distribution

Gillian Wright

Southern California Gas Company

Senior Vice President, Customer Services

DeAngeloa Wells

Portland General Electric

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Director | Human Resources

Chris Robinson

Tacoma Power

Superintendent/General Manager
Learn More

Chris became general manager and superintendent of Tacoma Power in 2015 after service as manager of Power Management and assistant power section manager of Energy Resource Planning. Prior to Tacoma Public Utilities, Chris worked as a consultant with multiple electrical utilities. Chris has over 25 years of experience in the power industry and serves on multiple industry boards, including the Public Power Council, River Partners, and Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee.