Women in Leadership: Mentoring + Development (May 25-26)

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 utilities, and then connect over a six month period with two in-person meetings, once at an executive forum in May and once at the WEI Annual Meeting in September. Space is limited for mentees. To apply for participation as a mentee, please fill out this form.

General Details

Program Chair
Carrie Young, Salt River Project

Program Location
Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown
319 SW Pine St
Portland, OR 97204

Who Should Attend
Mentors consist of female executives including utility company presidents, vice presidents, general managers and 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 for mentees. To apply for participation as a mentee, please fill out this form.

WEI has several programs supporting diversity and inclusion in the utility industry. Find more information about WEI’s Women in Energy Symposium here.

Program Outline
Meeting 1 + Launch: May 25-26, 2016
Meeting 2: June, 2016 (phone sessions)
Meeting 3: July, 2016 (phone sessions)
Meeting 4: August, 2016 (phone sessions)
Meeting 5: September 18-20, 2016, Vancouver, BC
Meeting 6: October, 2016 (phone sessions)
Meeting 7: November, 2016 (phone sessions)
Program Completion: November 2016: (final session)

You can find more details about the program here.

Registration Options
Member: $1,299

Registration fee includes mentoring materials, registration for the Kickoff Executive Forum and Annual Meeting (includes all specified meals).

For more information about this program contact Anna Sanger Reed at 503.688.2795.


Wednesday, May 25

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Registration and Check-In

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Welcome and Introductions
Facilitator: Carrie Young, Senior Director, Corporate Operations Services, Salt River Project
Get to know the other mentors and mentees of the 2016 Women in Leadership 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
Mentor + Mentee Kickoff Session
Mentors and mentees will have an opportunity meet one another face to face during this time. The session will end with a mentoring exercise in pairs.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Networking Break

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Strategies for Successful Mentoring
Speaker: Mary King, Vice President, Human Resources, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Learn about the many benefits that mentoring can bring to your career and your company. Mary King will join us to share perspective on how mentors and mentees can get the most out of this opportunity.

5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
WEI Hosted Networking Reception + Dinner
Portland City Grill
111 SW 5th Ave. 30th Floor
Portland, OR 97204

Thursday, May 26

7:30 AM – 8:00 AM
Networking Breakfast

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Mentorship Expectations Breakouts
Facilitators: Carrie Young, Senior Director, Corporate Operations Services, Salt River Project
Anna Sanger Reed, Program Manager, Western Energy Institute
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.

9:00 AM – 9:30 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.

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Networking Break + Hotel Check Out

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Executive Panel: Experiential Learning + Leadership Choices
Facilitator: Carrie Young, Senior Director, Corporate Operations Services, Salt River Project
Speakers: Robin Furrer, VP of Transmission Field Services, Bonneville Power Administration
Bobbi Schroeppel, VP, Customer Care, Communication, Human Resources, NorthWestern Energy
Grant Yoshihara, Vice President, Utility Operations, NW Natural
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.

11:30 AM – 11:40 AM

11:40 AM – 12:00 PM
WEI Women in Leadership Participant Group Demo
Speaker: Anna Sanger Reed, Program Manager, Western Energy Institute
Learn how to use the online participant group to stay in touch with your Women in Leadership cohort over the next six months. We’ll show how to create an account, access the group, post and respond to questions as well as share resources and helpful tools. Anna will also demonstrate how you can use WEI’s member directory to contact peers from 80 energy company members to network and troubleshoot shared challenges.

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Working Lunch: Action Plan Development + Meeting Wrap Up
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.

Hotel + Travel

Embassy Suites By Hilton Portland Downtown
319 SW Pine St.
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 1.800.643.7892

Please contact the hotel directly at 1.800.643.7892. Identify yourself as being with WEI to receive a special rate of $219 single/double plus state and local taxes. This rate is guaranteed to May 4, 2016 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Mary King

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Vice President, Human Resources

Carrie Young

Salt River Project

Senior Director, Corporate Operations Services

Anna Sanger Reed

Western Energy Institute

Program Manager

Robin Furrer

Bonneville Power Administration

VP of Transmission Field Services
Learn More

Ms. Furrer joined BPA in 1991 as a transmission project engineer and moved to the Field Services organization in 1999. Robin was named Vice President in 2005, and was an active sponsor of BPA’s Enterprise Process Improvement Project (2005 – 2009). The Field Services organization has over 900 employees, located in three regions that operate, build and maintain BPA’s transmission assets in eight states.

Robin is a past WEI Utility Board Member. She holds a Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering from Portland State University.

Bobbi Schroeppel

NorthWestern Energy

VP, Customer Care, Communication, Human Resources
Learn More

Ms. Schroeppel responsibilities include strategic and day-to-day leadership of NorthWestern’s customer facing, communication and human resources generalist processes. She holds degrees in Statistics, Sociology and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Grant Yoshihara

NW Natural

Vice President, Utility Operations
Learn More

Grant Yoshihara is responsible for overall management and coordination of utility operations that includes engineering, storage and delivery system construction, operations and maintenance, codes and compliance, training and quality assurance, and work management. He is a Company representative in three national/regional trade organizations.

Grant has a total of 32 years of experience in the energy industry. He spent 12 years in the electric utility and independent power development industry before joining Northwest Natural in 1991. Prior to his current assignment at NW Natural, he managed gas supply contracts, major accounts, commercial services, marketing and advertising, construction operations, and customer service. He is also involved in supporting several community and charitable organizations and is a current board member of Volunteers of America Oregon, Japan-America Society of Oregon and the Multnomah Athletic Foundation.

Grant earned bachelors and masters degrees in nuclear engineering from Oregon State University and an MBA from the University of Oregon. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Oregon.

Grant and his wife, Colleen reside in Portland, Oregon.