By - Jon Brown

Leadership Conference for Women in Energy
June 6-7, 2016 | San Antonio, TX



The goal of this event is to help professionals advance their careers in a traditionally male industry by providing insight into key energy trends and skills for personal and professional development.  Join the nation’s most successful women leaders in energy as they share their industry knowledge, strategies and experiences on how to accelerate positive organizational change and personal growth.

The program format includes keynote addresses, panel sessions, interactive group discussions and a plentitude of networking opportunities.  You’ll participate in knowledge sharing and collaboration while building relationships and enhancing your professional network.  You’ll leave this event with practical strategies, insights and guidance on how to propel your energy career forward.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the top women in energy.



Monday, June 6, 2016

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Conference Welcome

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. :: Keynote Address

Paula Gold Williams, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, CPS Energy

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Tales from the C-Suite:  Three Women’s Journeys to the Top

Although women’s participation in the labor force has dramatically expanded in the last 30 years, the energy industry lags behind as an employer of women.  According to a 2013 report by Catalyst, only 23.3% of utility employees in the U.S. are female and a mere 12.7% of women occupy executive officer positions in utilities.  In this session, three C-Level executives will share their inspiring personal stories of how they beat the odds and navigated through a predominately male industry to reach the highest levels of their organizations.


Linda Brown, Vice President, North American Markets, West, ABB Inc.


Elaina Ball, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Austin Energy

Hether Benjamin Brown, Sr. Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Calpine Corporation

Linda Kimberling, Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, WAPA

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. :: Networking Break

4:00 – 4:30 p.m. :: Keynote Address

Mayor Ivy Taylor, City of San Antonio, Texas (invited)

4:30 – 5:15 p.m. :: Speed Networking Exercise

5:15 – 6:15 p.m. :: Networking Reception Sponsored by Siemens


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast Sponsored by Sensus

8:30 – 9:45  a.m. :: Seizing Opportunities in the Evolving Energy Industry

There are many drivers shaping the energy industry today.  In this session, we’ll take a look at some of the most critical current issues that are influencing power providers around the globe.  We’ll examine where the energy industry is going and the roles that women can take to move the industry forward.


Diane Sullivan, U.S. Renewable Energy Leader, Stantec

  • Key trends in the global energy market

Sheri Blauwiekel, Executive Vice President and Director of Operations and Shared Services, Black & Veatch

  • The impacts of policy and regulation on the future of the energy industry

Andrianne Payson, Partner, DLA Piper

  • Enabling SmartGrid one connection at a time

Sharelynn Moore, Vice President, Global Marketing and Public Affairs, Itron

9:45 – 10:15 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:15- 11:45 a.m. :: The Making of a Great Leader

Great leaders don’t just happen randomly or by sheer luck.  While some individuals may possess more innate leadership qualities than others, studies have shown that effective leaders share very similar practices.  However, as a woman in a predominately male business environment, you face some unique challenges.  In this session, we will discuss how you can leverage winning leadership practices and meet those challenges head on to become a better leader.

  • Defining the needed knowledge, skills and experience to reach your goals
  • Understanding yourself and creating your brand
  • Utilizing mentors and sponsors to advance your career
  • Embracing organizational politics and developing influence
  • Building and leveraging a  strong outside network
  • Maintaining your authentic self in your leadership style


Susan Ballance, Vice President, Finance, Pike Corporation


Susan Gray, Vice President, T&D Operations and Engineering, Tucson Electric Power

Nina Mullins, Senior Director of Land, Salt River Project

Kelly Tomblin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica Public Service Company

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Group Photo

1:15 – 2:30 p.m. :: The Men’s Perspective

So far, it’s been a one sided conversation – women talking with women about women.  But how do men perceive women in the industry?  What common behaviors have they noticed in their female colleagues, subordinates, and bosses?  Are women’s perceptions of themselves in the workplace the same as men’s?  This panel of senior male executives will share their observations and viewpoints on gender specific workplace issues and address questions such as:

  • How do women communicate and interact differently than men in a male dominate work culture?
  • How can women constructively address barriers to success such as unconscious bias?
  • What common qualities and skills have you noticed in the successful women leaders you’ve known?
  • How can men and women work together to effect change and advance an inclusive and equal workforce agenda?


Vicki Trees, Director of Marketing, Landis+Gyr


Keith Garvey, Vice President, Community Renewal & Energy Solutions, Jamaica Public Service Company

Charles A. Menzie, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Exponent

Khalil Shalabi, Vice President, Market Operations and Resource Planning, Austin Energy

Joe Svachula, Vice President of Engineering and Smart Grid, ComEd

Michael Quinn, Vice President of Strategy and Chief Technology Officer, Oncor Energy

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. :: Interactive Group Session

3:45 – 5:00 p.m. :: Getting Off to a Strong Start:  Early Career Guidance From Mid-Level Managers

This session is designed for women who are starting or at the early stages of their careers in energy.  You’ll hear advice and learning experiences from three women in mid-level leadership roles on key questions and topics such as:

  • How do you plan out your career? Are there certain milestones or goals that you set for yourself?
  • What was something that you did early on in your career that set you up for success?
  • How do you try to stand out amongst your peers and make sure your work is noticed by all levels of people in the company?
  • Describe a setback you had in your career and how you overcame it
  •  What is the one best piece of advice that you would give to someone hoping to advance their career?


Joan Eischen, Director, Advisory Practice, KPMG


Kelly Hauert, Supervisor, Rates & Regulatory, Arizona Public Serivce (APS)

Usha-Maria Turner, Director, Corporate Environment, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E)

Rachael Welch, Senior Advisor, Shared Services, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

5:00 pm. :: Conference adjourns



Monday, June 6, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration  and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. :: Workshop Timing

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Lunch on your own


By neglecting to negotiate her starting salary for her first job, a woman may sacrifice over half a million dollars in earnings by the end of her career.  Research reveals that men are four times more likely to ask for higher pay than are women with the same qualifications.  Convinced that negotiation requires bluffing, steamrolling, and playing hardball, many women avoid negotiating whenever they can.  Whether they want higher salaries, better career opportunities, or more help at home, women are hesitant to ask for what they want. They pay for this decision in every aspect of their lives—in lost income, delayed career advancement, and under-utilization of their skills at work. They also pay in strained relationships and health problems at home. These are losses women don’t need to suffer.

By mastering a few basic principles, planning carefully, and practicing, anyone can become an effective negotiator. Using a combination of lectures, interactive exercises, case studies, videos, and group discussion, we will explore the internal and external barriers that can prevent you from asking for what you need and deserve—and show you how to overcome your socially imposed reluctance to negotiate.  In this workshop, you will learn to:

  • Evaluate the economic value of your work
  • Set the right targets for your negotiations
  • Employ best practice negotiating strategies that have been shown to work especially well for women
  • Explore ways to maximize your bargaining power
  • Rehearse and practice your negotiations beforehand
  • Acquire techniques to manage the anxiety often felt when negotiating
  • Recognize many more opportunities to negotiate

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out and be in attendance for the entirety of the workshop to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint, video, group discussion, and interactive exercises will be used in this workshop.

Workshop Instructor

Sara Laschever

Sara Laschever is an author, editor, and cultural critic who has spent her career investigating the obstacles, detours, and special circumstances that shape women’s lives and careers.  She is the co-author of two groundbreaking books about women and negotiation, Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation—and Positive Strategies for Change and Ask for It! How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want.  Her work has been published by The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Harvard Business Review, Vogue, Glamour, and many other publications.  Sara is frequently cited in the media as an expert on the persistence of the wage gap, women and conflict resolution, work-life balance issues, and the multiple factors influencing women’s long-term career success. She lectures and teaches workshops about women and negotiation for corporate audiences, universities, law firms, government agencies, and women’s leadership conferences. She is a founding faculty member of the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women and the Academic Coordinator for the WIN Summit, a global women’s conference focused on women and negotiation.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Workshop Timing


Women’s Resource Groups (WRGs) are designed to serve as support for members by fostering an inclusive workplace that is aligned with organizational values, goals, and business objectives.  These voluntary, employee-led groups have many benefits, including increased employee engagement and workplace satisfaction, development of future leaders, and talent retention.  WRGs also help to promote the leadership-driven diversity and inclusion strategies within organizations.

In this workshop, we will examine parallel case studies of two different types of organizations.  We’ll take an in-depth look at the steps and processes they have taken to create and maintain successful WRGs.  You will leave this workshop with the knowledge and tools necessary to begin building your own WRG.


I. Introduction
  • What is a Women’s Resource Group (WRG)?
  • Why is it needed?
  • What value can it bring to individuals as well as the organization as a whole?
II. How to sell the idea of a WRG
  • Creating the business case
  • Getting executive buy-in
  • Building the support base
III. How to start your WRG
  • Creating a strong business strategy linked to organizational benefits
  • Developing the Infrastructure
  • Defining leadership roles and structure
  • Action planning
  • Kick-off
IV. How to maintain your Group over the long term
  • Governance
  • Succession Planning
  • Maturity model
V. Conclusions
  • Summary of lessons learned
  • Available resources
  • Q&A


Jo Biggers, Vice President of Finance, MISO

Jo Biggers is Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services for MISO.  Jo is responsible for the financial and performance management of this Midwest regional transmission operator.  She initiated the first Resource Group at MISO and continues to serves as the Executive Sponsor for the Women’s group. Jo graduated with high honors from Indiana University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Management Information Systems and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.  She is a Certified Public Accountant.  She serves on multiple boards including chair of the Finance & Audit Committee of SERC, Chair-elect of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, and board member of Prevail, a victims’ advocacy organization.

Keely Hughes, Learning and Development Specialist, MISO

Keely began her career at MISO as a member of the Learning & Development Team where she managed the New Employee Onboarding Program. Since 2015, Keely’s role has evolved and she is currently working as a Human Resources Coordinator at MISO’s headquarters in Carmel, Indiana. She serves on the Executive Board of the Women’s Resource Group as the Membership Chair and she is also responsible for oversight of MISO’s Learning Management System- the company’s primary training and employee development center. Additionally, Keely has initiated an employee-wide MISO Book Club in an ongoing effort to encourage and support continuing education and development.  Keely holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management.

Gillian Saunders, Director of Quality Management & Environmental, Health & Safety, Siemens Energy, Inc.

Gillian Saunders heads the Onshore Americas Quality Management and EHS department in Siemens Wind Power. She is responsible for promoting Zero Harm and the Zero Defect Culture within the Americas region, as well as driving down non-conformance costs, and resolving quality issues within projects.  Gillian has been involved with the Siemens diversity initiative since 2008 when she became the Chair of the Women’s Resource Group ([email protected]). After two years in this role, she transitioned to the Diversity & Inclusion Council where she has spent six years volunteering in various roles, including two years as Co-chair of the Council.

Gillian has been with Siemens for 22 years and has held several positions within Project Management, Engineering, Process Management and Quality.  She earned a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. She is also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Six Sigma Green Belt, and QMiP (Quality Manager in Projects).

Micha Schwappach, Program Management, R&D, Siemens Energy, Inc.

Micha Schwappach is a Program Manager at Siemens, responsible for research and development projects and process management in the Energy sector.  She also chairs the Women’s Resource Group at the U.S. headquarters in Orlando, a culmination of her 10+ years of work on this effort and in support of multiple diversity and inclusion initiatives at Siemens. Micha is a PMI-certified project manager who has also attained her Six Sigma green belt. Her 17-year career with Siemens includes roles in market research and competitive intelligence, customer satisfaction, supply chain management and international order implementation. Micha earned her undergraduate degree in international business and her MBA at the University of Central Florida.  She is also active in a number of volunteer leadership roles, including Toastmasters, her church, and within her community’s various committees and special projects.


La Canterra

16641 La Cantera Parkway
San Antonio, TX 78256

To reserve your room, please call 1-855-499-2960 or book online at
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.


The room rate is $215.00 single or double plus $15.00 resort fee and applicable taxes.


Event Standard RateAttendees

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