Insights into the forces shaping our industry.


Industry Commentary

I just attended the NAED Women in Industry conference in Salt Lake City.  The theme was “Electrify You” and it was attended by over 850 women who work in the electrical industry.  Even though women account for only 20% of the workforce in the industry, we are a strong part of every company that invested in their employees and sent them to this great convention.  We listened to inspirational women leaders in the industry and networked at breakout sessions with each other. It was a great event, here are a few of my key takeaways.  

Annette Clayton, CEO Schneider Electric North America, spoke on the electrification of the US and how we need to be working toward energy independence from other countries.  Energy independence creates for national security. It is a great time to be in our industry with the expansion of alternative energy and decarbonization.   Annette addressed how we need to reach out to other women to help them grow their career.  She explained the differences in sponsorship, mentoring, and coaching.  Sponsorship is asking someone in the organization to put your name forward for a position. Mentoring is finding someone outside your organization to giving you advice and being a sounding board.  Coaching is having someone help you become more self-aware.  Annette explained that she has had a coach for 20 years.  Annette was asked “when is a good time to leave a company?” She responded the best to leave is when there is no more challenge for you, or your current company is not investing in you. However, you need to realize that changing jobs sets your career back 2 years because you have to prove yourself all over again with the new company.

There was a panel discussion with panelists from each generation, which was very informative. This video, what a great conversation starter.  I think all companies should look at and understand how each generation can be an asset. Fun Fact: no one likes voicemails, most people prefer email or text.  

These are just a few takeaways but what a great opportunity to meet and discuss how to further women’s careers in the electrical industry.  I’ll leave you with a quote from Kathleen Shanahan, CEO of Turtle & Hughes, “Help any woman who crosses your threshold.” 

Pati Kelly