The Women's International Network of Utility Professionals 2023 Winter Connection What a wonderful world...


The Women's International Network of Utility Professionals is an organization providing a link for developing and recognizing professionals involved with utility business trends, issues, products, and services.


  • Opportunities for professional development of members.
  • Network and mentoring among members.
  • Recognition and visibility for members and business partners.


  • Well-connected members
  • Inclusion, equity and diversity
  • Networking
  • Uplifting
  • Philanthropic

Message From The President

Karen Gilmer - 2023 WiNUP International President

What a monumental year 2023 has been for WiNUP?! We have celebrated our 100th Anniversary on both the International and Chapter levels. I hope everyone was able to join in a celebration or two! I want to thank everyone who was involved with the very successful Centennial Celebration in Niagara Falls. The 2023 Annual Conference highlighted our history while feeding us knowledge to continue the WiNUP mission into the future.

Thank you to all our 2023 WiNUP members, committee chairs, board representatives and officers. It is your hard work and commitment that make this organization so valuable. I especially appreciate supporting me as your President and CEO during WiNUP’s 100th year. It has been a whirlwind year, but a remarkable experience!

I would personally like to welcome the newly chartered Corpus Christi Chapter to WiNUP! It is exciting to see the increased interest in a geographical area that will support the growth of WiNUP.

2023 Accomplishments Highlights

  • 100th Anniversary Swag
  • 100th Anniversary Press Release
  • Professional Development Opportunities- WiNUP Presents: Learning LinkedIn with the LinkedIn Guru
  • American Water Works Association Advertisement
  • American Public Works Association Publication
  • Charter the Corpus Christi Chapter
  • Guideline Updates
  • Bylaws Updates

I would like to close my final President’s message with an excerpt from my banquet toast:

'For 100 years, this remarkable institution has been the bedrock of empowerment, fostering resilience, strength, and unity among women in a field where they have often stood as pioneers.

Let us remember our 7 founding women and the countless trailblazers who, over the decades, dared to break barriers, challenge norms, and pave the way for generations of women to follow. This organization has been the catalyst for change, providing a safe harbor for dreams to flourish, talents to be nurtured, and aspirations to reach new heights.

To the women who have blazed trails, the mentors who have nurtured talent, and the organization that has stood as a beacon of hope for a century, we say, "Cheers!" Here's to the past, present, and future of women in utilities. May your light continue to shine for another hundred years and beyond.

Cheers WiNUP!'

Vice President's Professional Development Corner


Goal Setting - Getting ready for a New Year and a New You!

It is that time of year where we are ramping down for the holiday break and thinking of what we want to do the next year. Are we going to make a New Year’s resolution? Are we going to identify goals we want to achieve in the new year? To me, resolutions are goals, so let’s talk about how we can get there. What desired results or outcomes do we want to achieve? What are we willing to commit ourselves to help with our professional and personal growth? All good questions to ask yourself! First and foremost, let’s keep things attainable, follow the “KIS” method, KEEP IT SIMPLE! We don’t want to frustrate ourselves with goals, we want to achieve them with moderate challenge and the ability to track our progress. Separate your goals to provide easy measurement to achieve them! Are we READY, SET, GOOOOOOAAAAAL!

When you start to set your goals, be thinking of a few questions:

1. Why is goal-setting important?

Goal setting is important because it provides direction and purpose. When you set goals, you identify what you want to achieve and what you need to do to achieve it. It motivates you to take action, whether it’s in your personal or professional life, and gives you a sense of control over your future. Goals also help you to see the bigger picture and provide you with a sense of accomplishment once you achieve them.

2. How to set achievable goals

Now that you know how important goal setting is, be thinking of what goals you want to achieve. Whether you’re setting professional or personal goals, it’s important to start with goals that are realistic. Here are tips for setting both personal and professional goals:

Consider your passions!

  • Part of the process for how to set goals should be deciding what inspires you and what you want to achieve. You should be passionate about your goals if you want to achieve them in the long run.
  • Your goals should be meaningful to you and provide you with a sense of pride once you meet them.
  • Set goals you can control. If your goal is based on something outside of your control, you won’t be able to control whether or not you actually achieve it.
  • Your personal goals shouldn’t be dependent on other people. They also shouldn’t be reliant on external factors that you have no control over.
  • Be realistic about what you can and can’t be directly responsible for.

3. Imagine your future

  • Take some time to really think about what you’d like your goals to look like. What does your ideal future entail? For example, if you’re setting personal career goals, ask yourself some questions that will point you in the right direction.

As I close my thoughts on this topic, take time to reflect on the successes you have had this year and what you want to achieve next year. No matter now huge or small your success may be, relish in the fact that you have made accomplishments. Goals are never etched in stone, but they are drivers to get us to be a better version of ourselves. When you are developing your goals next year, think of how WiNUP can help you achieve these. Whether you have personal or professional goals, there are opportunities for development and growth within the WiNUP organization. Talk to your Chapter Chairs and International Board Reps to find out how you can get more involved at both the chapter and international levels this next year! We are here for YOU!

Last, I wanted to note, it has been a sincere pleasure to serve as the WiNUP Vice President this past year. One of the roles as the VP is to provide professional development articles to the WiNUP membership. I hope these articles from the past year have helped you. They have helped me continue to stay in line for both my personal and professional goals. I look forward to being with you in 2024 as the WiNUP President.

My hope for you all is to have peace and joy this holiday season to you and yours!

Submitted by: Laura Havis, WiNUP Vice President



Whether you're new to WiNUP or have just been around long enough to need a reminder... Before heading out for the holidays, remember to register or renew your membership! Visit the WiNUP website, and mark that off your list!

Congratulate and Meet your 2024 International Executive Committee

Laura Havis, President

Since 1994, Laura Havis has been a member of WINUP and the South Texas Chapter where she has been involved on both the international and local level. She is currently serving as the South Texas Chapter Chair and International Board Representative.

Laura is a Program Management Office (PMO) team lead at Accenture LLC. Laura works in the Health & Public Services (H&PS) sector of Accenture providing process improvement, governance oversight and management of technology project delivery processes for over 200 account leaders. She manages a team of Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) professionals who provide quality assurance, process improvement support and technology industry software compliance.

Trishia Swayne, Vice President/President-elect

Trishia Swayne has been a utility consultant and engineer for 18 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics and an MBA, both from Murray State University in KY. Her goal is to make a positive lasting impact in all that she does, and she is passionate about cultivating interest in STEM-related fields and investing in women within our industry.

In 2019, she, along with eight other industry professionals, created a new company, Power Centric Solutions, as a certified woman-owned business (WBENC) built on a foundation of diversity with technical expertise to help plan for challenges facing electrical utilities.

Mechelle Stanton, Treasurer

Mechelle Stanton is an Employee Development Specialist in Employee Development for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO). Prior to joining INPO, she worked for Virginia Power, now known as Dominion Energy. She is responsible for keeping nuclear power safe and reliable by connecting people to the skills and information needed to close knowledge gaps. She manages the budget for Employee Development and is recognized as an influential authority in the area of talent development with over 25 years of training and development experience. She is responsible for the Civil Treatment program, compliant requirements training, cultural awareness, coaching and consulting in organizational development. Mechelle received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Shorter University.

Jasmine Gilbert, Secretary

Jasmine Gilbert is a an environmental/scientific professional that works in power generation with American Electric Power. She lives in East Texas and serves as an Environmental Coordinator for all of SWEPCO and PSO’s power stations for Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems. She has been with AEP for 8 years, and has worked as a chemist in the power plant and a plant Environmental Coordinator for coal and gas generation plants in northwest Arkansas and East Texas.

Jasmine has a BS in Biochemistry from University of Central Arkansas and a minor in Biology. She has an Environmental Management Professional Certification from University of Texas Arlington. She has 2 children, Laila and Brenton.

Jasmine has been with WiNUP, in the ArkLaTex chapter for 7 years. She has served as the ArkLaTex chapter secretary for 3 years, and the International Board Rep for 2 years (currently) also.

Karen Gilmer, Immediate Past President

Karen Gilmer has been active in WiNUP since 2013. She is a charter member of the Southwest Virginia/ Northeast Tennessee Chapter and has held leadership roles within her chapter since conception. Karen’s engagement with WiNUP also includes participation with the International Board, Member Services Committee, Social Justice Committee, 2019 Conference Planning Committee, Energy Affairs Committee, and Newsletter Award Committee. She was the recipient of the Power Award in 2018. Karen is the co-chair of the 2024 Conference Planning Committee.

Karen is a Business Services Account Manager with Appalachian Power Company in Glade Spring, VA. Karen holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and Biology from Emory and Henry College and a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech.

2024 International Executive Committee

WiNUP 2024 Annual Conference - Add to Your Calendar NOW!

2023 Conference Recap

WiNUP 2023 Award Banquet—"Celebrating WiNUP and All That Jazz”

Award Winners Announced at the 2023 WiNUP 100th Anniversary Conference!

The 100th Annual Conference of the International Women’s Network for Utility Professionals (WiNUP) took place in Niagara Falls, New York, from Sept. 24-27. As the centennial celebration of the organization, the four-day conference was packed with a variety of activities, tours, speeches and the most exciting event: The Award Banquet following a Roaring 20’s Reception.

Held on the night of Sept. 26th 2023, this award banquet attracted more than 170 attendees from 18 chapters, including the newly founded Corpus Christi Chapter. All participants showed up in 1920’s outfits, celebrating 100 years of history and achievements of WiNUP while old and new friends reunited to enjoy selfies, food, dancing as well as to witness the presentation of WiNUP personal and chapter awards.

With a toast to all attendees by current WiNUP President Karen Gilmer, the award presentation started. The Power Award, created to honor an active member of WiNUP who holds membership for at least two years but no more than five years, was presented to Linda M. Monge Guerrero, who is a Manager of Operations Planning with NIPSCO where she is responsible for leading a department of 15 direct reports providing real-time engineering operations support and planning NIPSCO's transmission and distribution electric system operations going into the operating day, including scheduled outages, performance, and protection in accordance with reliability standards, regulatory requirements, and contractual obligations.

Dianne Nuñez, Past President of WiNUP, presented The Power Award to Linda M. Guerrero

Linda joined WiNUP in 2018 and has been actively contributing to WiNUP objectives at the local and international level. By 2019, she had developed and launched Metro Chicago’s STEM Committee comprised of 5 members. In 2021, she became Metro Chicago Chapter Vice-Chair. In this role, she is responsible for creating professional development programming for the members, providing guidance to the chapter’s committee chairs, and assisting the Chapter Chair. In 2021, she co-chaired the Professional Development and Programming Committee responsible for planning the annual chapter’s professional development meeting and coordinating chapter events with assigned event leads. In 2021, she also became the Metro Chicago Chapter’s International Board Representative.

The Oak Award, established to honor a WiNUP member who has provided outstanding service and exhibited exceptional leadership skills for at least ten years, was presented to Janet Hewitt, who is a WiNUP Past President and Manager in Operation and Performance Transformation Department of American Electric Power (AEP).

Laura Havis, President Elect of WiNUP, presents Oak Award to Janet Hewitt

Janet has been a very active WiNUP member for over 13 years. She is a WiNUP Past President, served on the Executive Committee, International Board and as Chapter Chair. She has served on numerous international committees including conference committees, and is continually active in the Past President Council and was a recipient of the Power Award. Being a utility professional for over 40 years, Janet has worked on projects and initiatives that support the electric industry. She worked on the Culture advisory board providing networking and development opportunities. She has mentored women as they have started their careers, she has focused on WELD, STEM and Women @ Work Employee Resource Group initiatives. Janet focuses on mentoring women as they are starting their careers to provide guidance, share her experiences and connect them to others.

The Honorary Life Award is WiNUP's highest recognition of honor. It is awarded to WiNUP members who have led and served the organization for at least 15 years. Unlike the Power Award and the Oak Award, the Honorary Life Award is not presented annually, as it is only given to the most exceptional members. This year, we have two Honorary Life Award Winners: Trena Riffle, senior engineer from AEP and Vivian Andrews, owner of La Ve’ consulting.

Janet Rehberg, Past President of WiNUP, presents The Honorary Life Award to Trena Riffle

Trena began her 34-year utility career as a performance engineer at the Philip Sporn Plant located in New Haven, West Virginia, and owned by American Electric Power (AEP). After 23 years, during which time she had worked also in maintenance and environmental departments and volunteered for a temporary transfer to the Tidd Pressurized Fluidized Bed Combustion project, she transferred to her current position with AEP’s transmission operations engineering in New Albany, Ohio, a few years ahead of Philp Sporn’s permanent closure. In this role, she supports the Shreveport Transmission Dispatch Center by evaluating planned transmission outages in AEP’s Southwest Power Company (SWEPCo) area and submitting them to the regional transmission organization, Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

At the invitation of her supervisor, Trena attended her first WiNUP conference at Williamsburg, Virginia, in 2006. She joined the West Virginia Chapter in 2007 and has attended every conference since. She was elected chapter chair and international board representative and appointed parliamentarian. She created the chapter’s first newsletter, which has won many awards, serving as its editor for many years. She has served as chapter historian and has made the chapter officer installation ceremony a tradition. She has chaired several international committees including international newsletter and has been the international historian for many years. She was the researcher for the third revision of our history book, From Acorns to Oaks, and arranged to have a copy accepted by the Library of Congress. She was honored with the OAK award in 2018. Beginning in 2019, Riffle co-chaired the 2023 conference in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and witnessed the burial of our time capsule on Association Island in Lake Ontario where the founders of EWRT/WiNUP met in September 1923.

Laura Havis, President Elect of WiNUP, presents the Honorary Life Award to Vivian Andrews

Though unable to attend personally, Vivian enjoyed the same excitement when announced as a winner of the Honorary Life Award. With over 45 years of experience in operations, finance and human resources, Vivian has been contributing to WiNUP since 2007. She was once the chair of the ArkLaTex Chapter and 2022 WiNUP annual conference. She served as the organization’s CEO and president in 2021.

Vivian is President/CEO of La’ Ve Consulting-a human resources consulting firm providing assistance in benefits, salary administration, disciplinary issues, grievance, arbitrations, legal matters, management and employee training, talent planning and career development. Vivian was given the task to start a WiNUP chapter at SWEPCO. Once the ArkLaTex chapter was organized and chartered in 2007, she created the first mentoring program. Since joining WiNUP, she has been an active member at both the chapter and international level. As an active person in her community, she takes every opportunity to introduce WiNUP to multiple organizations.

Vivian states, "As a human resources professional, I continue to promote women’s inclusiveness and equal pay in both traditional and non-traditional jobs, while providing encouragement and inspiration."

The contributions of both Trena and Vivian were acknowledged by WiNUP with the presentation of the Honorary Life Award.

Many chapter awards were also presented during the banquet, out of which the Chapter Achievement Award was won by the West Virginia Chapter, just in time for their 25th anniversary.

With the last song faded from the dance floor, the banquet ended with joy, sentiments and many long-lasting memories...

Now, let's turn it over to our Conference Grant Recipients for the agenda highlights...

Changes and Challenges: A Multi-Utility Look Ahead


Jill Alvarez – Sr. Manager Transmission Engineering, Oncor Electric Delivery

Kelly Ferneau – Site Vice President, D. C. Cook Nuclear Plant, American Electric Power Carla Donev – VP Security & Chief Information Security Officer, NiSource


Janet Rehberg, Chief Strategy Officer/VP of Engineering, Tri-County Electric Cooperative

The 100-year anniversary of WiNUP had a great start to their annual conference with a great panel discussion with three amazing women and an amazing moderator. The topics discussed many of the challenges in the industry like recovering from COVID and how it related supply chain issues, workforce issues, AI technology, career development and more. It was a shame that this session was so short.

The COVID recovery, supply chain lead times and the economy challenges led the speakers to talk on how their companies like working and partnering with others in the area to get vendors the support they need to meet the demand. They also talked about the need to build up their inventory in case of those long lead times.

Another challenge they are seeing is stricter regulations. They discussed one state passing a bill that lim- its the use of renewable resources for the energy sector, while other states that are wanting to lower emissions by supporting the renewables. The load to make everything electrified is becoming a larger challenge and one that is increasingly difficult with inconsistent infrastructure throughout.

Another topic that had a lot of interest was dealing with workforce issues and how they all are dealing with the ever-growing remote vs hybrid vs all in-office demands. Within the industry, there is some concern with keeping employees, as with field workers, who can't work from home. Some of the options they have offered are hybrid, 10-hour days, and flexible schedules.

The panelists talked about how to stay competitive in the industry and about how they are incorporating AI in their processes and keeping innovation in the mix to attract some of the younger generation to the industry. There was also talk about how their companies are working to be more inclusive, empathetic and growth opportunities. One of the panelists talked about how they have been given the opportunity to meet with the CEO, on an informal basis, to get the chance to have more FaceTime with the ELT.

The panelists gave great advice for the audience to enable continued growth in their careers. Some of my biggest takeaways were to take on new challenges, mentor others, and don't always go for the pro- motions but look at lateral moves to become more well-rounded. Another one I took to heart is that you can have everything, but not all at the exact same time. Sometimes you must give more to one part of your life than another and vice versa. It's up to you, and you alone, to determine the priorities in your life and decide what will make you happy.

Submitted by: Rebecca L Ashack

Your Personal Vision: Taking Your Life to a Whole New Level… Today

Speaker: Mark Dolfini – Strategic Life and Business Coach

The second session was just as captivating as the first session. Mark talked about how to define your personal vision. He emphasized that you must make your personal vision before you can even think about your professional vision. Your professional vision should fit into the life you see for yourself, not the other way around.

To get your personal vision, you first need to picture your future and tell a story of that future with as much detail as possible. That will put you in the present and paint a clear picture in your mind of what you want. Think of the vision as the end destination, and the goals you set to get there are the pathway to success. These goals could change, but always keep in mind that you own those goals, the goals don’t own you.

Mark engaged the audience even more by asking the room for things they were grateful for. He would then respond with a mundane thing he was grateful for. Showing that you don't have to be grateful for the big events, but the everyday things like being able to turn on the lights or the bees and flowers. He challenged everyone to start the day listing at least 5 things they were grateful for.

He offered advice on how to get your personal vision with an exercise of asking 5 questions. He challenged everyone to be honest with themselves and not think about today’s challenges, but what is the ideal scenario. With each question, he asked why they weren’t already true and why haven't you been successful in the past.

In everything he said, it was clear that you must take ownership for your future and your vision. Only you can hold yourself back. Making yourself and your vision the priority will get you where you want, whether that is in your personal life or professional career. Be kind to yourself and keep it positive and good things will come.

Submitted by: Rebecca L Ashack

The Niagara Power Vista Tour

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Power Vista Hydro Plant is the fourth largest hydroelectric plant in the United States. The plant diverts water from the Niagara River above Niagara Falls and returns the water into the lower portion of the river near Lake Ontario. It uses 13 generators at an installed capacity of 2,525 MW. When the plant first started producing power in 1961, it was the largest hydropower facility in the Western world.

The WiNUP conference offered 7 group tours to the hydro plant to conference attendees. During our visit we experienced several engaging and interactive stations addressing different topics in electricity. We first stopped at a display which helps visitors understand electricity through the eyes of pioneers like Nikolai Tesla and Thomas Edison, all with a splash of rivalry humor. We also enjoyed riding inside the state-of-the-art 4-D theatre where we felt the transformation from water to hydroelectricity as you fall through the clouds, race through penstocks and zip through the transmission lines across New York. We all received NYPA visitor badges which we were allowed to personalize by adding our picture.

Lastly, visitors were all able to head outside on the top floor of the building to enjoy breathtaking views of the Niagara River and the power plant substation, dam, and transmission lines carrying its power. The tour was a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about more hydro plant generation in an interactive and fun way while taking in a little piece of history.

Submitted by: Linda Monge Guerrero

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Harriet Tubman once said, “Slavery is the next thing to hell.” During this year’s WiNUP conference and 100th anniversary celebration, members were offered the opportunity to tour and learn about the stories of the underground railroad in Niagara Falls. The center’s mission is to reveal authentic stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in Niagara Falls. It is located adjacent to the location of the former International Suspension Bridge where many freedom seekers crossed to freedom including Harriet Tubman.

During the tour, visitors learn about the heroic roles of the people that assisted slaves to freedom. The Heritage Center celebrates the history and stories of those risking their own lives to free others. The tour guides shared that same passion and recognition of history when narrating individuals’ stories. Through this education, visitors are able to appreciate the heritage associated with this movement and embrace the motivation freedom seekers had to push forward. It was impressive to see firsthand how a body of water meant the difference between slavery and freedom.

‘Freedom is never given, it is won!’
A picture speaks a thousand words.

It is up to us to influence the way children think and feel about slavery. To help them learn the differences in our cultures and teach them to accept everyone’s diversity. Only then can we empower future generations to change their values, increase awareness and learn from history.

Submitted by: Gricelda Calzada

The Pioneering Power of Hydro

We kicked off Day Two of the Centennial Conference with an educational panel discussion session brought to us by WiNUP Past President, Teri Berliner, who was the Moderator, and Guest Speakers: Patricia Bernard Ezzell, Senior Program Manager with Tennessee Valley Authority and Nicolle Butcher, Chief Operations Officer at Ontario Power Generation.

Patricia Ezzell, who has written several articles and two books on TVA’s history, gave us a brief history presentation on hydropower in Tennessee Valley. She started her presentation on looking back at how they began with the Muscle Shoals, and then forward at where they are now with their mission statement:

“To serve the people of the Tennessee Valley to make life better by providing affordable, reliable power, Steward the Valley’s natural resources and Partner for economic growth.”

Today, TVA partners with 153 Local Power Companies and serves 10 million people, 700,000 businesses in parts of 7 states and 57 large Industries & Federal Installations. They have 49 Dams, both Hydroelectric and non-power. There was $9.7 Billion since 1936 in Flood Damage was averted and $300 million annually. They are a water source for over 5 million people with 10 billion gallons of water used in the valley every day of which 95.6% is recycled and returned to the river. Nicolle Butcher is responsible for OPG’s generating fleet, which includes 10 nuclear units, 66 hydro stations, two thermal stations and a solar facility. Nicolle chairs the Boards of both Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, OPG’s US hydro subsidiary and Atura Power, OPG’s fleet of combined cycle plants. In 2021, she was Named one of Canada’s Top Most Powerful Women and named Women of the Year by Women in Renewable Energy and Association Of Power Producers of Ontario. Nicolle talked and showed us that OPG has 18,900 mw, of which is 100 % own and is the largest low cost power generator in Ontario.

OPG has more than 9,000 employees and has just added 1,000 more employees this year. There are 600 mw of hydro in the United States and 7,500 mw in Canada. Their Fleet at a glance shows 1/3 of OPG’s electricity is hydro alone and reminder bulk is nuclear. There is also a diverse mix of large and small old plants. The oldest plant just celebrated its 125th year and was commissioned in 1898 and was also a part of the economic development of Niagara Falls at that time. The second oldest facility is located right there in Niagara Falls and it celebrated 100 years. Nicole says that OPG really looks at hydro in a different way in that it provides to their system and is really unique from a system point because it is so flexible. They can hold back the water and only generate the power when they actually need it. OPG contols the water over Niagara Falls using a dam that comes out two thirds across the river. They also have reservoirs throughout Ontario and is able to control the water flow up and down to meet peak demands. She mentioned that having this ability is critical and the key player in how they address climate change as they look forward to net zero to removing natural gas from their system by 2050. She also talked about working in partnership with the First Nation Communities when there are development opportunities and how important it is to have indigenous relations.

Submitted by: Pa Vang

What’s New in Renewables?

Danette Scudder (EVP &CSO TVPPA) moderated a very knowledgeable panel discussion which included speakers Jeff Pratt (President Green Power EMC, and Vice President of Emerging Technologies Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Jefferson, Georgia), Valerie Paxton (Environmental Conservation Program Manager, Austin Energy Texas Chapter) and Jennifer Montague (President and Chief Operating Officer Columbia Gas of Virginia).

The roundtable discussion covered topics that included carbon reduction goals and questions about how skillsets have changed the workforce. There was additional discussion around expectations from customers and retailers/businesses as well as solar, battery and wind programs.

The future is bright and communities are curious to learn more about using clean energy as a resource. The panel believes utilities are up for the challenge.

Submitted by: Orawan Wells

Investments that make an impact: ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Investing and Utility Companies: Trends and Practices

Investments that make an impact: ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Investing and Utility Companies: Trends and Practices included a panel of guest speakers moderated by Kim Thompson (Financial Advisor – Ameriprise Financial LLC). The panel included speakers Mary Titler (CFA, Senior Analyst, Investment Grade Credit Columba Threadneedle Investments Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area) and Brenda Brickhouse (Senior Technical Executive at EPRI – Electric Power Research Institute).

This panel of experts in the field shared their knowledge on current risks for companies. They also discussed the challenges of figuring out how energy transitions affect companies, while being able to level set with global transactions. A brief discussion of carbon foot prints was discussed while talking about the hurdles of waiting on permits for resources. The panel agreed that policy reform is needed. Rounding this conversation was the discussion of the transitions in the workforce.

All in all this discussion provided valuable information and insight on investments.

Submitted by: Orawan Wells

Moving Forward: How We can Succeed and Lead in an Evolving Industry

We ended our Day Two session with a discussion and presentation by Missy Henriksen to discuss Moving Forward: How We can Succeed and Lead in an Evolving Industry.

Missy Henriksen is the executive director of Center for Energy Workforce Development and has over 30 years of non-profit management and workforce development experience. Missy has held executive level positions with the National Association of Landscape Professionals, National Pest Management Association, and the American Composites Manufacturers Association.

Missy told us that CEWD leads critical workforce development initiative for the industry and is committed to developing a skilled, diverse energy workforce and their priorities include:

  • Strengthening awareness and promoting the merits of 21st century clean energy careers
  • Supporting the development of more diverse, equitable and inclusive energy workplaces
  • Supporting companies developing employees in increasingly technical and dynamic energy careers
  • Supporting the industry’s workforce development professionals with the tools and resources they need.

She explained that CEWD represents 140 utilities, contractors, labor, 8 different national trade associations and educators.

Submitted by: Pa Vang

Stepping It Up: Climbing the Leadership Ladder

Sarah Bodner’s program on climbing the leadership ladder was a fantastic end to our conference in Niagara Falls. She broke it down into 5 categories: gender, relationships, influence, politics, and power. So much to unpack, so I will just try to hit some highlights! She began with challenges that are unique to women. Good leaders are better for everyone and we need women in these positions. The most important career decision we make is who we choose as a life partner. And then comes the unrealistic expectations surrounding motherhood (this section really resonated with me). There’s criticism for not having children, criticism for having children. Maybe you want children but can’t due to infertility or another issue. There are challenges to all sides and there is NO RIGHT WAY. We must decide what our priority is. Possibly my favorite quote of the program: “Work life balance is bologna!” Work life prioritization is what we must focus on. Some other takeaways are that we need to be more concrete and direct in order to be heard. We also need to stop focusing on the gap to be perfect because we will never be perfect! It is also key that we build allies – mentors AND champions. What’s the difference? Mentors share their knowledge and skills to help you grow and develop. Champions put their personal brand at risk to benefit you professionally. In your career, you may have many mentors. You will have a lot less champions. Sarah also discussed the rumor mill and how important it is to nip it in the bud. There is nothing wrong with healthy professional relationships between men and women.

Speaking of relationships, that was Sarah’s next topic. We shouldn’t always network with the same people that are similar to us, that we like, etc. Don’t neglect your rivals and enemies. It’s important to form relationships even with people we don’t like. We should seek out the powerful people:

  • Who are the gatekeepers?
  • Who are the decision makers?
  • Who are the people of influence?
  • Who will have to carry the water?
  • Who whispers into important ears?
  • Who has something to gain or lose?

Once we identify those, we should nurture the relationship to understand who they are, what their values, identity, beliefs, emotions and secret goals. A quote you may have heard is “What other people think of you is none of your business.” But, if they don’t like you, they won’t trust you. If they don’t trust you, they can’t follow you. Trust is leaving something that’s important to you in someone else’s care. Sarah broke trust down further into 4 categories:

  • Sincerity: Are they honest?
  • Competence: Can they do it?
  • Reliability: Can I count on them?
  • Care: Are they loyal to me?

In order to earn this trust, we should enter into each meeting, decision, interaction and conversation curious.

Next came influence. There is a difference between being influential and persuasive. Persuasive is convincing without begging. To grow our influence, we should look at 4 things:

  • Credibility: earned and understood
  • Likeability: already inclined in your favor
  • Reciprocity: give what you want to receive
  • Dialogue

Who is in your sphere of influence? Step out of your bubble and into others!

Sarah followed influence with politics. We all know they exist. It’s a tournament with lots of players. If we aren’t at the table, we’re on the table! If we can elevate the “good” politics, then we lower the “dark” politics. What do you wear? Where should you sit? In what order are people going to speak? Who makes the final decision? We need to pay close attention and learn the rules. Watch closely and ask questions. Know the turf boundaries. Anticipate and avoid landmines. There are multiple chess games going on at the same time! Everyone has an agenda. We must manage our account balance. Be aware of what’s going on around. Don’t bring something to the table without your votes pre-counted. And always watch your back.

Sarah wrapped things up by speaking on power. We need it to make a difference. What power do you have? What power do you need? How you use it is what makes power good or bad. There are different types of power:

  • Legitimate power
  • Expertise power
  • Information power
  • Connection power
  • Referent power
  • Reward power
  • Coercive power

To grow power, we need skill (perspective, confidence, tolerance), will (ambition, energy, focus) and perception (resources, relationships, attitude). We should keep our head up and be aware of our posture. We must build tolerance for conflicts and uncomfortable situations. Our resources are decisions, people and money. Power does mean all eyes are on you. Beware of thinking out loud, expressing frustrations, and using humor. Self-awareness is your saving grace. Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sarah’s program was incredibly engaging and one that will most definitely stick with me. I’ll wrap up my overview with one of Sarah’s final comments: “Leadership isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be.”

Submitted by: Emily Ball

2023 WiNUP

Anniversary Recognition

5 Years




Donna Dilsaver, Members-at-Large

Grant Recipients

Chapter Achievement Award

The Chapter Achievement Award will be given each year in recognition for outstanding chapter participation.

  • West Virginia Chapter --Category #3 – Chapters with 26-50 members
  • Ohio Chapter -- Category #5 – Chapters with more than 75 members

Linda Johnson Newsletter Award

The Linda Johnson Newsletter Award is given each year in recognition for outstanding Chapter Newsletter Communications.

  • West Virginia Chapter -- First place
  • Ohio Chapter -- Second place
  • Virginia Chapter -- Third place

Welcome Corpus Christi Chapter!

Charter Members

  • Christina Gomez
  • Esmer Reyes
  • Pauline Teran
  • Gricelda Calzada

Past Presidents Frame Sale

The Past Presidents Council typically provides a grant for one WiNUP member (sometimes two) to cover costs to attend the annual conference. This year, the Council was able to provide 7 grants for the 2023 conference in Niagara Falls where we celebrated WiNUP’s 100-year anniversary! To raise funds to do so, the Council is selling picture frames with the 100th anniversary logo. The frames are $10 each and can be purchased through your chapter chair or by contacting Janet Hewitt (, Teri Berliner (, or Lila Munsey ( To pay by credit card, please use this link . (There is a $0.50 processing fee for credit card payments.)

Frame does not include this awesome photo!

This is a must keepsake for all members to commemorate our 100th anniversary. Chapters should consider purchasing these for speaker gifts.

The frames are 6” x 6” with the picture area being 4” x 6”.

International Fundraisers

Bangle Bracelets and WiNUP Charms

The WiNUP International Ways and Means Committee is selling Bangle bracelets with a WiNUP charm for $20.00 (includes shipping). The bangles are made of stainless steel and include a nickel-plated charm. If you already purchased a bracelet or necklace and want to purchase just the charms, the charms can be purchased for $10.00 (includes shipping). To purchase the bracelet with charm or just the charm, click here.

Chapter Fundraisers

Purchase Gift Cards through the WiNUP Indiana Chapter

Purchase e-gift or physical gift cards for your family, friends, and even yourself! If you have any questions or need assistance, email Shelby Leisz at

For all fundraiser details and ordering, visit the WiNUP website here: FUNDRAISER!

Committee Corner

WiNUP International STEM Committee

The International STEM Committee is led by Heidi DeBenedictis and Jasmine Gilbert, with some fantastic active members including Teresa Turner, Melissa Curtis, Megan Keen, Christina Massey, Manu Giri, and Christina Iammarino. The STEM committee has several functions- first and foremost, we are an international committee that functions to support each and every chapter’s various STEM outreach activity, events or fundraisers. We host quarterly All-Hands calls with chapter STEM Committee chairs or chapter representatives. The purpose of these calls are to help network, collaborate, share event ideas, trouble-shoot obstacles and determine how we can best support the chapters. We encourage our participants to toot their own horn when it comes to successful events they’ve hosted; these are great inspiration for other chapters!

Additionally, we work every year to make sure we have resources available for each chapter. This is through updating the STEM framework which is updated and distributed annually. We also have been working to compile various programs, coalitions or organizations by state to help connect our chapters.

Lastly, we provide STEM-related articles to be included each quarter in the international newsletter.


(Chapters who submit content are featured in alphabetic order.)



The WiNUP Indiana Chapter was a Silver Level Sponsor* for the 5th Annual Women IN Energy Conference on Friday, October 27th, 2023. Keri Forney, Career Coach and Mentoring Program Partner for WiNUP, was a speaker at the conference, and our sponsorship (supported by our Chapter Event Grant from WiNUP International) contributed to ensuring her attendance at the event. She covered the session 'Power Up Your Network', where she, with other leaders at the event, engaged with all attendees on an exclusive and engaging networking session to share tips and tricks on networking and speed network with other women leaders in the energy industry.

WiNUP Indiana Members with Keri at the event!


Nashville WiNUP Chapter Celebrates National STEM Day

The Nashville chapter spent National STEM Day, November 8, 2023, greeted by employees of the Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB). We were welcomed into their operations center to learn about the importance of small, diverse, and minority business partnerships from Kristen Copeland, Manager, Minority & Women Owned Business at EPB. We learned about their battery storage systems and microgrids in system operations and distribution planning for EPB. In the presentation, Aaron Willey, Planning Engineer at EPB, shared lessons learned, challenges, and successes with these projects. Following his presentation, we went on a tour of one of the microgrids located at the operations center, which is a 1.2 MW TESLA Battery paired with 1.05 MW of solar generation. We learned so much, and we had fun together as a chapter!


50th Anniversary Celebration

On November 16, 2023, the North Texas WiNUP Chapter celebrated our 50th anniversary at Salt Grass Steakhouse in Arlington, Texas. With a dash of steak sauce and plenty of cake, we celebrated the successes of 2023 and shared our hopes, goals, and plans for 2024. The WiNUP International 100th Anniversary SWAG added to the beautiful decorations put together by Michelle Kelly, Dawn Compton, and Bridget McNeill.


South Texas Chapter Celebration

The South Texas Chapter celebrated its 50th year anniversary since the Chapter was created. It also celebrated WiNUP’s Centennial anniversary. The chapter met in Sugarland, TX at the South West Water Company offices. It was great to finally place faces to names and have the opportunity to interact and get to know one another. Here’s to another 50 and 100 years!!


The SWVA/NETN Chapter gathered on October 12 to celebrate WiNUP turning 100 and enjoyed an evening throwing axes!


The Virginia Chapter celebrated WiNUP’s 100th Year Anniversary in September during our 3rd Quarter Membership Meeting. We enjoyed cupcakes and handed out anniversary cups and stickers.

Back Row (L-R) Kate Failla, Jackie Stern, Teresa Hyers, Cheryl Hines, Tammy Spradlin, Melinda Ford. Front Row (L-R) Amanda Hurst, Mary Ann Roberts, Elizabeth Dressler

The Virginia Chapter volunteered to service dinner at the Roanoke Rescue Mission in August. Over 200 meals were served.


WV WiNUP Tour of AEP Marmet Hydro Facility – 10/18/2023

WV WiNUP members participated in a tour of the AEP Marmet hydro facility in Belle, WV, on 10/18/2023. WiNUP members received a warm welcome from the staff at the hydro facility, and were invited back to tour another hydro facility in the future. The tour was interesting and educational, members asked a lot of good questions and had a good time. A fall themed basket was raffled, and Ellen Baker was the lucky winner.

WV WiNUP Community Event - Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries Hike for Hunger – 10/1/2023

WV WiNUP members Judy Hurd, Sara Davis, Ellen Baker, and Robin Watson participated in the annual Heart & Hand Outreach Ministries 2023 Hike for Hunger on 10/1/2023. The chapter also provided a $250 sponsorship of the event.

WV WiNUP Social Event – YWCA Wheeling MEGA Bingo – 9/30/2023

WV WiNUP members attended the YWCA Wheeling MEGA Bingo social event on 9/30/2023. This event raised over $25,000 for the YWCA. WV Chapter members Erikka Storch and Janet Hewitt are both on the Y’s board.

STEM Committee Update

In 2023, some of our major accomplishments have been:

• Providing STEM-related content programming to the 2023 Conference. Our members worked hard to put together the info sheets the group leaders talked about on the tour busses.

• We created a one-pager marketing document for each chapter to use when reaching out externally to outreach partners. While this is not finalized – we will be working with the marketing committee to take next steps – it has been a great conversation starter. We would love for someone with design or marketing interest or savvy to help continue this project in 2024!

• We are working on highlighting chapter activities each quarter- our All-Hands meetings have been a great way to do that but we are looking to spread the stories and accomplishments of each chapter beyond just the meetings. Stay tuned for more information.

• Girl Scouts connection in the Texas area. We are working on establishing a higher level connection with Girl Scouts as this is a common partner for many of our STEM related activities.

Winter Driving Tips

Whether it’s snow, sleet or ice, winter weather can cause extremely dangerous road conditions Preparing yourself – and your vehicle – for winter weather is key.

The Basics

Slow down. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.

Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside the truck. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay far enough behind it and use caution if you pass the plow.

What to Do in an Emergency

If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, stay focused on yourself and your passengers, your car, and your surroundings.

  • Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
  • Let your car be seen. Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light on.
  • Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow and run your car only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm. Don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

Changes You May Notice


As the outside temperature drops, so does tire inflation pressure. Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure, which is in your owner’s manual and on a label located on the driver's side door frame. Do not inflate your tires to the pressure listed on the tire itself. That number is the maximum pressure the tire can hold, not the recommended pressure for your vehicle.

Car Seats

In colder weather, parents typically dress their children in winter coats. But it’s important to know that heavy coats can interfere with the proper harness fit on a child in a car seat. When your child will be secured in a car seat, pick thin, warm layers, and place blankets or coats around your child after the harness is snug and secure for extra warmth.

Also, make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed and that any children riding with you are in the right seat for their ages and sizes.


When the temperature drops, so does battery power. In cold weather, gasoline and diesel engines take more battery power to start, and electric and hybrid-electric vehicles’ driving range can be reduced. Have a mechanic check your battery, charging system, belts, and for any other needed repairs or replacements.

Preparing Your Vehicle


Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and interior lights. Be sure to also check your trailer brake lights and turn signals, if necessary.

Windshield Wipers

You can quickly go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid in a single snowstorm. Make sure your vehicle’s reservoir is full of high-quality “winter” fluid with de-icer before winter weather hits. Make sure defrosters and all windshield wipers work and replace any worn blades. Consider installing heavy-duty winter wipers if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice.

Cooling System

Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle, and that it meets the manufacturer’s specifications. See your vehicle owner’s manual for recommendations. Check the cooling system for leaks, test the coolant, and drain or replace the old coolant.

You may also want to visit your mechanic for a tune-up and ask them to check for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.

Before You Go

Stock Your Vehicle

Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, and supplies you might need in an emergency, including:

  • a snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
  • abrasive material (sand or kitty litter), in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow
  • jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices (flares and emergency markers)
  • blankets for protection from the cold
  • a cell phone and charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine

Gas Up or Plug It In

Keep your gas tank close to full whenever possible.

For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, decrease the drain on the battery. In general, lithium ion batteries have reduced energy at lower temperatures. Additionally, most all vehicle batteries will use battery power for self-heating in low temperatures. The battery drain due to heating can be minimized by keeping your electric vehicle as warm as possible during freezing temperatures. A common way to do this: plug your vehicle in at night during the winter, keeping the battery temperature in its optimal ranges.

How To Keep Up Your Vitamin D This Winter

While winter continues to rage on, people tend to spend more time indoors, therefore, getting less sun on top of the limited amount of time the sun is out during the winter. This can cause an increased risk for your vitamin D levels to drop. But vitamin D deficiency isn’t limited to one part of the world but is a widespread problem.

Vitamin D plays a big part in keeping your teeth, bones, and muscles healthy by promoting the body’s absorption of calcium. This is critical when it comes to the proper functioning of our immune system protecting us from bacteria and viruses.

Weather is a large contributing factor as much of our vitamin D levels are obtained through being outside in the sunshine. In the winter, many people are below the appropriate cut-off of Vitamin D levels for healthy bones.

How Can You Keep Your Vitamin D Levels Up?

While many people can produce their own vitamin D anytime their skin is exposed to ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun, you do not need to be out in the sun for long to generate sufficient levels. 20-30 minutes in the sun is good enough.

Where the challenge lies in the winter, in many parts of the world, is that the days are shorter with the sun going down earlier in the days during winter so we do not get enough sun to produce as much Vitamin D as we need. However, there are other ways to obtain more Vitamin D.

Foods such as fatty fish or egg yolks are great natural sources of Vitamin D. But the easiest way to guarantee the correct amount of Vitamin D recommended would be to take a supplement.

What Are The Risks Of Low Vitamin D?

There are many risks when it comes to Vitamin D deficiency: there is an increased chance of many bone issues including osteoporosis (bone weakness) in adults, rickets (bone deformity) in children, osteomalacia (bone softening in older adults), myopathy (a disorder of muscles attaching themselves to the bone), and it can cause the low-bone density in elderly as well as menopausal women.

It is important to maintain a good level of vitamin D in your body, especially in these dark and cold winter months. To understand further and figure out how much vitamin D you need in your life, schedule an appointment with your doctor to go over what is necessary for your diet and health.

January 3, 2023 by Nora Clougherty

WiNUP Social Media

Click on the buttons below to join us there!

Been to the WiNUP website lately? We have a team hard at work behind the scenes making some updates and enhencing the user expeience. Go check it out to learn about upcoming events and other WiNUP activities. Go explore and see what you can discover!

The Member Section is a great resource to find WiNUP documents. Check out the Lunch-N-Learn recordings that provide a how to on accessing member profiles, making changes to your profile, etc.

Check out the Calendar of Events!


* September Meetings in Person at Conference

Executive Officers 2023


Karen Gilmer

Immediate Past President

Kristen Thompson

Vice President

Laura Havis


Trishia Swayne


Mechelle Stanton

Executive Director

Lisa Morinini

Winter Connection 2023

Produced by the WiNUP International Member Publication Committee: Melenda Meazle/Staci Spencer (Co-Chairs), Lynn Adamson, Amber Apodaca, LaRhonda Julien