Wall of Mavericks
Energetic Women and MEA congratulate these outstanding individuals for their service to the industry and thank them for working to strengthen women leadership in energy.
Nominations are closed. Check back in late 2023 to make a nomination for next year’s award.
Joi has been a maverick since day one when she joined the company as a 15-year-old student with aspirations of becoming an engineer. Throughout her career, Joi navigated an unchartered path and was the only woman of color in the room. Joi has been a strong advocate and a great partner for diversifying the workforce and building a strong talent pipeline at DTE. She’s helped create a culture of inclusion and belonging, measuring the impact of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives through a focused DEI scorecard. View Joi’s video.
Nicor Gas and Southern Company Gas
Throughout 30 years at Nicor Gas and Southern Company Gas, Christa has held positions in operations, construction, engineering, technical compliance and customer development, before promotion to her current role as vice president of gas operations at Southern Company Gas. In 2018, the company set records when nearly half of the supervisory promotions in field Operations were female employees. View Christa’s Video
Julie Hegedus has been a leader for women since she started working at Consumers Energy in 2008. She has held several leadership positions with the company and was the first female to lead as the Executive Director of Gas Construction and Gas Distribution. She currently serves as Executive Director of Energy Services and is also the first female to lead in this role. Julie exemplifies what it means to be a positive leader while driving the organization’s operations to reach new heights. View Julie’s Video
Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy Company
Jim Francis is a 25-year utility veteran and has spent the majority of his career working in various roles in engineering and operations. Jim’s work experiences and leadership positions have provided him the opportunity to enhance his natural leadership skills and maximize his strengths. He never stops mentoring his team members, family, friends, and sometimes even perfect strangers; he has a talent for identifying and highlighting people’s strengths. He is truly committed to elevating and enhancing the leadership pool at Vectren and CenterPoint Energy. View Jim’s Video
Heather Rivard has been a trailblazer and role model while serving in very senior operational positions at DTE Energy. Her success as a female leader moving across vastly different roles, blending significant technical depth with outstanding leadership skills, has provided an example for other women (and men) in the organization that you can, indeed, have it all. View Heather’s Video
Cheryl Maletich is a model for inclusive and engaging leadership, actively seeking the perspectives of her workforce on key decisions. In her role as VP Distribution System Operations at ComEd, she develops her direct reports to do the same. She understands that employees are vital people, and she believes in helping them feel connected to the organization. View Cheryl’s Video
Mary O’Toole has personally and professionally advocated for women and diversity in the energy engineering and operations world. She understands the importance of promoting and strengthening potential leaders to create a successful, diverse team. View Mary’s Video
Mary Palkovich is an amazing leader for men and women. To start, she emphasizes the importance of having a diverse workforce and encourages hiring managers to require a diverse candidate pool for interviews. Mary establishes this strategic direction by communicating the message that a diverse and inclusive workforce increases employee engagement and leads to a more successful and productive organization. View Mary’s Video
New Mexico Gas Company
Annette Gardiner has built a common understanding with the leadership team at New Mexico Gas Company to ensure that women play key roles in working on large and impactful projects, such as replacing pipe or rewriting the Operations and Maintenance manual. Annette’s philosophy is that women won’t be prepared for operational promotions in the future if they are not in a position to make meaningful contributions in the present. View Annette’s Video
Citizens Energy Group