Being a pioneer can be challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My first job at Salt River project, the largest provider of power and water in the Phoenix metropolitan area, was reading meters. I soon moved up to relay technician, installing protective systems for substations, transformers, and distribution lines. As only the second woman to enter this field, and working outdoors in the 100-plus degree heat, all eyes were on me to drop out of the program. I proved them wrong and stayed for 10 years.
In the midst of working long hours as a technician, I worked on my MBA, got married, and had two children. My experience in the field and the MBA helped land my first supervisory position, overseeing the control and data acquisition system for SRP’s electrical grid.
Soon I was given the opportunity to be part of a mentoring program, an offer I gladly accepted, and never regretted. The mentoring relationship helped me overcome hurdles and laid the foundation for my role as a mentor today. With each promotion and subsequent mentor, I gleaned insight about myself while dealing with industry issues. Sometimes I’ve had to unlearn things from prior mentors, but I feel strongly that each one helped me become the diverse manager I am today.
I have always approached my mentoring relationships as opportunities to learn from others. From these relationships comes a conviction to continually learn and prepare for the next opportunity. Three important traits of a competent leader I try to follow are:
- Be a leader of diversity. Always demonstrate you have the ability to work with all types of people and readily support equal and fair treatment for all.
- Be a leader who has the ability to deal with important issues. Strive to understand the key components of individuals and group processes, and focus on what’s important to meet the desired outcomes.
- Be a leader with ethics and values. Stand up for what you believe in, and consistently act in line with those values. Over time, I moved from SRP’s Power Division to the Water Group.
Today, I am the Manager of Water Business Management, with 24 years of experience under my belt. Not only do I mentor others, but I too have a mentor. There’s still much to learn and so much I can offer to individuals coming up through the ranks. My excitement comes from watching these young men and women, and helping them develop into the SRP leaders of tomorrow