|The Jackalyne Pfannenstiel Award
2019 Jackalyne Pfannenstiel Award
Recipient: Laura Beane, President and CEO of Avangrid Renewables
From Laura’s speech upon receiving the award:
“The award presentation last week was an incredible moment in my life – I wish so much that I could’ve stayed [instead of taking a red eye flight to New York] and enjoyed the evening catching up with so many friends from our industry. Here are some of the thoughts that I shared last week:
“Jackie was a leader, a doer and a mentor. She showed us how to make a difference in what we do and how we do it. It was an overwhelming honor to be mentioned alongside of someone like Jackie and it prompted me to reflect on things I am doing to try to make a difference. We have a formal initiative at Avangrid that I am sponsoring that is focused on shifting the culture to one of inclusion and also working with schools and universities to develop a pipeline of female talent – particularly in STEM related energy careers.
“I believe, however, that informal actions are often more impactful. It can be something as simple as looking around our organizations for people who are hungry to do more. Ask them to help with a special project or a new initiative. My experience has shown that these people will often dive in and work tirelessly, beyond their day job responsibilities, and deliver meaningful contributions and demonstrate capabilities few even knew they possessed.
“Some of the most talented and valuable employees at Avangrid Renewables were once pigeonholed into roles with no clear path for advancement but given the opportunity to showcase their talents in new ways opened up new paths for increased scope and responsibility.
“We must also look for mentoring opportunities. Again, this doesn’t have to be formal. I am certain we can all think of people who have supported us and helped us along the way in our careers. We need to pay this forward – with interest. I believe everyone wants to leave things better than they were than when they started. We can follow Jackie’s example and be thoughtful about the legacy we want to leave and act on it. Thank you to WPTF. The experience that WPTF gave to me with the honor of the Jackie Pfannenstiel award is one I will never forget.”
2018 Jackalyne Pfannenstiel Award
“On March 1st, 2018, WPTF awarded its 1st Annual Jackie Pfannenstiel award to DeDe Hapner. Dan Richard, Jackie’s devoted partner, presented the award and spoke of his love for Jackie and her impressive career. She was one of a kind – smart, funny, classy, full of grace, and tireless.
Our industry, our country, and our world are better for her having chosen to serve. This award was created to honor a true trailblazer in energy and a devoted mentor. It is also to encourage each of us to honor her legacy and to challenge each of us to carry forward that torch. “We carry that torch by seeking to be like her in our lives, our careers, in how we lead, and in how we seek out the best in others around us. What does that look like going forward? The energy industry is undergoing a transformation at all levels from the fast pace of innovation to leading the world in climate protections. In that Jackie served her country as the Undersecretary of the Navy, it is apropos to highlight a story by Mark Twain about a man entering Heaven and asking St. Peter who was the greatest general that ever lived. St. Peter pointed to a cobbler and the man said he knew that man from his hometown and he wasn’t even a general. St. Peter said ‘But had he been a general, he would have been the greatest general ever.’ How profound that the greatest general this world would have ever known never became a general. What did we as a society lose for that person not living to their greatest potential? What is our industry missing out on if we don’t live to our greatest potential? This transformation in energy does not require only the greatest generals we have already – it requires us collectively to seek out the cobblers
in this world and encourage and empower them to become the greatest generals.
“Diversity is the key to creating the greatest generals as we embrace this new paradigm. Diversity encompasses gender, race, age, education, and expertise. We need people who can collectively think from a different viewpoint and challenge the issues and opportunities as we have defined them from our own limiting lenses. As Anais Nin said, ‘We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.’
“We need others who see the world as they are. We need to identify these greatest generals. We need to give them a seat at the table. We need to mentor them. Better yet, we need to sponsor them. We need their voices to be heard. According to a McKinsey study, in the US, for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior management team, earnings before interest and taxes rise 0.8 percent. In the UK, greater gender diversity in the senior executive team demonstrated that for every 10 percent increase in gender diversity, earnings before interest and taxes rose by 3.5 percent. At a time where there are more men named John on the boards of energy companies than there are women combined, we can do better. We must do better.
“This isn’t just a feel good policy, it yields greater results for your company. Our industry is more competitive than ever before and given what we know about the transformative results of diversity, it is better to embrace diversity now and invest in it for your company. Earnings prove that companies that embrace diversity will pull further ahead and those that don’t will fall further behind. Be the next Jackie. Be the one to identify and sponsor the greatest general our industry will ever know. Let’s commit to leave this world better together. This is how we honor Jackie’s legacy.