Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum


Click to review the 2017 FWELF Agenda.

With the second Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL on June 14 – 16, 2017, we brought together leaders of the energy industry, regulators, policy makers, and students alike.

The Forum particularly highlighted leadership in many facets of Florida’s energy industry, from the chief executives to every division of a company, as all continued the conversation on how best to sustain an industry that provides so much opportunity for Florida’s continued economic growth. The focus was on many of the topics that 2016 FWELF participants had requested to learn more about: women on energy boards, purposeful inclusion and workplace diversity, and organization entrepreneurship. The 2017 FWELF participants had the opportunity to meet leaders in the industry that exemplify the highest standards of leadership, serving as role models for their companies and for the great state of Florida.

After a welcome and presentation by Gunster Regional Managing Shareholder and FWELF Founder Lila A. Jaber on PICCH (Patience, Integrity, Compassion, Character, and Humility) leadership, the Forum started with its first panel:  “Women on the Board – Taking a Seat at the Table” moderated by Carolyn Gosselin, Senior Vice President of Development at the Florida Chamber. The “Perspectives of Wall Street” panel discussion steered by Xia Liu, VP and CFO of Gulf Power, followed, featuring leaders of various finance groups who shared more from their vantage points information about the importance of access to capital.

The Honorable Adam Putnam, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, delivered the keynote address of the first day of 2017 FWELF. Afterwards, he took the time to engage in close conversations with current and emerging leaders of the industry, including students aspiring towards a career in energy.

The second day commenced with presentations by Gordon L. Gillette, President and CEO of the Tampa Electric Company and Florida Operations, and Scott Horton, Owner of Delta Concepts, Inc. The first shared thoughts on leadership and diversity from a Florida stakeholder’s perspective, while the latter explored the foundations of unconscious bias that may exist in the workplace.

With an eye towards the success of the energy industry, innovation was encouraged during the “Internalizing Innovation within Your Organization” panel discussion led by Roseann Harrington, VP of Marketing, Communications, Community Relations, and Economic Development at OUC. Industry leaders Pamela Rauch, Aleida Socarras, Holly Henderson, and T.J. Szelistowski contributed stories and observations from their experiences as they moved the conversation onwards. The success of our students, too, was a focal point during the Forum, especially in the “Strategies to Support Students with Career Goals in Energy” panel discussion. The Honorable Ronald Brise, PSC Commissioner, engaged leaders from Florida colleges as well as the Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Cissy Proctor, in a discourse on how we can best prepare our students for the energy workforce.

Scott Balfour, COO of Emera, delivered the midday keynote address before the “Developing Your Leadership Brand” workshop was facilitated by Cari Haught Coats, Executive Director of the Center for Advance Entrepreneurship at Rollins College. One of the highlights of the day came through the exchange amongst Pamela Rauch, The Honorable Julie Brown, and Shannon Pierce as the industry leaders and regulator shared personal experiences on the subject to share their own “personal brand” best practices.

With his intellect and expertise, Tom Fanning, Chairman, President, and CEO of Southern Company, gave attendees much to think about through his “Building the Future of Energy” keynote presentation. With their minds ready to consider areas of opportunity, the attendees took in a tremendous dialogue about “Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace” led by Melvin D. Williams, President of Nicor Gas and SVP of Southern Company Gas. Next came the consideration of another area of opportunity as PSC Commissioner Art Graham steered the “Operational Challenges with the Technology in the Industry” panel to explore ways of enhancing technology to increase overall efficiency.

The Honorable Joe Negron, President of the Florida Senate, participated in the final day of the Forum with the delivery of his keynote address. Panel discussions on “Energy Mix – Shifting and Merging with Advancements in Energy” and “Energy-Food-Water Nexus” followed, being led by former House Speaker Will Weatherford of Weatherford Partners and Amy Albury, Director of Environmental Relations and Sustainability, of Florida Power & Light, respectively.

Having been designed to inform, inspire, and motivate further interest in the energy industry to further attract talent in an already tremendous workforce, the Forum came to a satisfactory close as participants, panelists, and speakers alike expressed their eagerness for this platform to continue forward.

Survey Findings

  • 235 attendees
  • 82% of attendees said that 2017 FWELF exceeded their expectations with the overall program and theme.
  • 90% said that the speakers included exceeded their expectations.
  • 83% said that the value of 2017 FWELF exceeded their expectations.
  • Around 74% said the location exceeded their expectations.
  • 68% said they learned new information from 2017 FWELF.

2016 FWELF: the inaugural forum

Energy Leading the Way in Economic and Workforce Development

Click to review the 2016 FWELF Agenda.

The inaugural Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum was held at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida on April 14 – 15, 2016. This first-of-its-kind event gathered women and men nationwide for a two-day event with keynote addresses and panel discussions regarding opportunities in Florida’s energy industry.

The first day of the forum kicked off with a video presentation highlighting the Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum, its sponsors, and a few of the participating speakers. The first presentation was by the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Pamela Rauch and Tony Carvajal, relaying statistical information on Florida’s economy and opportunity. The following panel discussion “Let’s Have a Conversation With…” included Southern Company’s Kimberly Greene, Pivotal Home Solution’s Robin Boren, and Duke Energy’s Gayle Lanier. The panel was facilitated by Gunster’s Chairman and former United States Senator George S. LeMieux. The speakers were insightful using experience and humor to showcase leadership and outstanding careers. Later in the evening, guests had the opportunity to network and mingle during the Florida’s Women in Energy Leadership Forum Reception, followed by a welcome dinner with remarks from Gunster’s Managing Shareholder, Bill Perry, and Gulf Power Company’s CEO, Stan Connally. Seating during the dinner was strategically arranged so that the participating students would have a chance to sit next to industry executives.

The last day of the forum was a full day of panels and discussions, starting with a keynote address from the Chair of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Julie I. Brown. Chairman Brown focused on the specific challenges and opportunities in Florida’s energy industry. The following panel was moderated by PSC Commissioner Lisa P. Edgar, and included representatives from Gulf Power, AGL Resources Inc., Seminole Electric Cooperative, Emera, and Florida Public Utilities Company. Ann Randazzo, Executive Director of the Center for Energy Workforce Development, joined us to provide data points of the energy industry, and where women and the next generation fit in to that equation. This was followed by a panel discussion on “Communicating Effectively in This New Age of Technology,” which included several marketing and communications executives from Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, Gulf Power, and Orlando Utilities Commission – The Reliable One.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette Honorable, as the lunch keynote speaker, provided a national perspective on issues that impact the Florida energy industry’s capacity and infrastructure needs. A natural leader, she provided her own perspective on the needs and issues facing the energy industry today. A panel discussion on “Utility Transformation: The Impact on the Community, Environment, Jobs and Alternative Energy” included moderator, Kelley Smith Burk, Director of the Office of Energy, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Panel participants included representatives from EarthSTEPS, Duke Energy, and TFC Utilities. The final panels of the day covered facilitating jobs in energy, as well as economic development, trade and job creation. The two final panels included representatives from Gulf Power, Florida City Gas, City of Tallahassee, Florida Power and Light, TECO Energy, Florida Public Utilities Company, and Advanced Disposal.

Survey Findings 

  • 176 attendees
  • 92% of attendees said that 2016 FWELF exceeded their expectations with the overall program and theme.
  • 90% said that the speakers included exceeded their expectations.
  • 83% said that the value of 2016 FWELF exceeded their expectations.
  • Around 53% said the location exceeded their expectations.