AVANGRID Trailblazers | In Their Own Words | International Women's Day

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In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), we hear from a few of the many talented women across our organization to understand their experiences and what IWD means to them. From wind farms to offices, gas lines to power lines, we are proud of everyone’s contributions.


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Patricia Kaiser, Supervisor Master Data (Work Request Control)

“I’ve never considered roles as male or female-oriented, only as a role to perform a job.”

Patricia Kaiser began working at United Illuminating over 30 years ago. She started as a Meter Reader and has held, what was considered then to be, non-traditional roles in Customer and Operations Engineering and was most recently chosen to travel to Puerto Rico to perform damage assessment and assist in restoration efforts after Hurricane Maria. “I see much opportunity for women here at AVANGRID, and opportunities have grown since 25 years ago, when I worked in the field as an engineer with our construction crews, and was the only female in many of my engineering classes.” Patricia states that the company and the people around her “have always been good at supporting the roles of women in leadership, as well as women’s roles in in science & technologies.” She also highlights that the best way to empower women is by working together as a team, stating that when “we all work together with a common goal, we bring out the best in all of us.” Patricia sums up the interview by stating, “always question and seek to learn more. Be passionate and be persistent in situations in which you know can be a benefit. And, always be respectful to all, treating others as you would want to be treated.”


Eileen Lopez-Cordone, Economic & Community Development Specialist UIL Holdings

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“Women are becoming more vocal about their rights and getting empowered.”

“There is still much work to do in the workplace, board rooms, communities and countries to create a sense of inclusion, diversity and value of women,” says Eileen who started working with local communities almost 10 years ago. She also states that women continue to be treated as inferior not only in this country but around the world. “I believe AVANGRID is progressive when it comes to giving women opportunities,” she stresses. For her, women need to become more involved in boardrooms where decisions are being made.  The challenge will be to breakthrough those barriers, be heard, respected and allowed to be a valued participant of the conversation and decision-making process, she points out. Eileen would like to see women in roles of director or above mentoring employees interested in learning more and she mentions the AVANGRID WomEnergy business resource group, which represents a good start to her. She concludes her interview sending a clear message to women: “Speak out, get involved, and make a difference. It takes all the women in the room to say presente (I’m here)!”


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Mary Brayall, Lead Analyst – Social Projects

“Be who you want to be, you are unstoppable.”

“I believe the opportunities are available to women, not just because AVANGRID promotes the opportunity, but because women are choosing to be educated in non-traditional fields”, stresses Mary Brayall, based in Maine. She also says that as the number of women going back to school increases, the number of women in non-traditional fields will increase as well. Mary believes that women “can be who and whatever they want to be, by standing together and looking forward.” Mary is clear when she states that women should empower themselves, expressing that “opportunities are available to all regardless of gender. You just need to come out of the shadows.” She believes that any woman who “gets up with a crying child at 3:00am, is in the office by 7:00am, cooks her family dinner, helps the children with their homework and gets them off to bed by 9:00pm and can still reserve enough energy to smile and asks her husband how his day was, is inspiring.”


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Maureen Campbell, Senior Technical Support Specialist UIL Holdings

“Despite some advancement, men still dominate in many areas.”

It’s been 28 years since Maureen Campbell said yes to UIL Holdings. When asked why she thinks this year’s International Women’s Day campaign is themed #balanceforbetter, Maureen stated that she believes they are attempting to promote equality and added that “balance is needed in all areas of our lives. It means to me areas including spiritually, career, parenthood, volunteerism, and power. The biggest challenge for women in the next 5-10 years will be equality between men and women as it relates to salary and status.”. Her overall message and advice for women is to “first respect yourself. Love what you do and be passionate about what you love. Take care of your health, and don’t take a back seat to anyone.”  


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Patricia Nilsen, Director – Emergency Preparedness

“Find others – women and men – who are open to mentoring and coaching you.”

“My mom, Magdalena, came to the United States from Europe in 1954 speaking just a handful of English words. She was brave, smart, talented, and loving. She definitely inspired me”, says Patricia Nilsen. She also feels inspired by women like Angela Merkel, Rita Moreno, and Serena Williams. Trish leads AVANGRID’s storm and emergency preparedness team but does not feel that the business treats her differently because she is a woman. “We are better together no matter the gender. AVANGRID promotes opportunities for women. They make it possible to be a woman working in the utility industry who has opportunities for enrichment and advancement,” states Patricia. She also stresses that in AVANGRID’s emergency response roles, they’ve placed women in various roles that are outside their traditional job scope, but use skills they have already mastered.” That means a lot to Trish who declares that “it’s gratifying to see someone who knows very little about working an emergency event grow into being a subject matter expert.” When asked what would be the biggest challenge for women in the years to come, she says to “find career opportunities based on what you want to do (and are good at), rather than choosing a career they think they should do”.