Thursday, May 9

9:00 – 12:00

Closed Door Session: C-Suite Conversation on Industry Diversity Progress

11:00 – 12:00

Networking Lunch with Roundtable Discussions

Join us for some lightly structured networking through conversational lunch topics including:

  • Hiring from the re-entry community
  • Crash Course in Community Benefits Plans
  • Engaging Pre-Retirement Age Workforce
  • Empowering Company-wide DE&I Ambassadors
  • Self-care for DE&I Leaders
  • Leveraging Justice 40
  • Leading from the Top: Increasing Representation in the C-Suite
  • One New Thing We Are Doing Is….
  • Building your Ecosystem of Personal & Professional Support
  • Leveraging Generational Diversity
  • Accessibility Challenges

12:00 – 12:10

Welcome & Opening Remarks

12:10 – 1:00

The Metzler Lecture: Addressing the National Attack on Corporate DE&I Commitments

Joelle Emerson will kick us off by sharing an opening commentary examining the existential threat to industry DE&I commitments. Joelle is the Co-Founder and CEO of Paradigm, which provides a suite of software and consulting services to design organizations where people from all backgrounds can do their best work and thrive. Before founding Paradigm Joelle was a civil rights attorney whose legal background highlighted the consequences that can result from companies failing to build diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. In her opening address, Joelle will discuss the biggest headwinds that threaten to derail DE&I progress and how we got here. She’ll share data and insights from Paradigm’s work with over 1000 companies, provide candid reflections on how executive teams across industries are navigating this moment, and leave us with guidance on the path forward.

1:15 – 2:30

Measuring what Matters with Financial Indicators – Show me the receipts!

DE&I is both a people and financial enabler, but what are the true financial indicators and implications of DE&I and how do we measure them? We’ve seen the goal line of success relative to DE&I constantly moving, without a true barometer with widely accepted metrics and benchmarks being established specific to the energy sector. What qualitative and quantitative data should we be tracking relative to diversity and equity as an industry that will sustainably guide organizational strategy for years to come? A common criticism and downfall of DEI initiatives is the balance of both quantitative and qualitative measures that point to bottom-line financial success. During this session, we will provide impactful solutions to consider when determining what to measure and how to tie them to organizational success.

2:45 – 4:00

Don’t Get Comfortable. A Crystal Ball Look at Expected DE&I Priorities for 2025 and Beyond

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion priorities have expanded exponentially over the past several years. Remember when the initial push was on the fundamental understanding of the value of diversity, which was then followed by the recognition of inclusion and then equity? While DE&I leaders have now embraced these basic tenants, the field continues to expand with additional areas of focus, requirements for valuative data, and demands for nimbleness. This session will set the stage for what’s expected to be the next areas of focus in the DE&I space. From increased accountability to demands for more data to measurable outcomes to a focus on belonging and accessibility, this session will set the stage for what practitioners will need to add to their toolbox and what strategies will need revising.

4:15 – 5:30

It’s Time to Do Things Differently. Empowering Middle Managers for Change in Energy Companies

In listening sessions conducted by CEWD to learn about requirements for success with DE&I initiatives, middle managers were identified as one of the most influential communities to advance DE&I change; yet, this same group, often called culture catalysts, has also been identified as one of the most challenging groups to actually impact systemic organizational change. This session will explore how companies are finding success in engaging middle managers to push through historical plateaus. We will learn from industry leaders as well as those outside the sector who have found success in middle managers driving DE&I impact.

5:30 – 6:30

Networking Reception (Sponsored by Southwest Gas)

Day 1 of the DE&I Forum will conclude with a reception sponsored by Southwest Gas. Getting out of the conference space and into a nearby art studio, hosted by Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20068

7:00 – 8:30

Dine-Around Dinners (No-Host)

The dine-around dinners offer DE&I Forum attendees the chance to check out some of the area’s unique dining spots. They are perfect for those eager to expand their network and continue the day’s conversations. Individuals will be responsible for their own meal costs.

Date & Time: May 9th, 7:00 PM (following the DE&I Forum Reception) 

How to Sign Up: Please sign up for your preferred dine-around dinner slot HERE

Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot early! 


Friday, May 10

8:00 – 9:30

A Five-Year Workplan to Expand Diversity in Skilled Trade Roles

While middle managers have been identified as one of the most significant influences of DE&I impact, labor partners have been identified as the other. Many national labor organizations are doing some excellent work to attract underrepresented individuals to unions and ensuring cultures of respect, inclusion, and belonging, yet these national formulas don’t necessarily influence local strategies, complicating systemic and universal action. While there is an emphasis on recruiting and retaining more women and people of varying races and ethnicities into the trades, most employers wish more could be done. This session will highlight those who have successfully added diversity metrics into their collective bargaining agreements, obtained recognition for gender-neutral terminology in job titles, work being done to include supportive services including childcare in their negotiated offerings, and have changed testing requirements to remove barriers to employment.

9:45 – 11:00

We Hear You. Do You Hear Us? An Open Dialogue Between the Department of Energy and the Industry’s Diversity Leaders

Anthony Pegues is Chief Diversity Officer at the Department of Energy. It is his job, more significantly, his passion to expand diversity within the energy industry, especially within the trades. This session will provide a platform for him to share what she wants all industry DE&I leaders to know and do. He will share perspectives on how companies must focus on Justice 40 initiatives and what businesses must be doing with newly required Community Benefits Plans and why energy justice must operate within DE&I practitioners’ portfolios. While he is eager to speak to participants, he also wants to hear from those in attendance to better understand challenging barriers, where help is needed, and how the Department can provide additional support.

Before the conclusion of the session, we will welcome DOE’s Office of Indian Affairs to the stage to share information on what they are looking for in partnerships with energy companies, both in infrastructure development and workforce development, the latter being an increased area of priority for the office.

11:15 – 12:15

Understanding Your Brand as an Employer Within Underrepresented Communities

Energy companies continue to espouse the commitment to ensuring their workforce reflects the communities and customers they serve. While that may be the intent, traction can be tough to achieve if your company brand isn’t embraced as an employer of choice, especially by underrepresented communities. This session will explore how to understand what those underrepresented in your workforce think about working for your company. Do they feel a sense of trust and respect making employment consideration worth their time? Do they perceive they would be welcome? Do they believe DE&I commitments are sound or altruistic? Do they understand the way to navigate employment in the energy sector, especially in technical roles where they may not have friends of family members who can remove the mystery. Join us to learn how you can assess your current reputation and better demonstrate accountability for desired change.

12:15 – 1:00


1:00 – 2:15

Equity 401

Almost any DE&I practitioner will tell you that the true lynchpin of this work is rooted in the pilar of equity. But what does true equity in energy look like? How do we measure it? How do we advise our operational and people leaders on being an equity centric organization? Examine key processes that determine professionals’ career outcomes: on-ramps, performance evaluations, on the job training, promotions, etc. Uncover the practices that promote fairness among employees of different backgrounds and provide actionable solutions for energy companies and their leaders to create equitable access to energy. Join us for sector specific policy ideas that center diverse cross-sections of people throughout every step, from research and analysis to dissemination and implementation as we take a humanity-first, community-driven approach to equity ranging from infrastructure and community equity to workplace equity.

2:15 – 2:30

Closing Remarks



The program is subject to change.

Section times are listed in Eastern Time, reflective of the meeting location.

If you are an HR Professional, you can earn Professional Development Credits toward Society of Human Resources or HRCI recertification. Please contact to learn more.


Taiwan Brown – Entergy 
Vice President, Diversity and Workforce Strategies 

Joyce Cooper, MHR, PHR – Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) 
Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion 

Laurie Dowling – National Utilities Diversity Council (NUDC) 
Executive Director 

Silas Dulan III, MSM – Black & Veatch 
Associate Vice President, Global Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion 
Vice Chair of the Board for DE&I at CEWD 

Natalie Edwards – National Grid 
Global Chief Diversity Officer  

Steven Fleischer – Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) 
Executive Director, HR – Diversity Equity & Inclusion and Talent Acquisition 

Nichelle Grant, CDE – Siemens USA 
Head of Diversity Equity & Inclusion

Missy Henriksen – Center for Energy Workforce Development
Executive Director

Cornell Johnson – Center for Energy Workforce Development
Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion

Robert Matthews – Exelon 
Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer 

Paul McFadden – JEA
Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion 

Gwen Mizell – Ameren
Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability, Diversity, and Philanthropy Officer 

Courtney Peterson, PCC – Edison Electrical Institute (EEI)
Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Diversity Officer
Chief Administrative Officer for CEWD  

Sharene Pierce – Duke Energy
Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer 

Tanya Spencer – GE Vernova
Chief Diversity Officer 

Rayfield Stringer III – Constellation
Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer 

Angela Thompkins, J.D., LL.M. – Consumers Energy
Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer 

Constance Thompson, CCDP/AP – American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)
Senior Vice President, Equity & Justice 

Markisha Webster, Ed.D. – Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion