The Women's International Network of Utility Professionals is an organization providing a link for developing and recognizing professionals involved with utility business trends, issues, products, and services.
Opportunities for professional development of members. Network and mentoring among members. Recognition and visibility for members and business partners.
Each year my manager asks me to come up with professional development goals to work on. What exactly does that mean?
Submitted by International Vice President, Kristen Thompson
In simple terms, professional development (PD) activities help employees continue to not only be competent in their profession, but also excel in it. It is not a “one and done” activity; it should be an ongoing process that continues throughout an individual’s career. Actively engaging in PD ensures that current knowledge and skills stay relevant and up to date and that new knowledge and skills are obtained as necessary and/or as desired. As my manager suggested, the beginning of a new year is a great time to set goals for your continued professional development.
Here are a few professional development goals that I will explore with you throughout this year:
- Improve Work-Life Balance
- Start Networking
- Learn a New Skill
- Work on your Weakness
Today we will focus on work-life balance. It refers to the ideal situation where an employee can successfully split her time and energy between work and other aspects of life. Individuals whose needs for work-life balance are met are happier and more productive in their jobs. Below are a few tips from a recent Time article I read and how they have helped me. The article is “Worrying About ‘Work-Life Balance’ Can Be a Trap. Here’s What to Try Instead,” written by Tara Law.
3 tips to get started:
- Identify what and who matters
- Focus on your own well being
- Reconsider what is normal
Work-life balance does not mean taking from one to give to the other, instead consider how different parts of your life affect one another. Start by identifying what and who matter. Devote time to think about what is important to you and what you want your life to look like in the future. I did not realize how my working from home has affected my family this past year. It has become increasingly difficult to separate work and home. My commitment for 2021 is to schedule vacation for each day my kids have off school, allowing us all to enjoy time away from school and work together.
Do not forget about your own wellbeing. Regain focus on the here and now. For me this is slowing down and detaching from the hectic day to allow my body and mind time to rest before it crashes. I chose meditation. It is not easy and I have to force myself to carve out 10 minutes, but it is something that works for me and provides me time to slow down, breathe and recharge.
Reconsider what’s normal. The task of managing work-life balance is not one to tackle alone. Your work team can help each other with this and together you can re-establish the norm for your team. For 2021 I am committed to not sending emails after work hours or on weekends. I have never expected anyone to read or answer emails during these times, however the simple act of me sending the message indicates that my expectation is otherwise.
I hope that you can take these tips and come up with ideas of your own to help you strike a better balance between work and the other areas of your life.
Professional Development Committee Update by: Shelby Leisz
The WiNUP International Professional Development and Chapter Event Grant Committee is excited to kick off 2021. It continues to be a challenging year during the pandemic and many working remotely for the foreseeable future. The Committee continues to provide WiNUP members with access to Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD) Webinars monthly as part of the WiNUP subscription to these services/webinars. On January 21, 2021, the first “Tell It Like It Is Thursday” WELD webinar focused on “The Power of Belonging“. The Committee is meeting in late February to plan for the year and will facilitate the review of Chapter Event grants in August for WiNUP PD and Chapter Event funds. Stay tuned for more efforts to come!
EPA Finalizes Pollutant-Specific Significant Contribution Finding for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Electric Utility Generating Units
WASHINGTON (January 12, 2021) — The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing a clear framework for determining when standards are appropriate for emissions of greenhouse gases from specific source categories under Clean Air Act (CAA) section 111(b)(1)(A). The framework provides criteria – primarily an emissions threshold – for evaluating whether greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a source category are significant and should be regulated. The rule clarifies a previously vague standard, promotes regulatory certainty for stakeholders, and ensures consistency in evaluating when to regulate under this part of the CAA.
“EPA’s new significance framework lays out how the agency will determine when stationary sources of greenhouse gases trigger a requirement by the agency to set New Source Performance Standards in the future,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This action adheres to the specific requirement laid out in the Clean Air Act and ensures covered entities, such as power plants and other large-scale manufacturers, are provided a clear view of regulatory requirements and expectations.”
Today’s framework follows up on a finding from the 2020 Oil and Gas Rule, which determined that, in order to regulate emissions of any pollutant from a stationary source category under the CAA section 111(b)(1)(A), EPA must first find that emissions of that pollutant from that source category contribute significantly to dangerous air pollution. This is called a pollutant-specific “significant contribution finding.” In the 2020 Oil and Gas rule, EPA stated that it intended to identify criteria for making a pollutant-specific significance finding in a separate rulemaking. Today’s action fulfills that commitment.
EPA’s framework sets an emissions threshold of 3 percent of total gross U.S. GHG emissions as the primary criterion in making a pollutant-specific significance determination for purposes of CAA section 111(b). The framework provides that source categories can only be considered to contribute significantly to dangerous air pollution due to their GHG emissions if the amount of those emissions exceeds 3 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions. For certain source categories that emit above this threshold, EPA’s framework also provides secondary criteria that can be used to further evaluate whether a source category contributes significantly.
In this action, EPA is also determining that the electric utility generating units (EGU) source category (which includes utility boilers, gasification units, and stationary combustion turbines) contributes significantly to dangerous air pollution because GHG emissions from the EGU source category are substantially above the 3-percent threshold. EGUs stand out as by far the largest stationary source of the U.S. GHG emissions, emitting over 25 percent of all the U.S. GHG emissions.
More information is available on the web at: https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/nsps-ghg-emissions-new-modified-and-reconstructed-electric-utility.
In December 2018, EPA proposed revisions to the GHG NSPS from new, modified, and reconstructed fossil fuel-fired power plants. EPA held one public hearing and received more than 142,000 comments on the proposal.
In the December 2018 proposal, EPA solicited comment on whether to make a pollutant-specific significant contribution determination for GHG emissions from EGUs, which is the subject of this final action. The remainder of the proposal was dedicated to the issue of the determination of the best system of emission reduction, or BSER, for newly constructed, modified, and reconstructed coal-fired EGUs. EPA is not addressing that aspect of the proposal, or related comments, in this final rulemaking.
A ‘Charming’ Way to Recognize Your Years of Service
In years past, WiNUP recognized five-year incremental membership milestones with certificates. But as of 2020, your service and commitment to the organization will be commemorated in a considerably more “charming” way.
Members celebrating membership anniversaries (5, 10, 15, 20, and so on) will receive charms which represent the milestone years. Each anniversary charm was chosen to symbolically document members’ WiNUP journey. For instance, those who have completed their fifth membership year will receive an acorn charm while 10-year members earn an oak leaf charm. Acorns and oaks figure prominently in WiNUP’s history, epitomizing personal and professional growth through membership in the organization.
Charms were mailed out to 2020 members for each five year incremental anniversary they had reached to date. If you did not receive your charms, please contact Lisa Morinini at email@example.com.
The WINUP international executive committee and board hope the charms remind you that you are an integral part of a powerful sisterhood. Without your commitment to WiNUP, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our goals of supporting and empowering women in the utility industry.
What each charm symbolizes
5 year — The lone acorn symbolizes the beginning of your WiNUP journey.
10 year — Just like the WiNUP history book notes, from acorns grow oaks. The oak leaf is a symbol of your growth as a WiNUP member
15 year — You are now a mentor and a source of strength to others in the organization. The mature oak tree symbolizes this stage of your WiNUP membership.
20 year — Local chapters provide numerous opportunities for networking, and personal and professional development. They’re integral to your WiNUP experience.
25 year — The double acorn charm is a reminder that WiNUP’s success is dependent on members working together to benefit all.
30 year — What greater symbol for a 30-year member’s longtime commitment to the organization than a pair of oak leaves?
35 year — Acorns and oaks: For 35-year members these symbols document how their WiNUP journey began and what it has led to.
40 year — The globe icon is part of WiNUP’s logo and is similar to the past president’s charm. It symbolizes leadership in the organization.
45 year — These sapphire blue orbs symbolize strength, honesty and devotion. They’re a perfect way to honor long-time members’ loyalty to WiNUP.
50 year — This small “50” charm comes with extreme gratitude for all you’ve done through the years for WiNUP.
She felt like she belonged in WiNUP from the beginning
First impressions really do matter. And Emily Schilling’s first impression of WiNUP is still vivid some 31 years later.
“Everyone was so welcoming,” she recalled about the first time she went to a luncheon meeting of the Indiana Chapter of Electrical Women’s Round Table back in 1989. “I felt a camaraderie that I never had experienced in a professional group. I truly felt like I belonged in this organization.” That sense of belonging was just what she needed in her career at that time. She had joined the staff of Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (now Indiana Electric Cooperatives) just five years earlier and was hungry for the networking opportunities with other women in the utility industry.
When Schilling officially joined EWRT the next year, she jumped in with both feet, immediately volunteering to serve as the chapter’s newsletter editor. Through that position, she was able to connect with members, build relationships and learn more about the organization. “Getting involved like that was one of the smartest moves I’ve made,” Schilling said. “Right away, I was invested in EWRT. Right away, I was part of the action!”
She attended her first national conference in Pittsburgh in 1991. “I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a life-changing experience for me,” she recalled. When Schilling saw firsthand how the organization’s network extended beyond her chapter’s borders, her EWRT/WiNUP journey really took off. “You always hear that you have to go to a conference to truly experience WiNUP and that is so true.”
After serving as Indiana Chapter vice chair in 1991 and chapter chair in 1992, she chaired the 1993 national conference, held in Indianapolis. “I grew so much as a leader then and formed stronger bonds within my chapter,” Schilling said. That led to chairing an ad hoc national conference guidelines committee and editing the national newsletter in 1995. She then served as EWRT’s national secretary from 1996-97 and national vice president from 1997-98. While an EWRT national officer, she was involved in the strategic planning session during which the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals name was conceived. The new name was launched at the 1998 conference held in Indianapolis. Schilling was installed as WiNUP’s first international president during that conference.
Including “network” in the new name was inspired, she said, because WiNUP’s strength is its members. “There are so many accomplished women in our organization who have inspired me through the years,” she said. “It’s been so easy to make personal connections with other members that last for years.” Without WiNUP, she would never have been able to network beyond the electric cooperative industry or her career field, magazine publishing. Schilling has been a magazine editor since 1985. The magazine she edits and writes for, Indiana Connection, is distributed to electric cooperative consumers throughout Indiana.
Schilling’s WiNUP resume since her term as international president has included numerous committee assignments including the public relations committee (which she continues to chair), the member services committee, the marketing plan committee, the chapter development and retention committee, and the social justice committee. She has helped plan six EWRT/WiNUP conferences and is co-chairing the 2023 International Conference. In 2010, she received WiNUP’s highest honor, the Honorary Life Member designation.
But some of her favorite WiNUP memories were when she was making lasting contributions behind the scenes. A past winner of EWRT’s POWER and Member of the Year Awards, in 2002 she helped come up with the name and guidelines for the OAK Award. She helped spearhead the WiNUP International philanthropic program which has since been a part of international conferences, came up with the idea of developing an international platform and helped develop judging criteria for WiNUP’s major awards. She also served as an editor for the newest edition of WiNUP’s history, “From Acorns to Oaks.” She served several stints on the WiNUP International Board representing the Indiana Chapter and has repeated several other leadership positions as vacancies have occurred.
Leaving a legacy is important to Schilling and making an impact in WiNUP is one way she’s been able to do that. At the same time, WiNUP has helped her. “Since membership involvement is the key to WiNUP’s success I’ve been able to develop skills I’ve not been able to hone at work,” Schilling said. “I’ve done that while contributing to WiNUP at the same time.”
As a long-time member of WiNUP, Schilling said she feels her organizational journey mirrors WiNUP’s “acorns to oaks” analogy. “During my ‘acorn’ years as a member, I found mentors who helped me grow as a professional and a person,” she said. “Now — although members continue to inspire me and help me grow — I try to ‘pay it forward’ as much as I can by guiding and encouraging other members.
“I must say, my time as an ‘oak’ has been especially rewarding,” she said. But she’s quick to point out: the entire journey has enhanced her life.
The History of WiNUP
By: Molly Long
This is the first in a four-part series exploring the almost 100-year history of WiNUP. Information, quotes and context are pulled from the book “From Acorns to Oaks: The story of the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals and the Electrical Women’s Round Table” Version 3, © 2015 by Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals, Inc.
We have a responsibility in our time, as others have had in theirs, not to be prisoners of history but to shape history. ~ Madeleine Albright
The WiNUP organization we know today, began in 1923 because seven women employed in the relatively young and growing electrical industry first met as the only females attending to the historically all male annual meeting of the Society for Electrical Development. They eventually formed the Electrical Women’s Round Table (EWRT), which eventually became the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals, Inc.
The Society, organized to promote the general use of electricity, including the lighting of the first national Christmas tree, had its first conference in 1913. Its founder, J. M. Wakeman told the 200-man delegation that: “At least 70 percent of the people in the United States use electricity in some form, and approximately 5 percent of the population are supported more or less directly by the electrical trade and its ramifications.”
Ten years later, in a small, but undeniably significant, show of inclusion, the Society asked the first women to attend its annual meeting. Invited because they were on the Society’s staff, worked for manufacturers or were writers for the industry or the growing electrical trade press, far from being token attendees, these extraordinary women, along with others like them, were instrumental in the promotion of electrical living across America.
While it seems remarkable that a women's professional organization was not only founded in 1923, but flourished and succeeded almost a century ago, it could also be seen as a completely natural, if not inevitable, “sign of the times.” Beyond their shared interest in “electrifying” the daily lives of Americans, the founders’ mission were right in line with the zeitgeist of the year when the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced.
In 1919, the 18th Amendment helped to usher in the Roaring ‘20s - a raucous time of criminality and corruption, but also one of unprecedented advances for women - by giving women the right to vote. The first opportunity to exercise this hard won power was when women cast ballots in the 1920 elections.
The 1920s also brought with it the failed social experiment of Prohibition and much about the era of “bathtub gin” and gangsters is rightly viewed negatively, despite Hollywood’s use of new advances to glamorize the mayhem. Fortunately, contemporary technological advances did much more than put roses on the cheeks of silver screen starlets and fascinate audiences with the miracle of “talkies.”
Technology was causing tangible and positive change in people’s quality of life. Electric household appliances - both early iterations that came in the decades before, such as vacuum cleaners, radios mixers and stoves; and those that were emerging and advancing each following year, like refrigerators, spin dryers and toasters; were combining with the more affordable and increasing electrification of rural areas to make everyone’s lives easier in general and, women’s lives, in particular.
As one attendee of that 1923 conference said: "If this business of making and selling electricity and its services is to develop along all its promised avenues, it will, to a considerable degree, be related to the running of homes. It seems obvious that women have much to contribute to the electrical industry. The work that has been done by some women already stands out in bold relief."
This significant work was especially true of the EWRT/WiNUP founders. These women were not only enterprising visionaries, promoting the modernizing benefits of the electrical appliances we now rely on completely; they were also dedicated to helping other women to find support and connect with their peers for mutual advancement, which sounds like a highly modern concept, even now.
Naturally drawn to gather together as the only women delegates at that 1923 meeting, they quickly discovered they faced common business needs and similar career issues. One attendee later wrote that the women’s’ interaction at the conference was “so interesting and so helpful that we decided to meet at least once a month when we got back to New York. At that time, we were all pioneers in the work we were attempting to do — mostly in connection with household appliances. Some of us were in the throes of research laboratories and model kitchens, and we needed moral support."
Back in New York, each woman invited others in the metropolitan area connected with the electrical industry to join their meetings. They hoped to inspire women to enter the industry and encourage those in it to move up. By 1927, the New York group was incorporated, and would ultimately expand to encompass the many chapters we have today.
Once member astutely noted that EWRT formed “not because we are women, but because we are women tackling jobs that carry us along unblazed trails, and feel keenly our need of help from each other." While today’s professional women’s are still on the long road to parity, it is both galvanizing and, yes, electrifying, to know that we carry on the important efforts and legacy of the EWRT. This organization has been unwaveringly dedicated to helping its members pursue professional, leadership, fulfilling the WiNUP tagline: “Empowering Women in Utilities Since 1923.”
2021 WiNUP International Conference: September 26-29, Charleston, South Carolina
Planning is in full swing for the 2021 WiNUP International Conference in beautiful and historic Charleston, South Carolina! With the pandemic affecting our daily lives at home and in the workplace, our planning committee felt it only natural that the theme of this year’s conference incorporate some aspect of this unprecedented time we are living in. “Power, Strength and Resilience” is the theme for the 2021 conference, and will serve as the backdrop for the fantastic programming we are busy planning for this Fall. As a WiNUP organization, we will get through this time by relying on our “Power and Strength” because we are a “Resilient” group of professionals! Look for more information in the coming weeks on the WiNUP website and social media pages as we prepare and finalize the agenda for the 2021 WiNUP International Conference!
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