President and Chief Operating Officer
Outstanding Corporate Citizen of the Year Executive of the Year Nominee
Why do you believe CSR is an important part of your personal brand?
Giving back to our community is a fundamental part of our culture at Washington Gas and WGL. As a company, we are grateful for the opportunity to conduct business in a vibrant, diverse, growing region, and understand that this opportunity includes the responsibility to serve our neighbors. Personally, I have always believed that is important to give your time and your talent to help those in need and to do all you can to make your community stronger. I have been blessed to work for a company that shares my values and to lead an organization filled with women and men who are deeply committed to serving our community. At every service project or volunteer event, I see our team members selflessly giving of themselves whether it is through weatherizing homes, serving our veterans, or teaching children through Junior Achievement. I’m positive that our team members get just as much out of volunteering as the recipients do. I am also proud that our leadership leads by example and actively participates in community organizations and service projects. Overall, our employees volunteered more than 12,000 hours last year across the region.
Do you believe that the CSR work you participate in should be affiliated with the work you/your company does? For example, should an Oil company’s CSR be in cleaning up oil spills?
Companies should have a clear strategy with its CSR work so it can achieve maximum impact and benefit for the community. It is helpful when a company can leverage the expertise and passion of their employees and use that to contribute to the community. However, having a strong commitment to the community and being involved extends well beyond the work our company, or any company, does. At Washington Gas and WGL, we strategically focus on education, health and environmental issues because we know these areas are important and we believe we can make a difference there. And, more than just giving back, part of CSR is conducting your business in a way that contributes to the local communities where you operate, because that’s also where we live.
Do you believe contributing back to the community allows you to have a deeper connection with your clients/customers?
Contributions back to the community are a great way to build a connection with clients and customers. Working together to make the community a better place to live, work, visit, raise a family or have a business is something that matters to us all. Our annual Day of Weatherization is a great example because it brings us together not only with our customers, but our suppliers and partners join us as well to help to improve energy efficiency for our neighbors who might otherwise have trouble paying their bills. It is a reminder that the business and community we’re in together make a difference, every day.
What are some events or causes that inspire you?
As much as WGL sees ourselves as a business enterprise, we also view ourselves as a neighbor and a citizen. For example, Washington Gas and The Salvation Army founded the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) in 1983 as a financial assistance program that helps families who do not qualify for, or who have exhausted, government energy assistance. The program is an inspiration and has dispersed more than $24 million to help more than 271,000 residents. We pay for the administration of the program so that every penny contributed to the fund goes directly to help families in need.
I’m also proud of the partnership between WGL and George Mason University's Volgenau School of Engineering. Launched in 2016, it includes a $25,000 scholarship to support students enrolled in the Dual Admission Compact between Mason and Northern Virginia Community College, funding of engineering exam fees for some students, and a mentorship program between WGL volunteers and Mason students. The STEM investment addresses a critical workforce need in our region and expands opportunity to low income students. WGL is also a longtime supporter of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington to help educate children in financial literacy, among many inspiring volunteer efforts to support the environment and health of our communities.
What advice would you give to individuals trying to find a cause in which to participate?
Finding a cause comes from within. It comes from personal experience, as well as our professional lives. Maybe they, or a family member, have been touched by a disease. Maybe they grew up in poverty. The important thing is that people want to make a difference and make that human connection. For me, it’s more than dollars given, there is a special satisfaction that comes from volunteering at a food bank providing meals, or building a home for a deserving family, or helping someone recover from a natural disaster, or assisting the many veterans in our area who can use our help. I believe we all have a responsibility to care for each other and we can show that in so many ways. Find your passion and get out there and share it with others.