"The program gave me a close-up view of political, business and social issues and trends, information that is invaluable to me as an entrepreneur and active participant in the success of our great state. The speakers were incredible� they inspired us and stretched our minds. The opportunity to connect with successful and dynamic California women leaders was a main highlight. Being part of Leadership California is like being part of a powerful sisterhood."

—Ursula C. Mentjes, M.S., ACC
President and Certified Business Coach
Potential Quest, Inc.
"I have enjoyed my involvement with Leadership California. Our trip to the state capitol was most enlightening. As a result I have gotten involved with the Los Angeles African American Women's Political Action Committee. Thank you, Leadership California, for sparking a genuine interest in the political process."

—Shawn Farrar
Director Corporate Diversity
Sempra Energy
"The CIT program brings together successful women from all over California, and gives them the opportunity to build a network with other successful women. It's a way to learn about the important issues in our state, and to get ready to take the next step in your professional life."

—Isela Vilchis Hoenigmann
"Leadership California has provided me a panoramic view of issues, challenges and opportunities for this lovely state that I live in. The program was my introduction to women of unbelievable talent, experience and passion who are set to make a difference. The feeling to want to be more, to accomplish more, is simply contagious. I hope to know these women for the rest of my life."

—Rosario Montes-Arena
Manager, IBM Software Executive Briefing Program
Silicon Valley & Worldwide Briefing Program
"As a young immigrant woman working in the nonprofit sector, it was inspiring to see women leaders in action, to be able to network with them, and talk about the issues that are relevant to our communities and our state. I feel honored and privileged for the opportunity to participate in such an awesome program that weaves women leaders from different sectors and geographies of California to engage in a conversation about the social, political, and economic fabric of California."

—Winnie Hui-Min Yu
Development Associate
Asian Law Caucus
San Francisco
"I've spent half of my work life in the corporate world, and the past ten years in the nonprofit world, but neither taught me how to be who I am at work�the whole pastiche of talent and spirit. I found role models who excited me, the true state of our state of California (which frustrated me), work partners continually learning like me, and friends."

—Peta G. Penson, Ed. D.
Consultant
Oakland Unified School District
"Leadership California sessions feature influential speakers and lively discussion on timely issues shaping the economy and workforce. The session on work-life balance struck a chord with me, where key leaders advised us to map out a personal career plan. Networking with other women was invaluable. Leadership California is an engaging and downright fun experience."

—Roberta Tinajero-Frankel
Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Dept.
Healthy Eating, Active Living Project Manager
"Simply put, Leadership California is time well spent that will benefit me personally and professionally for years to come. I've not only kept in contact with my fellow classmates on a social level, but have had opportunities to work with some of them on business projects as our professional paths crossed. The sessions gave in-depth looks at the critical social issues that many Californians face, inspiring me to get more involved in my community�s outreach programs."

—Teena Massingill
Manager of Corporate Public Affairs
Safeway Inc.
   

Lynda Ziegler, Southern California Edison Executive Vice President, Power Delivery, will accept the Corporate Leader Award on behalf of Edison International at the Legacy of Leadership Awards on May 2 in Los Angeles.
 


WHEN WE FLIP A SWITCH, we don’t think much about what it takes to bring electric power to the people. Lynda Ziegler, Executive Vice President, Power Delivery Services at Southern California Edison, spends just about all of her time at SCE thinking about that.

Lynda celebrated her 30th anniversary with SCE in January and 2011 is SCE’s 125th anniversary. Not many companies have been around for 125 years, and much has changed during those 30 years. Chairman and CEO Ted Craver says that the next 10 years are likely to see more change in the electricity industry than the last century, with SCE’s implementation of new technologies making the grid smarter, safer and more reliable.

Under Lynda's leadership, SCE won the EPA/DOE ENERGY STAR award nine times for its energy-efficiency efforts, and over the last five years has partnered with customers to save enough energy to power 965,000 homes. She has also led the implementation of SCE’s energy-saving, award winning SmartConnect™ metering project.

Lynda served for more than three years on the board of directors of Leadership California. Edison International has supported Leadership California since 1996 and prides itself on having 44 CIT program alumnae.

 

A Banner Year for Anniversaries

125th for Southern California Edison, 30th for Top Exec Lynda Ziegler


by Carol Caley
April 15, 2011


Q: You’ve enjoyed a long and successful career at Southern California Edison. How were you originally inspired to do this work?

A: I was working at a firm that did marketing and sales programs. I had designed a program for Edison to do energy efficiency. We had presented that to Edison, and Edison turned around and hired me to implement it. It was an unintended outcome, but coming to work for Edison was great, because it is a very large company and there are a lot of opportunities. I was very excited to be there.

Q: Early on at SCE, you started in the areas of conservation planning and energy efficiency. You’ve been in charge of customer service for the company’s 4.6 million customers. Your new position is Executive VP of Power Delivery. Given the large scope of your responsibilities, what does it take to succeed? Could you share with us how it worked, moving up into these very senior positions?

A: Southern California Edison is a very large company with lots of different types of jobs and opportunities, so when I came to Edison I looked at their core business, the pieces of the business that were really important. I wanted to learn those. We have an internal job opportunities system, so I looked at where I could get more experience and learn more about the business. I began to study and interview for those jobs in different areas. I was also able to be part of two management development programs. One of the keys at any large company is to have a good broad knowledge of different parts of the business. That’s what I wanted to do, and was able to do, in moving through these different positions.

Q: Did you find any mentors along the way, or were you a mentor?

A: I had a number of really great bosses. Everyone was always very open to helping, though I didn’t have a specific mentor. I do have a number of people I’ve mentored, but I often think that I’ve learned more from them than they learned from me!

Q: You’re celebrating your 30-year service anniversary at Edison International this year.

A: Yes, it is a year for anniversaries. We just launched our company’s 125th anniversary with our company campaign, “125 Days of Support.” It’s a community service support campaign, where our employees will donate and do volunteer community work. They will volunteer for all sorts of activities, from helping out at schools to forming teams for fundraising walks such as Alzheimer and cancer. Events that our employees have done in the past include preschool projects to paint and repair equipment, beach cleanup day and wilderness park restoration. That’s how I found out I have allergies, pulling up non-indigenous plants at one of our community cleanup days! Many of our employees are very active in their communities. We have city council members and mayors among our employees. They’re very committed to this effort.

Q: How have your thoughts on leadership evolved over your career? What do you do differently now than you did then?

A: I remember being a new supervisor, thinking that you had to know what your people were doing, and be monitoring their work. I’m sure that I drove them crazy. Over the years, you learn that people really want to do a good job. So the best thing is to set the parameters—what you want and what you expect—and then let them go do it. I’m sure that many people have suffered from my mistakes, but I thank them for the learning process.

“Never undervalue the connections that you make, because they end up being your support in business and
in life.”
 

Q: You’re a Leadership California program alumna, Class of 2000. Was there something you learned, something you experienced in the program that changed things for you?

A: It doesn’t seem that long ago! Working in a big company, you get very focused on what you’re doing in your job. Leadership California opened up my eyes to the public policy arena, how things were viewed in a larger context in California. The most interesting exercise we did was trying to do the state budget, with all of the constraints, and rules and laws around it. That was an interesting learning experience. And it was very helpful to understand the different perspectives from women in the class. I remember one thing that was an eye-opener to me. When you’re in business, you think you’re doing good things, but I found some of the women did not like businesspeople. They didn’t really think businesses were doing good things. It was just a new perspective. That was pretty illuminating.

Q: Edison International has been a sponsor of Leadership California since 1996, sending 44 executive women through the California Issues & Trends program. Nine alumnae are on Edison’s management team. Can you reflect on the ways Leadership California might have made a difference to the company’s women leaders?

A: Leadership California provides a really good “rounding out” for people. A lot of women in the company have not worked in external-facing engagements, or in public policy areas. The program provides a widening view of the world, beyond the company and beyond their job, to look at the broader space of California. That’s really valuable in preparing people for high leadership positions. As you move up in the company, your perspective is not as much around your job as it is about how what you do fits into the broader context of California—the state and the cities—what’s happening all around us. The program helps women leaders to get a wealth of different perspectives. We’re an investor-owned utility and we provide a service that’s required by the public, so we’re very much conscious of our public responsibility. Having our women develop that broader view is very valuable to us.

In addition to the leadership California opportunity, myself and two other women officers sponsor a development program for our senior women leaders. We invited 60 or 70 senior-level women to a series of leadership sessions. We’ve had a speaker come in and talk about executive presence, and go through exercises. We had a session on how to do presentations. We have a networking event coming up. We’ve done a couple of panels, where we’ve had our women officers answer a set of questions, then open it up to the floor for questions. These have been very popular. People are very hungry to hear how others have addressed both work and personal issues. 

Q: Since it is a year for anniversaries, is there an important thought that you would like to leave with our group of women leaders on the occasion of Leadership California’s 20th Year? 

A: I think it’s to never undervalue the connections that you make, the women friends that you make, because they end up being your support in business and in life. When you meet people, in Leadership California—which is a great place to meet people—and in other venues, the relationships that you form, and the networks you make, are so valuable. Being able to pick up the phone and call someone that has dealt with a particular situation, and be able to have a really honest conversation is more valuable than anything else.

Tomorrow I’ll be meeting with my counterpart at So Cal Gas. She and I have gotten to know each other over the years. She’s simply a great friend now. I feel comfortable talking with her about anything. We compare notes and challenges. It’s so valuable to have those kinds of relationships.

 


 



 

 
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