From Laura Landreaux: New Mentoring Programs Offer Added Visibility for Female Employees
BY: LAURA LANDREAUX • PRESIDENT AND CEO, ENTERGY ARKANSAS
As the 2021 chair of Entergy Women’s Leadership Advisory Council, I’m excited to share that our work in advancing the company’s diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives has seen great success. The WLAC partnered with our internal Women’s Employee Resource Group to pilot two mentoring programs specifically for female employees because as the world changes, we believe the face of the utility business needs to change as well.
The company continues to invest in programs that introduce girls to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. And we work closely with colleges, universities, vocational, technical and other training programs in our service territory to increase the pipeline of talent – both male and female – into careers at Entergy and other companies.
But we’ve also got to make sure that once women get their feet through the door at Entergy, they remain, and are supported as they develop and grow their careers. At Entergy, we believe that to be truly successful, we must recruit and maintain a diverse workforce that leverages the unique talents and perspectives of each individual. The potential benefits are infinite, but we must also continue developing that workforce so employees feel valued and empowered to grow their skills and further their careers.
We intentionally established two distinct programs in order to meet the needs of the women in our company who are not only in different roles and business functions, but who are also at varying stages of their career.
Working with the WERG, in phase one of our effort, mentors were paired with female high-potential individual contributors, supervisors and managers for one-on-one, yearlong mentoring partnerships that include monthly meetings, job shadowing and coaching focused on personal and career development.
Phase two created pods of four female directors and non-officer vice president mentees who were paired with four executive leaders, both male and female, with a focus on networking and exposure, along with individual development. Individually, each female employee was paired with one of the four leaders, rotating leaders who served as their mentor each quarter. The group also met collectively each quarter to discuss a mentoring topic.
By partnering with individuals with varying perspectives and experiences, participants enhanced their knowledge, skills and understanding of business and cultural issues. Both programs provided opportunities for employees to engage in continuous learning, build meaningful relationships and mentees will be able to identify potential roadblocks and develop attainable career plans that are rooted in advancement.
Mentoring programs like these are a vital component of our DIB initiatives because they create more visibility for women with leaders throughout the organization, thereby expanding their perspectives and increasing their exposure and opportunity to be considered for career advancement.
While these pilot programs come to an end, I want to let you know that this is just the beginning of our work to further engage women in our business. The WERG will renew the one-on-one mentoring program for individual contributors in January with a new, larger class of mentors and mentees. And the WLAC will continue to collaborate with our human resources organization to maintain intentional focus on the sponsorship and development of emerging female leaders.
Mentorships are critical to women's professional development, and we are committed to making sure all our female employees have access to the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Laura Landreaux is president and CEO for Entergy Arkansas.