Celebrating Women’s History Month with BRG leaders
Submitted by NRG Energy
Originally published on NRG Insights
During Women's History Month, we reflect on the achievements and contributions of women from the past and present. The theme of the month is embracing equity — an action that rejects bias, makes progress for equality, and fosters psychological safety. These themes are embedded in our culture, and we continue to strive toward creating a safe space for everyone.
We joined the conversation by putting a spotlight on five incredible women leading Business Resource Groups (BRGs) at our company. BRGs are employee-led collectives that foster community and contribute to workplace culture. We learned more about each woman’s experiences and how they are embracing equity in their day-to-day.
Meet the women
Ashley Osei-Kuffour – Senior Associate, Sustainability & Partnerships
Ashley co-leads the Early Career Success (ECS) BRG. This group empowers members to enhance their professional development through a network dedicated to career growth, interpersonal relationships, and cross-functional learning.
Mareza Lopez – Manager, Go To Marketing Acquisition
Mayra Morales – Pricing Analyst
Mareza and Mayra are co-leaders of Hola! Club, a Hispanic/Latin BRG with a mission to foster cultural diversity, understanding, and inclusiveness.
Reneé Meaux – Director, National Partnership Development
Reneé is one of the leaders of Women in Power (WIP). Their mission is to empower, strengthen, and connect female employees to foster growing careers.
Renuka Joopelli – Senior IT Project Manager
Renuka is an active member of VIVIDH which serves as a platform for South Asian employees to educate and share their culture with everyone.
What does #embracingequity mean to you?
Embracing equity starts with acknowledging that there is a gap. It also involves recognizing that every human being holds different experiences and unique perspectives that are essential to growth. Whether that be from a professional standpoint or a societal one. When there's fairness, everyone feels valued, and we all succeed. – Ashley
For me, that means making sure that everyone has access to the same opportunities while taking into account that the differences in our backgrounds and where we come from can create barriers to participation. It's also ensuring that everyone gets the necessary tools to be successful and that those tools are what is best for them. – Mareza
Embracing equity is ensuring everyone is not only present but being heard. It's also having thoughts and opinions across all genders, races, and ages. It means everyone is acknowledged, considered, and valued. – Reneé
Embracing equity is creating an environment where everyone feels included and valued at work. It's also providing the resources specific to their needs no matter their gender, age, race, or position. This fosters a positive work experience and increased productivity resulting in better service to our company. – Renuka
What have you learned from women in the workplace?
One of the biggest things I've learned is how to be adaptable. You always have to be open to change and ready to pivot. If you're always thinking everything has to fit the status quo, then it’ll be hard to move forward in your career. I've learned that from many women across the organization and throughout my professional development. I hope to pass it along to others as they're building their careers. – Ashley
What would you go back and tell your younger self?
You are smart, you are capable, and you deserve a seat at the table. If they don't want to give you a seat at the table, then make your own table. Bring your own chair. You are where you're at because you work hard and deserve it. Don't doubt yourself. You have so much to give, so share that and empower other people. – Mareza
Why is it important to have women represented in leadership roles?
I was reading an article that said there were only two female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies back in 2000. Now, we've got 53. That speaks volumes, and it lets that little girl watching know, 'if they've done it, why can't I?' When I see women leaders who have climbed up the ladder in our company, I see that could be me one day. It also motivates me to know that my children can see women leaders doing big things. – Mayra
One of the biggest reasons is for people to see what's possible. We all come from different backgrounds, perspectives, and privileges. If we were in a company where women were not present in leadership, my perspective of potential opportunity would be much more limited than what it is today. – Reneé
How do you help other women enhance their skills in the workplace?
I would encourage them to speak up. One way to do that is by making introductions and connecting women to each other. At NRG, I've learned that I can get mentorships that help elevate not only myself but others. – Mayra
I've had the opportunity here at NRG to advance as a leader. One of my favorite things has been getting to help other people develop and become leaders themselves. The best thing I can do as a leader is to give honest feedback and not be afraid of challenging conversations because those are often opportunities for the biggest growth. – Reneé
What woman from the past or present has inspired you the most?
I was born and raised in India and migrated to the US when I got married. My parents lived in a rural area when I was born, but my mother worked hard to ensure that I got the best education. She sent me to live with my aunt and uncle during my childhood in a far-off urban city where I attended one of the best schools and colleges. I am forever grateful to my mother for paving my future and my aunt for raising me with great values. – Renuka
Celebrating women everywhere
We enjoyed learning more about a few of the women at NRG and are proud to have this opportunity to highlight their affinity groups, voices, and accomplishments. Join us in celebrating Women's History Month as we recognize the achievements of women at NRG and around the world.
To learn more about about NRG Energy, click here.
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