Women have worked at Entergy since the company’s inception more than 100 years ago, and in the last 30 years, they have entered the leadership ranks in our traditionally male-dominated industry.
Today, women make up 20 percent of Entergy’s total workforce and 15 percent of leadership positions. With the U.S. Department of Labor reporting that women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, those company statistics may seem low; however, they are the norm in any industry that relies heavily on science, technology, engineering and math skills.
Women hold 24 percent of STEM jobs in the U.S. And while women comprise nearly 60 percent of the undergraduate population, only 6.7 percent of STEM graduates are women. However, progress is being made.
Just 50 years ago, 4.2 million women were working in the trade, transportation and utility sector. Today, this number exceeds 11 million; making this sector the second largest employer of women behind education and health services.
Research has proven that having a more gender-balanced STEM workforce improves collaboration. As a result, there are greater technological and scientific advancements leading to innovations that help society as a whole.
That is why Entergy is committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive work culture.
Entergy’s first female member of our board of directors was Lucie Fjeldstad in 1992. Today, there are four female board members, making up 36 percent of the board. This board diversity was recognized by the 2020 Women On Boards campaign, which named Entergy a Winning Company every year since 2012.
When Senior Vice President of Nuclear Strategy and Operations Donna Jacobs joined Entergy in 2008, she already had a few “firsts” on her resume. She was the first female U.S. nuclear plant manager, with responsibility for the Wolf Creek nuclear plant, and the first North American recipient of the Women in Nuclear Global Woman of the Year Award. In 2011, Jacobs was named site vice president at Entergy’s Waterford 3 nuclear plant, the first female to hold that position in our company.
In 2011, current vice president of operations support, Kimberly Cook, was named general manager of plant operations at Waterford 3 making her Entergy’s first female nuclear plant manager. Cook wasn’t new to the Waterford team as she was the first female senior reactor operator in Waterford’s history.
Together, Jacobs and Cook were the first female team to lead a U.S. nuclear plant. As both have advanced in their careers, they always make time to support other women in nuclear through mentoring and their support of the Women in Nuclear and North American Young Generation in Nuclearchapters at Entergy.
Women are also playing a key role in Entergy’s grid modernization efforts. Watch the short video below featuring Lauren Kenney, vice president of product development; Erica Zimmerer, director of grid modernization; and Caroline Vaughan, senior engineer in grid modernization as they share their thoughts on women in STEM roles and what they’ve learned in their STEM careers.
Here are some other “women first” at Entergy:
- Fossil plant manager: Mary Lancaster, Lewis Creek 1995
- Utility operating company president: Carolyn Shanks, Entergy Mississippi 1999
- Office of the chief executive member: Renae Conley, executive vice president of human resources and administration 2011
- Gas distribution business vice president: In 2000, Tracie Boutte became the first African-American female to lead our gas business and, later, our regulatory and governmental affairs department for Entergy New Orleans.