Operational Excellence
March 8, 2024

“The path we’re paving”: Inspiring stories from women at Xcel Energy

For Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating women powering the future

March is Women’s History Month, a time when we honor the invaluable contributions of women across generations, industries and cultures. This March, we’re celebrating the incredible women who power Xcel Energy’s success and highlighting some of their stories. In their many different roles, these women exemplify the dedication, expertise and passion that ensures our customers receive safe, reliable and affordable service every day.

Iffie Jennings, area manager, Community Relations–Boulder Region & Mountain Communities 
What is your role at Xcel Energy?  
As part of the Community Relations team at Xcel Energy, my focus is on community and local government affairs within Boulder County, City and County of Broomfield, and Grand County. It’s a role that involves building strong connections with these communities, ensuring our services align with their expectations and needs.  
Engaging with local residents and understanding their unique concerns and aspirations is a key part of my role. It's about ensuring that Xcel Energy is more than just a service provider – we aim to be an integral and positive part of the community. 
What excites you about working at Xcel?  
What I appreciate most is the dynamic nature of problem solving and the satisfaction that comes from effectively meeting our customers' needs. Each day is different, bringing unique challenges that require thoughtful and innovative solutions. This aspect of my work is particularly rewarding. 
I'm proud to be part of a team that is dedicated to making a meaningful difference in people's lives, ensuring that their experiences with us are positive and their needs are efficiently met. It's the essence of working at a utility company like Xcel Energy – contributing to the well-being of our customers and ensuring reliable, high-quality service. 
As a woman working in the energy field, what does Women’s History Month mean to you?  
Women's History Month reminds us of the strides we've made and the path we're paving for future generations of women in this field. It's a celebration of diversity, inclusivity, and the unique perspectives that women bring to the table, which are indispensable in driving innovation and excellence in our service to the community. 

Nicole Elmasry, senior manager, Gas Operations 

What is your role at Xcel Energy?   

I am a senior gas operations manager at Xcel Energy.  I have been employed with Xcel Energy for 23 years, and for the past 11 years, I have been with Gas Operations.  My team currently consists of NSP Gas Dispatch and NSP Metro East Gas Service (Gas Emergency Response, Day Service and Gas Meter Shop).
What excites you about working at Xcel?
What excites me about working for Xcel Energy, and specifically Gas Operations, is the pure fact that my team has a daily impact on our customers’ needs. Gas Operations provides our natural gas customers with a safe and reliable product for daily living purposes, and I am able to be a part of this daily impact.  Additionally, working with a phenomenal team who is striving for the same purpose is exciting and motivating. 

As a woman working in the energy field, what does Women's History Month mean to you?   

Women’s History Month is powerful in demonstrating that women can be successful in the utility industry and be a present wife, mother, daughter and friend.  Women’s History Month demonstrates the struggles and successes of women. 

Mehana Ho‘opi‘i, principal engineer, Engineering and Design Outsourcing 

What is your role at Xcel Energy? 
My title is principal engineer with the Transmission Line, Consultant Management Team (CMT). I am responsible for managing external engineering consultants who provide engineering professional services for the execution of capital Transmission Line projects. 
What excites you about working at Xcel? 
The sheer volume of work, the vast territories covered, and the forward-thinking clean energy goals are truly impressive. Transitioning from a smaller utility with its unique challenges, it’s remarkable to be part of a large utility where I can learn from brilliant minds, make a substantial impact on the company’s bottom line and lead the way for other utilities across the country. 
As a woman working in the energy field, what does Women's History Month mean to you? 
To not only remember the iconic women of the past, but to shine a light on current inspiring female leaders and help to mentor peers and the next generation of female engineers, remembering to speak up and support others who may be shy or uncomfortable in a room full of loud voices. 
Pam Gorman Prochaska, general manager, Nuclear Fleet Operations 

What is your role at Xcel Energy?   
As general manager, Nuclear Fleet Operations, my responsibilities include policy, strategic planning and developing partnerships for our existing nuclear fleet. As part of our strategic planning, we develop long-term goals including budget initiatives to keep our costs low. We also partner with other nuclear utilities and vendors to provide policy leadership in topics such as spent fuel storage. Importantly, my team is responsible for supporting the extensions of the current operating licenses of our Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear plants. These two plants, which have been providing reliable, always on, carbon-free power for the past 50 years, are crucial to achieving Xcel Energy’s carbon-free vision. If license extensions are approved, we intend to operate these plants into the 2050s.  
What excites you about working at Xcel?  
I’m proud to be a leader in an environmentally progressive company like Xcel Energy that reflects my values and supports opportunities for women working in the energy field. My career has included a broad range of experience from very technical operational roles to customer and external stakeholder facing roles, all of which have made me understand and better appreciate the complexity of the service we provide. I feel fortunate to work with high quality and talented employees who are committed to working together as we achieve our clean energy goals and provide a vital service to our customers at a reasonable cost. 
As a woman working in the energy field, what does Women's History Month mean to you? 
I started my career as an operator at the Prairie Island nuclear plant and was one of just a few females in male-dominated technical roles. For me, it meant I could set an example for my three daughters so they could see their future in any role they wanted. I also used that time to volunteer in schools and in community groups to share my career path and mentor young females looking to get into STEM careers.  
I’m proud to be the first female general manager in the nuclear fleet at Xcel Energy. It’s not about me personally, but it’s about the females who will follow and can see a vision for what their career potential can be. I’m hopeful we will continue to see more opportunities for females in leadership roles going forward. Women’s History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate what women bring to our companies and the important role we play in building a diverse company culture.  
Editor’s note: These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.