Company: National Grid
Innovation: Women Empowered
Award Recognition: Honorable Mention

National Grid’s Women’s Resource Group, WiN, is proud of the success of its Women Empowered (WE) program. This program was created because of the passion and creativity of fifteen National Grid women who attended an external leadership program offered by Women Unlimited. Following that program, they decided they wanted to give back to the company by developing a supportive, educational network to benefit all women in management. Over the past ten years, the WE leaders have increased from fifteen to forty and the program has positively influenced close to 600 women by not only increasing their management skills and education, but also providing a unifying environment for women who transitioned from from legacy companies.

The goal of the WE program is to provide women with the skills necessary to realize their greatest potential. The program was developed as a series of monthly workshops, which take place over six months. Each session targets specific topics such as emotional intelligence, communication skills, managing teams, conflict management, and change management.

The workshop instructors and facilitators are all National Grid employees. The program also includes a group-mentoring component with company executives as mentors. Company executives are also invited as guest speakers, in which they share their experiences, professional history, and ‘road to success’ stories.

WE accepts approximately fifty women into each class based on their expressed interest in the program as well as their managers’ recommendation. Since the first Women Powered Program in 2004, National Grid has conducted twelve workshops in three major company locations: Brooklyn, New York; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Syracuse, New York. The program graduates have provided excellent feedback to the program and many have returned as facilitators or administrators.

In 2008, the program was a winner of the National Grid Chairman’s Award in the Inclusion & Diversity category. The award recognizes the outstanding efforts and achievements of National Grid employees. One significant highlight of the program occurred in 2008 following a major corporate merger and restructuring. The WE program was instrumental in uniting female employees from the various legacy companies.

An additional benefit of the program is its low cost. The external program costs approximately $5000 per participant, while internally, the cost is $350. Each participant’s fee is charged back to the participant’s department.

The WE program at National Grid continues to be successful thanks to the support and participation of National Grid Executives as well as the continued dedication, energy, and passion of the WE leaders and equally enthusiastic and motivated participants.