Thomas King

Thomas King
Executive Director and President, National Grid USA

Headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts
Education: Louisiana State University; Executive Program Graduate—University of Michigan
First Job: Regulatory Analyst, Interstate Pipelines
What I’m Reading: Unbroken: A World War II Story by Laura Hillenbrand
Best Advice: Optimism–positive energy is contagious.

Inspiring others to act

Service providers need to stay in tune with their customers—understand their concerns, anticipate their needs, change when they change. We provide natural gas and electricity to more than 7 million people across the Northeast. And the only way to succeed—and satisfy these customers—is to ensure we have talented, diverse employees who are local to the community and truly represent the communities and customers we serve.

So the diversity of our people is key to our success in today’s competitive market. The challenges are: 1) moving from dialogue to action; and 2) attracting, retaining, and promoting the best diverse candidates.

I’m happy to say we’ve had good momentum on challenge number one. We’ve moved from “Why is this important?” to “How can we make it happen—embed Inclusion & Diversity into everything we do and make it part of our DNA?” With business engagement, a robust I&D team, a new chief diversity officer, and a growing, re-energized set of employee resource groups, we’re on our way. And we’re making diversity part of our corporate goals because it’s a real business case.

We still have work to do on challenge number two—but I’m encouraged to see a steady improvement in our number of women and minority leaders. More than half my direct reports fit these categories and they’re the right people for the right jobs. That’s the shadow I’m looking to cast further down into the organization.

In short, we’re changing with the times—and with our customers’ and employees’ needs. We know that Doing the Right Thing is doing the smart thing for customers, communities, employees, and our company. As a leader, it’s my job to set the vision, then build trust and empowerment to achieve that vision. I’m looking to inspire people to believe in our mission, take action, and work together to meet challenges along the way.

One of the things that excites—and inspires—me most is the increasing leadership role women are playing in the corporate world and the world at large. As our world gets smaller and more socially connected, women bring valued traits like gentleness, empathy, tolerance, and nurturing. Traits desperately needed in leadership. As I tell my three daughters: Be true to who you are, find a passion that will drive you, and fundamentally care. And I believe women like them will naturally guide us in business, government, and society by doing the right thing, always.