National Grid’s Women in Network
With more than 800 members, National Grid’s Women in Network resource group plays a key role in the professional development of the company’s women employees. Daria Liston, one of the group’s three Steering Committee members, talks about the group’s impact. “We have young women coming to us from high school and college, women professionals in non-traditional roles such as engineering and field work, and experienced women looking to further their careers. Each person needs something a bit different to help them succeed and that’s where we play a role.” Daria is National Grid’s regulatory manager for electrical operations.
Programs offered to members and non-members alike include an “Executive Event” featuring senior company executives providing insights into their parts of the organization. “Lunch-and-Learn” sessions, a newsletter and a new mentor matching program create an environment for women of all levels to improve their leadership skills.
“Committee members review results and adjust session materials to reflect current business or developmental needs of the audience served.”
Women Empowered (WE) is a cornerstone offering, now in its fifth year. Sharareh (Cherie) Goldsmith, Manager of Information and Records Management, manages this program for the Women in Network employee resource group. “In the past five years, the Women Empowered Committee has presented nine WE programs consisting of six to seven sessions, each targeted to a specific topic,” she explains. The sessions, each with a capacity of 50 students, include networking, mentoring and emotional intelligence; communicating with confidence; conflict management; achieving work-life balance; change management; and managing teams.
Program materials are developed, facilitated and administered within the company. At the completion of each WE program, participants are surveyed for evaluation and feedback. Committee members review results and adjust session materials to reflect current business or developmental needs of the audience served. Women Empowered is targeted at entry- and middle-level managers. So far, more than 420 women have graduated from the WE program.
“We are also beginning to offer mini-sessions that are open to all employees,” Goldsmith says. “These are aimed at single topics that can be covered in just an hour or two. We also work to equip participants with the knowledge they need to discover more information about each topic.”