The bulk power system is undergoing an unprecedented transformation as emerging technologies come to comprise larger and larger shares of the resource mix. While these changes pose new challenges to the electric industry, they also present opportunities that are being met increasingly often by women. To recognize this Texas RE is hosting the ERO Enterprise 2024 Women’s Leadership Conference on March 5, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. Central. This virtual only event will be dedicated to highlighting the impact of and opportunities for women working to maintain the reliability and security of the electric grid.

The Women’s Leadership Conference will feature a series of panels and presentations from women across North America who each day help to ensure the reliability of the BPS. Topics will include mentorship, career development, opportunities with the ERO Enterprise, and technical presentations on current issues facing the industry such as distributed energy resources and extreme weather.

The intended audience for this event are both women and men across the organizational spectrum. Individuals interested in starting a career in electric reliability, those already inside the industry interested in advancing their career, and executive leadership looking for strategies for recruiting and retaining a modern workforce.

Kaitlin Van Zee is the enforcement director at Texas RE. She joined the company as an enforcement attorney in November 2016. Prior to joining Texas RE, Katie spent six years as an attorney in the Oversight and Enforcement Division of the Public Utility Commission of Texas where she litigated and negotiated administrative penalties for violations of the Public Utility Regulatory Act, ERCOT Protocols, and the Texas Water Code. In 2014, Katie served as an expert for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Energy Regulatory Partnership Program with Mexico where she advised regulators at the Energy Regulatory Commission as they established new regulatory and compliance procedures. Katie holds a bachelor of arts degree in history and international studies from the University of South Carolina and a JD from the University of Texas at Austin.

Suzanne Keenan was elected to the NERC Board of Trustees in February 2018. Ms. Keenan is the chair of the Corporate Governance and Human Resources Committee and serves on the Compliance, Nominating, and Technology and Security Committees. From 2008 to 2017, Ms. Keenan served as the chief information officer and senior vice president for Wawa Inc. In her role, she led the development and implementation of technology, process, and support strategies, as well as the creation and evolution of the company’s cyber security program. Ms. Keenan has served in executive positions with Comcast Cable Communications, where she was responsible for cable human resources and customer operations. Previously, she served in a series of positions with PECO Energy, including vice president of customer and marketing services and roles focused on field services, reengineering and performance, regulatory performance, and emergency preparedness.

Ms. Keenan received a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Pennsylvania State University and master’s degree in health physics from the University of Pittsburgh. Her honors include being named Penn State’s Nuclear Engineering Outstanding Alumni Lecturer for 1999 and Penn State’s Outstanding Engineering Alumna in 2000.

Crystal Ashby is an independent director on the Texas RE Board of Directors. She is an accomplished senior executive, board member, and lawyer with more than 32 years of leadership success—particularly in the energy sector. Ms. Ashby’s corporate leadership experience comprises a successful 22-year career with BP in roles spanning government and external affairs, law, compliance and ethics, university relations, and retail.

Ms. Ashby is an NACD Fellow, member of the International Women’s Forum, and currently serves as a director on the boards of four organizations. Ms. Ashby has been honored as one of the Uptown Professional Top 100 Executives in America, Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women, and the National Diversity Council’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Oil and Gas. She is the recipient of a Congressional Uplift Award. She earned her JD from DePaul University College of Law and holds a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in English and psychology from the University of Michigan.

Bluma Sussman is director of membership at the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC), where she is responsible for management and oversight of stakeholder engagement initiatives. Ms. Sussman is also a founding co-chair of Elevate: The Women’s ERG. Prior to joining the E-ISAC in 2018, Ms. Sussman was a management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, where she led strategy, communications, and change management programs focused on national and homeland security, emergency preparedness, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection. Prior to that, Ms. Sussman served at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs, where she conducted media relations and messaging to support international diplomacy efforts. 

Ms. Sussman has a master’s degree in media and public affairs from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and journalism from Brandeis University. Ms. Sussman completed the energy executive course at the University of Idaho College of Business and Economics. Ms. Sussman also holds a certificate in facilitation from the RIVA Institute.

Jennifer Golynsky is head of human resources of SERC Reliability Corporation and, along with her team, is responsible for all facets of human resources for the organization. Her current focus is on supporting SERC’s Commitment to Culture program, internal coaching and employee success. Prior to joining SERC, Jennifer served as the director of human resources for W.K. Dickson & Co, Inc., a multi-disciplined consulting firm specializing in community infrastructure solutions.

Jennifer is a certified coach for DISC + Values through Institute Success, a certified coach, levels   I & II for the Harrison Assessment, a certified mentor in emotional intelligence, and holds a six sigma green belt.

Rashida Caraway is the manager of risk assessment at Texas RE and has been with the company since 2007. Prior to Texas RE, she worked as a transmission engineer as well as a protection system relay engineer, and a distribution engineer for Oncor Electric. Rashida holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University and a master of business administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Emily Stuetzle is the manager of CIP compliance at Northeast Power Coordinating Council, Inc. (NPCC). Emily started her first business, an IT consulting company, at age 15 and has been expanding and growing her skill set ever since. Before joining NPCC in 2018, she worked at Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. where she served as a Systems Specialist. In this role she deployed and maintained the systems and related documentation that are subject to the Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards. Prior to being a Systems Specialist, she worked as a SCADA Engineer in the Energy Control Center. In this position her responsibilities involved administering the EMS and troubleshooting any issues that arose on the isolated control network.

Emily holds the CISA certification and a bachelor of science cum laude in computer engineering from The State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a graduate of the two-year Siemens PTI Power Academy 2015 Distribution Systems Engineering Program and is a member of the Kappa Omicron Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society. She has completed the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity (301) training at the Idaho National Lab. In addition, she is a member of ISACA, InfraGard, and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Alice Ireland has worked in the electric utility industry for over 23 years, including 19 years of experience in building and managing compliance programs. She is a passionate champion for consistent and clear compliance expectations which drove her to become a member of the NERC Compliance and Certification Committee and to volunteer to lead the development of guidance for industry related to BES Cyber System Information in the cloud. She moved to consulting with Proven Compliance Solutions about a year ago and has enjoyed helping other utilities tackle unique challenges and strengthen their compliance programs.

Ashley Nwonuma is an enforcement attorney with Texas RE. Prior to joining Texas RE, Ashley has worked at a variety of organizations, including at Jupiter Power as associate counsel, assistant general counsel for the Texas Water Development Board, and at the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Ashley received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Kara Murray is the director of human resources at Texas RE. She started at the company in 2012 as the human resources manager. Prior to that she worked in human resources at the Texas Association of School Boards. She has a bachelor's degree in human resource management from Tarleton State University and a professional in human resources (PHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

Ally McKenna is an HR business partner at WECC. Her day-to-day work life consists of working strategically with employees to progress toward the organization’s overall goals. Ally is passionate about employee development, fostering engagement, and enabling professional growth. When not at work, Ally can be found rock climbing, playing board games, or hanging out in the sunshine with her family.

Christine Byer joined SERC Reliability Corporation in July 2021 and holds the position of a senior human resources generalist. Christine has 10 years of broad experience in the human resources field working as a HR generalist, recruiter, and HR consultant specializing in HR software technologies. Christine is a certified senior human resources professional (SHRM-SCP) and holds her Professional DISC + values coach training certification. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology, life sciences from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

Courtney Fasca is a senior technical auditor in the compliance monitoring - operations and planning department at ReliabilityFirst. Courtney has six years of RTO/ISO operations and compliance experience, working side-by-side (and virtually) with operations, compliance teams, planning, and various engineers to maintain and improve RTO/ISO operations. Ms. Fasca was a representative on the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) Taskforce on Coordination of Operation (CO-12), helping to develop the regional Summer and Winter Assessments. She also served as a member of the NERC Reliability Assessment Subcommittee (RAS) where she performed a similar role in preparing the NERC Summer and Winter Reliability Assessments. She graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering.

Karla Schiller is the director of human resources for Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO). Upon joining MRO in 2018, Karla established the organization’s in-house HR presence and has been credited with developing and implementing a wide array of HR processes and initiatives that have further solidified MRO’s people-first philosophy. Prior to joining MRO, Karla worked as a human resources leader within the medical-device industry at both mid-sized companies and large worldwide corporations. Ms. Schiller is certified as a human resources professional (PHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and she earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN.

Suzanne Spaulding is the vice chair on the Texas RE Board of Directors. She is also currently the senior advisor for homeland security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she leads the Defending Democratic Institutions project, and is a member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.

Additionally, Ms. Spaulding serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Security and for Defending Digital Campaigns; the advisory boards of Splunk, Nozomi Networks, MITRE, Harvard University’s Defending Digital Democracy project, American University’s Center on Technology, Law, and Security, and the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. She is also a member of the Homeland Security Experts Group; former chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security; co-founder of the ABA’s Cybersecurity Legal Task Force; and a member of the faculty of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Rhonda Jones is the vice president of reliability compliance at Invenergy LLC, a Chicago based developer, owner, and operator of large-scale clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. As a 14-year NERC regulatory compliance leader, she administers Invenergy’s Operations/Planning and CIP NERC Compliance Programs. Additionally, Rhonda leads Invenergy’s growing RTO/ISO Market Registration & Compliance Program.  

Rhonda served as a founder and chair of Black and Brown at Invenergy, an employee affinity group focused on increasing awareness, presence, opportunity, and participation, for people of African ancestry in sustainable energy careers.  Rhonda is also a member of Invenergy’s DEI Corporate Committee. She holds a BBA in Accounting, an MBA and a Juris Doctorate.

Kate Davis is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University. Dr. Davis’s work has pioneered significant enhancements to power system cyber-physical security by advancing cyber-physical modeling and analysis capabilities. Prior to joining Texas A&M in 2017, Dr. Davis was a Software Engineer and Senior Consultant for PowerWorld Corporation and with University of Illinois’s Information Trust Institute as a Research Scientist. Her expertise includes large scale modeling, analysis, and simulations of cyber-physical power system critical infrastructure, where she has particular interest in security-oriented control system analysis techniques.

She was recognized as IEEE Senior Member (2018), received the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Engineering Genesis Award (2019), and became a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Young Faculty Fellow (2021). She leads the Resilient Energy Systems Lab (RESLab), the cyber-physical emulation testbed created by her group, fully functional since 2020. 

Tammy Cooper is the deputy general manager or regulatory, communications, compliance and legal services at Austin Energy. In this role, she oversees regulatory affairs, corporate communications, corporate compliance programs, legal services, and environmental health & safety. Tammy has extensive experience in the electric industry, most recently serving as general counsel and corporate secretary at Texas RE. She also worked in private law practice representing clients in state and federal electric regulatory proceedings and advising clients on a broad range of energy-related issues. She began her legal career at the Public Utility Commission of Texas, where she held several positions, including the Director of Commission Advising. She holds both a bachelor of science in radio-television-film and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Julie Peterson is the vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO), where she oversees corporate governance, human resources, and the provision of strategic, proactive and practical legal advice to MRO’s executive team and the board of directors. Peterson also acts as liaison to the board’s Governance and Personnel Committee (GPC). The GPC assists the board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities in governance, board, and personnel matters. Prior to joining MRO, Peterson served as the director of legal operations for Alliances Management Consulting. She previously served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawaii in the employment law division, as a judicial law clerk for the Ninth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota, and as an associate attorney with the Nilles Law Firm in Fargo, ND.

Julie earned both her bachelor of arts and juris doctorate degrees from the University of North Dakota, and is licensed to practice law in Minnesota and Hawaii. She is a trained community mediator, a member of the Plymouth (MN) City Council, and a member of the Energy Bar Association.

Holly Peterson is a compliance assurance manager at NERC, leading a team of cybersecurity and operational experts in grid reliability. Prior to joining NERC, Holly was with WECC for seven years as a member of entity monitoring team, with a focus in Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards and security protections. Before WECC, she worked for a utility company for seven years supporting EMS administration, CIP compliance, and organizational cybersecurity programs. Holly has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She is also a certified information systems auditor, certified in risk and information system controls, and a certified information systems security professional.

Holly Hawkins is the vice president, general counsel, & corporate secretary for SERC and oversees the legal team, along with providing strategic advice and counsel to the President and CEO. She also interfaces with NERC legal and Regional legal representatives to develop new initiatives, review and advise on incoming FERC orders, and many other duties and responsibilities consistent with the position. Prior to joining SERC, Holly served as associate general counsel and assistant general counsel with NERC in Washington DC. She also served as a member of NERC’s management team, advising and supporting the executive management team on legal and regulatory matters.

Holly received her doctor of jurisprudence degree from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC. She is a member of the American Bar Association - Section on Environment, Energy and Resources, the Energy Bar Association, and the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment.

Tammie Henderson is a compliance assurance manager at NERC, where she is responsible for leading programs and processes to oversee, monitor, review, and evaluate program effectiveness of the ERO Enterprise’s implementation of risk-based compliance monitoring and certification and adherence to the NERC Rules of Procedure, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP), and approved delegation agreements. Prior to joining NERC, she was employed by NV Energy for more than seventeen years serving in various capacities.

Tammie holds a bachelor of business administration in accounting, master of public administration, is a certified compliance and ethics professional and a lean six sigma greenbelt. She is an author, international speaker, minister, and member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and recently served on the board of directors with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

Tim Gallagher is the president and chief executive officer of ReliabilityFirst (RF), where he is responsible for providing leadership and oversight. RF is one of the six federally recognized Regional Entities charged with setting and enforcing mandatory reliability standards and conducting assessments of the expected reliability performance of the Bulk Electric System in thirteen states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Gallagher has been in this role since RF’s inception, and he serves as a non-voting member of the RF Board of Directors.