International Women’s Day: Q&A With Sempra Energy’s Lisa Glatch
#BalanceForBetter. That’s this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, which was created more than a century ago as a day to celebrate the achievement of women. This year’s theme focuses on creating a more gender-balanced world and raising awareness against bias. Sempra Energy is committed to these ideals – providing an inclusive workplace environment that promotes diversity, including gender equality.
This commitment to diversity starts at the top. Jeffrey Martin, chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy, is signed on to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion initiative, a program with more than 500 CEOs who have pledged to take measurable action to cultivate a workplace environment where diverse perspectives and experiences are both welcomed and respected.
Employee-driven diversity and inclusion councils, along with taking time to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion, allow Sempra Energy to better understand bold ideas and fresh perspectives.
These efforts have resulted in increased numbers of female officers and directors at the Sempra Energy family of companies, with a jump of 34 percent over the past five years.
One of these leaders is Lisa Glatch, strategic initiatives officer for Sempra Energy. Glatch is primarily focused on Sempra Energy’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) business and supports the company’s strategic efforts in building North America’s premier energy infrastructure company.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Glatch shares her career path and the importance of diversity and inclusion at the company:
Q: How does Sempra Energy help promote gender equality, and diversity and inclusion in general?
A: By walking the talk! And creating an environment where people from all walks of life can be seen, be heard and thrive.
Our senior management team knows that we’re a stronger company because of our diversity and inclusion practices. The different perspectives and backgrounds of our employees, management team and board enable better decision-making in all aspects of our business.
Our company hires and develops the best talent across diverse backgrounds. Fifty-nine percent of Sempra Energy’s workforce – and 52 percent of management – are people of color. Thirty-one percent – and 34 percent of management – are women. Additionally, eight out of 14, or 57 percent, of the company’s board of directors are women and/or people of color.
Our dedication to diversity and inclusion landed the company a top spot on Forbes’ "Best Employers for Diversity for 2019" list and we were recently named to the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.
Sempra’s commitment and track record with respect to gender equality, diversity and inclusion make me proud to be part of the leadership team.
Q: What would you tell female students who are considering engineering or working in the energy industry?
A: Go for it! My career is 34 years young and it has been an awesome journey so far. I’ve been all over the globe and part of incredible teams that truly made a difference in this world.
Engineering is not the easiest path, but it’s a solid career foundation that you can take in so many directions. For female students in particular, I say, “Persevere. Don’t fear failure. It will be worth it.”
Q: What do you like most about your job? What are the biggest challenges?
A: I enjoy working collaboratively with other people to tackle big, hairy audacious goals. A significant part of my responsibilities at Sempra is helping assure that the $10 billion Cameron LNG project is successfully completed. It’s a big challenge, but the team is up to it and victory will be sweet.
Q: How have the skills you've acquired throughout your career helped you in your leadership roles?
A: I often say the skills that have helped me most throughout my career were learned in kindergarten. Those include things like listening, learning, respect and positivity.
As I started serving in leadership roles, other skills became increasingly important, such as professional assertiveness, developing other people and seeking feedback. And thank goodness I learned to give up perfectionism and thinking I had to be liked by everyone – exhausting!
Q: Did you always know what you wanted to pursue as a career?
A: Not exactly. Early on, I just knew that I enjoyed science, math and working in teams. For generations, my family has been involved in hospitality, travel and leisure, and sports so I was definitely the black sheep. I think it’s really important to have the courage to pursue what you enjoy, even if there are other influences or obstacles.
Q: Do you have any memorable moments from your first job? Was there a moment when you knew you picked the right career?
A: My first job in high school was as a hostess at a restaurant. I learned that the customers weren’t very interested in chemistry and that the restaurant business was not for me. My first job out of college was working for Chevron Research in San Francisco and I felt like I was on Cloud Nine. My advice is to trust your gut.
Photo (above): From left to right, Farhad Ahrabi, CEO of Cameron LNG; Lisa Glatch, strategic initiatives officer for Sempra Energy; and Jamie Gray, project director for Cameron LNG.