U.S. WIN Leadership Award

This award was established in 2019 to recognize U.S. WIN members who have made significant contributions and demonstrated leadership in the four strategic objectives of U.S. WIN.  These objectives are:

  • Attract a diverse workforce to pursue professions and trades in the nuclear sector
  • Foster a culture of inclusion and belonging that retains a diverse workforce in the nuclear sector
  • Create professional development and networking opportunities for career advancement
  • Inspire advocacy and public support for the advancement of nuclear energy and technology.


U.S. WIN Leadership Award Process and FAQs

2023 U.S. WIN Leadership Award Nomination Form


Carol Barajas

U.S. WIN Leadership Awardee – Carol Barajas

We would like to again congratulate Carol Barajas, Vice President of Nuclear Project & Subsequent License Renewal for Tennessee Valley Authority, as the 2023 U.S. WIN Leadership Award WINner.


Carol Barajas is no stranger to the nuclear industry; she has held leadership positions in Operations, where she made positive impacts with Exelon, now Constellation, Progress Energy and Duke Energy. During her time at Duke Energy, she assisted in establishing the Nuclear Operating Model for seven of their nuclear sites before taking the role of Vice President of Environmental & Health and Safety. Prior to her current position at TVA she was the Vice President of Nuclear Oversight, then Vice President for the Watts Bar 2 Steam Generator Replacement Project.


Carol was a robust and active supporter in her management leadership role with U.S. WIN at Duke Energy, mainly through the merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy in 2012. While Duke Energy integrated seven nuclear sites, 12 generating units, and nearly 7,000 teammates into one fleet. Carol was instrumental in setting the organizational structure for the newly combined U.S. WIN chapter to ensure it continued to nurture talent and encourage networking and professional development. Through her open, honest, and bold conversations with senior management, she was able to secure a budget for the new U.S. WIN organization that allowed the chapter to be successful in integrating groups, building teamwork, and rallying around a common goal that ultimately jumpstarted the integration as one company. She provided the motivation and ability for the organization to continue to be successful and led the Duke Energy U.S. WIN chapter to receive recognition awards. She also put in place two large scale events to not only promote professional development but to create opportunities that allowed networking across both legacy companies.


Carol then joined TVA in 2019. Before she even arrived at TVA, she reached out to the TVA U.S. WIN leadership and expressed interested in helping with their chapter. She explained how U.S. WIN had given her the help she needed to reach her goals and she made it a priority to give back to other U.S. WIN members. At TVA, Carol helps guide what each year’s U.S. WIN activities will look like by ensuring the chapter develops a theme that aligns with the CNO’s vision.


Many TVA U.S. WIN members have found inspiration in Carol’s accomplishments. Carol helped pave the way for women early in her career as an SRO at Exelon, when there were very few female Operators. As Carol has risen to her level in the industry, she continued to be approachable, fair and kind, yet appropriately stood her ground to ensure other women had opportunities they needed.


Carol drives culture changes wherever she goes, influencing the shift in an environment that accepts and embraces diversity of thought. At both Duke Energy and TVA, she created professional development opportunities for U.S. WIN members. In addition, she is proactive with those around her to enhance their understanding and awareness of the value of nuclear energy and technology. Through her U.S. WIN chapter and personally, Carol has had a presence in local schools, teaching nuclear power during science classes, and promoting the value of STEM careers, and Carol continues to influence the positive image of the nuclear industry.


Previous Award WINners


This award replaced the Patricia Bryant Leadership Award (PBLA). A list of PBLA winners can be found on the PBLA page.