The Awards and Recognition Committee would once again like to congratulate all the 2023 Award WINners! Those who earned awards are:
- U.S. WIN Leadership Award – Carol Barajas
- U. S. WIN Champion Award – Matt Herr
- Small Chapter Overall: Constellation – Three Mile Island
- Small Chapter Public Outreach: Callaway Energy Center
- Small Chapter Professional Development: Energy Northwest – Columbia
- Small Chapter Networking: N/A
- Large Chapter Overall: Dominion Energy – Innsbrook
- Large Chapter Public Outreach: Fermi
- Large Chapter Professional Development: Duke Energy
- Large Chapter Networking: Tennessee Valley Authority
- Student Chapter Overall: Purdue University
U.S. WIN LEADERSHIP AWARD
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.
U.S. WIN CHAMPION AWARD
We also would like to congratulate Matt Herr, Senior Vice President of Mid-Atlantic Operations for Constellation Energy Generation.
Throughout his career, Matt has been engaged in supporting female-focused groups such as U.S. WIN and Constellation’s Women in Leadership. During Matt’s tenure of supporting U.S. WIN as a Plant Manager and SVP, the Peach Bottom U.S. WIN chapter has been recognized by U.S. WIN with chapter awards for engagement and outreach. Matt has graciously supported development activities for women either through direct participation in panel discussions and activities and by providing sponsorship for employee resource group activities, including U.S. WIN. Different than most leaders who often offer executive support, Matt has tried to put himself into the shoes of the diverse groups and embraced uncomfortable situations, such as being the sole white male among a collection of women or underrepresented groups, allowing himself to be educated and openly challenged on how he “as a white male leader” is ensuring that he is getting results and moving the needle toward a move diverse and inclusive workplace. Matt has allowed these experiences to continue to fuel his commitment, and he consistently shares his learnings from these experiences to elevate the voices of others and influence in the circles in which he leads.
He has set a great example for his male counterparts throughout his career by partnering with and supporting female counterparts, while actively influencing and educating male counterparts to recognize the unique strengths and needs of female talent. Matt has also motivated other male senior leaders to seek out opportunities to become mentors, sponsors, and advocates for women in the organization. Matt has actively recruited and promoted talented female leaders into his team, and he has also held his direct reports accountable for recruiting and developing diverse talent.
Matt established forums within his organization to solicit feedback and input from women and diverse employees to inform the talent development strategies for his team and Constellation. Through these forums, Matt has fostered an environment for all to learn through hearing the unique experiences and challenges faced by under-represented groups in the workplace. This shows his commitment to educating himself and educating his team, so that leaders and employees could better understand how to shape an inclusive culture in the workplace. His leadership in these efforts has created a conversation that had has continued to flourish and remains active today.
Matt was influential in establishing accountability goals for all leaders within the Constellation company that were designed to ensure that each leader was accountable for recruiting, supporting, and developing diverse talent. This has included support for programs that were directly designed to foster advancement of female leaders, such as the NEXT program, where he has directly sponsored two of the six Constellation cohort members since the program’s inception.
In order to earn an award, Chapters must submit their metrics for all four quarters and within the specified timeframe for each quarter to be considered for an award. Chapter awards are determined based on the following criteria: the number of activities held under a particular U.S. WIN core initiative, the number of active chapter members, the number of individuals, and the public groups reached during the event and the quality of the events. The “Overall” Award takes into consideration all three core initiatives.