As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re recognizing a few women at AEP who inspire us.
Renee Shumate’s strength comes from her mother’s stories of triumphs, challenges and perseverance. As an External Affairs Manager for AEP Ohio, she takes pride in maintaining strong relationships with community and government leaders.
Read below as Renee shares more about herself, her job and advice for those interested in a career in energy.
What’s your role at AEP Ohio?
As a community liaison for AEP Ohio, I leverage my passion for building relationships everyday — whether that’s working with human service agencies or helping allocate grants to good causes.
I represent AEP Ohio on several boards such as the Community Shelter Board and New Albany Chamber of Commerce. I also serve on the YWCA Columbus and Columbus Metropolitan Library boards. Along with supporting AEP Ohio, I also support AEP’s corporate positioning, public affairs, legislative and community initiatives.
Tell us about a pivotal experience in your career.
My career actually started in information technology and project management. In 2006, there was an opportunity to be president of a data management start-up company. My husband didn’t think I would like it because it was a much smaller company, and I thrived in larger corporations. The title of “president” was really attractive, and I took the job. It didn’t take long for my husband to be proven right; it wasn’t the best environment for me. After that experience, I took inventory of my passions and what my next step should be. A friend I worked with previously in my IT days worked at AEP and recommended that I restart my career here.
What do you want customers to know about what you do?
I love my job. Yes, it sounds cliche, but let me explain why: it matters to me that people are taken care of. I work for a company that provides a vital service for our community’s quality of life. I’m part of an organization that gives me the power to make a difference in our community. The partnership AEP Ohio has in our communities helps amplify the dedicated organizations on the front lines in expanding opportunity for all.
What advice would you give to girls and young women looking to pursue a career in energy?
Young girls and women should focus on developing transferable skills that can be used everywhere. Engage with other women in the fields you are interested in and seek mentors who can provide guidance as you start your career.
Who inspires you?
My mother is a strong influence in my life. Growing up, she was a laborer on a tobacco farm in the Jim Crow south. In 1963, she moved up north and pursued her college degree later in life. She retired as an executive for the U.S. Postal Service. She overcame a lot of obstacles and broke down barriers, yet she always made sure I was taken care of. One piece of advice my mother gave me that I always recall is, “Be nice to everyone and work hard to achieve your goals. Act like the sophisticated young woman that you are because you never know who is watching.”
Want to learn more about a career in energy? Visit AEP.com/Careers.