As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re recognizing a few women at AEP who inspire us. In this Q&A series, we share their stories—from how they joined the industry to their inspirations to their advice to other women.
Kristen Thompson has been with AEP for 18 years. Currently, she manages the eight distribution training centers that teach the frontline employees who work at AEP’s seven operating companies. Her team of 25 instructors helps hone the technical skills of the 750+ lineworkers and meter electricians who visit the schools, including roughly 200 apprentices at AEP Ohio’s training facility in Groveport (AEP’s largest).
Read below as Kristen shares more about herself, her job and advice for those interested in a career in energy.
In what ways has the industry evolved since you first started your career?
There’s been a shift toward being more customer-focused. We do a better job of understanding our customers’ wants and needs. We’ve become more proactive in our communications and in promoting our employees and the work we do. We take time to consider, “How can we be the company people want to do business with?” rather than, “How can we be the company people have to do business with?”
What do you love most about your job?
The people—both those that I work with and the customers that we’re serving. I love the feeling that we’re helping by providing an important resource people use every single day.
I also love the community outreach that AEP does. I’m involved in Meals on Wheels, Operation Feed and the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals, and I Iove working for a company that supports my passion. As I’ve grown in my career, I’m now in a position where I can share that passion and explain to those who may not fully understand about the benefits of volunteerism and all the doors it can open.
Who inspires you?
A lot of people, but most of all my husband. He inspires me to want to do better at work, for myself and my family. He makes me feel good about wanting to excel, to have a successful career and a family at the same time. I have a very demanding job. He understands that and supports me.
What advice would you give to young women looking to pursue a career in energy?
You are capable. There are many, many options—especially at AEP. We need you.