I always enjoyed the people that I worked with. The company is a fantastic company. I kept in touch with many of my peers and they always had such positive things about what changes are happening at NiSource. They were always so enthusiastic.
And the inclusion and diversity programs were a big part. We were doing a lot in that space. One of the things that I learned the most when I came back into the workforce is that it's okay to be a female. We're actually in a position now where our opinions and diversity of thought is not only valued, but welcomed. Everybody wants to hear a different perspective, and I think it's great that we have a culture where that is occurring today.
With the natural gas industry’s biggest global event – the World Gas Conference – convening in Washington D.C. this week, we’re profiling several of our talented and inspiring female leaders, including Kimra Cole, vice president of distribution operations.
Kimra leads the centralized scheduling and dispatching, damage prevention and planning functions for NiSource, one the nation’s largest regulated gas utilities.
“I’ve been encouraged to stretch beyond my limitations and share my unique perspectives as a woman in the energy business,” she said. “Excelling in this industry is especially rewarding, and there are more opportunities than ever.
The industry demographic has changed considerably since she began her career.
“As I have grown through the years in a traditionally male industry I have learned that it is OK to be a woman in leadership,” she said. “We are at a time where diversity of thought and opinions are not only welcomed, but valued.”
Kimra made a sizable shift after moving through the ranks at Columbia Gas for 15 years: The mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, appointed her as a city commissioner, overseeing more than 500 employees and a budget of more than $24 million.
Four years later she moved to the state level, serving as director of engineering for the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
In 2012, she came back to Columbia Gas. Now, she leads about 700 employees across seven states.