Jeannine Villasenor was a recent MBA graduate when she first began working on a rotational work program for Southern California Edison (SCE). Five years later, she is a manager in the utility’s Customer Service department.
She credits company executives who emphasize development of their employees for her success.
“We had a Latina executive tell us being humble about our work accomplishments won’t help us, that we need to be appropriately assertive,” said Villasenor, who is now president of Latinos for Engagement, Advancement & Development (LEAD), one of SCE’s employee resource groups. “That’s the kind of mentorship many of our group members need, especially those who are first-generation college grads.”
Villasenor is part of a workforce that is comprised of 31 percent Latinos. This year, SCE was named the No. 1 company for its diversity practices by Hispanic Business Magazine, an award that looks at recruitment, supplier diversity, community outreach and retention and promotion. For the past three years, SCE has been in the top five for this award.
LATINA Style Magazine also selected SCE for their 50 best companies for Latinas to work special report. The utility was noted for its strength in 14 of 16 categories, including recruitment, mentoring, leadership programs, supplier diversity and board placement. The magazine evaluated more than 800 companies and SCE was the only Southern California-based company to earn a spot in the top 50.
“SCE’s commitment to diversity is important as we strive to reflect the diversity of our community,” said Veronica Gutierrez, SCE vice president of Local Public Affairs. “We live and work in a dynamic environment, and our workforce should reflect the diversity of our customers and business suppliers.”
The SCE workforce includes 31 percent Latinos. Of that percentage, 11 percent are Latinas with 6 percent of Latinas in managerial positions and 3 percent are executives. A critical criteria for these awards involved promoting and pursuing supplier diversity. SCE’s contracts with Latina businesses totaled $132 million last year, with a total spend on women and minority business enterprises at $1.4 billion.
SCE’s philanthropic efforts benefiting minority or underserved groups was also an important factor for the Hispanic Business Magazine award. Last year, Edison International, SCE’s parent company, donated $19.7 million to nonprofit organizations with 85 percent of those funds targeted to underserved communities. Some of these programs focused on education, workforce development and civic engagement.
Last month, Villasenor headed to Salt Lake City to represent SCE at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Employee Resource Group Summit. LEAD had been selected as one of the top five employee resource groups in the country.
“This award really represents Edison’s commitment to its diverse workforce,” she said.