Steve Mitnick is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and author of the book “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.”
PUF’s Steve Mitnick: It was great to attend the fortieth national conference of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, AABE. Tell me why it was a success in your mind, as its leader.
Paula Glover, AABE: By all measures this was our most successful conference ever. We’ve been doing this for forty years. So, some of it is timing.
Some is knowing what works and what doesn’t work. We have strong leadership and a conference planning team that had a real vision about what we wanted from this conference. And who stayed focused on delivering a great conference experience.
It was the right speakers and the right topical areas that people responded to. When we do conference planning, we’re saying to the attendees that their participation is a big key to making sure that the conference delivers what we promised. I truly believe that the members of this association are the best and the brightest in the business.
Absent their participation, we’re all just kind of sitting around listening to something. Their participation is what makes it a dynamic dialogue. It’s something that not only the presenters get a lot from, but other attendees get something from that conversation as well.
PUF’s Steve Mitnick: It was a huge audience. Just the networking seemed awesome.
Paula Glover: I’m glad that you got that. We work hard. The networking is always exceptional. I think we are unique in that we are a warm group of people.
As an association, we want people to know in this environment you’re going to be supported. Not just those three days that you’re with us. But that we’re intending as an association to let you know that we are here to support you, and to support one another throughout our careers, so that the impact is long lasting.
PUF’s Steve Mitnick: There were a lot of young people. How do you keep everybody involved at each age and level?
Paula Glover: We have an awesome structure of chapters around the country. There are forty different chapters. So, a lot of the credit goes to my chapter leaders and my chapter presidents, who on a regular basis are connecting with these members and having their own programing through their chapter meetings.
All those chapters have scholarship programs that engage young people, which is something that we’re all incredibly passionate about. That’s what holds it together during the year.
We encourage people to be more than members of the national association, but also to be involved with the programs we do for conferences, the policy summit, and a whole host of seminars and activities. But it’s equally important that they be involved in their chapter. It is what ties us together throughout the course of the year.
PUF’s Steve Mitnick: What do you see for the next five years?
Paula Glover: I think we as an association have several things that we’re