Ten years ago, Lisa Garcia found herself fresh out of college with a degree in engineering when she landed her first job as part of a gas engineering and substation operations team at a major utility company.
“I really had no idea what I was getting into, but it sounded like a good opportunity, and I always wanted to be involved in managing a team,” the West Windsor, New Jersey, native said.
That first exposure in field operations stuck.
“I liked how gas operations is a very physical thing – you can see gas pipes and fittings, and I got to work out in the field every day.”
Four years after that first experience, she joined PSEG so she could be closer to her family. Today, she is a district manager in Gas Operations for PSE&G Trenton Gas where she manages a team of 150 employees across 22 municipalities. She is responsible for ensuring safety remains front and center, looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction and maintaining the team’s budget.
Garcia credits a series of mentors as critical to her success in entering and remaining in the field.
“My first supervisor really helped me by taking me around and showing me the ropes – which was important given that I was supervising a team that included men who had been working longer than I had been alive.”
She learned from another manager to stand her ground, she said, and to be strong and keep pushing for what she knows is right. As a mother of two young girls, she said, her current director has helped her realize how to maintain a family-oriented perspective while also enjoying a career.
Her advice to other women looking at roles in field and operations: “Be open and flexible. A lot of us moms at home are organized – we get meals ready, make sure homework gets done. But in the field, you never know what a day may look like or when you might need to reach out for help. You won’t know everything, but someone who works with you likely can help, so you just need to acknowledge that. That [realization] actually makes you better at what you do.”
Paying it forward
Garcia now gives back to other women through PSEG’s companywide Women’s Leadership Alliance, where she serves on the leadership team. Through this Employee Business Resource Group, Garcia has helped the company create a more inclusive culture for women, offering input and advice that helped lead to improvements to PSEG parental leave program. She also has served as a mentor herself, helping women with their own personal development.
“Often the women I meet don’t feel confident enough about themselves, they don’t think they can fill a particular job that might be posted for example,” she said. “The Women’s Leadership Alliance helps women find their groove at PSEG and helps them access the opportunities that are right for them.”
Another lesson she tries to pass on to the women she mentors: If something bothers you, say something. Work should be enjoyable. Don’t give up.
Beyond PSEG, Garcia mentors alumni from her alma mater, The College of New Jersey. One other way she gives back: Along with her two younger sisters, Garcia has started a scholarship program for college-bound female seniors from her high school.
“We talked about doing it when we were younger and just thought it was something we should do,” she said.
Every June, they host a ceremony for recipients, keeping in touch with many.
It’s all about people
At the end of the day, Garcia said what she loves most about PSEG is the people.
“The people you work with are a big part of why you like your job or why you don’t,” she said. “The people here are my friends, we help and support each other. We are like a family.”
For more information on career opportunities at PSEG, please visit jobs.pseg.com.