According to Shauntel Martinez, the path you choose in life may not always be straight – but it should be authentic.
“There may be detours or lateral steps you need to take to figure out what it is you want to do,” Martinez said. “You can be in a role for 15 years and then change – it’s OK. What is important is to tap into who you truly are and be true to yourself – and to always keep moving.”
This certainly describes life for Martinez, who just marked her 10-year anniversary at PSEG. She oversees a team of supervisors and lineworkers responsible for the installation and maintenance of the overhead electric distribution system. Together, they support more than 630,000 New Jersey customers in Hudson and Bergen counties, ensuring the power stays on and everyone on the team stays safe.
Getting to this role has been a circular journey for Martinez, who was raised by a single mom and inspired from an early age by her uncle. She recalls accompanying him on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, where he worked as an engineer. When her high school AP calculus teacher asked her what she wanted to be, she thought of her uncle.
“I remember him directing people and I was so amazed with what he did,” she said. “I said right then, ‘That is what I want to be.’”
While at college studying to be a mechanical engineer, Martinez took a class in energy.
“I loved it!”
When PSEG reached out to her about a job in its energy efficiency program, she jumped at the opportunity. But she didn’t stop there.
“I get bored easily,” Martinez said. “I have to keep moving.”
Over the next 10 years, Martinez took on positions of increasing responsibility, moving into the company’s Electrical Operations group, where she managed a mid-size team, and into a management role as distribution manager – Overhead Construction.* She used each role to develop new skills and to challenge herself, while never shying away from the next opportunity.
“I’ve worked with a lot of leaders at PSEG who always supported me. They saw potential in me and urged me to go for opportunities when they arose,” Martinez said.
Just being Shauntel
Martinez admits she was a bit nervous starting a new role in 2018.
“I was coming in to lead a team of 100 people, some of whom had been with the company for more than 30 years, as the first female manager in the department and someone who was not a lineworker,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how trusting or accepting they would be, or if they would see me for me.”
Martinez’ approach was simply to be herself and to recognize and acknowledge the expertise and years of experience of the people on her new team.
“These guys are experts, all bringing a diverse set of skills to the table,” she said.
But, she said, she also needed to realize – and respect – who she was and what she brought to the team.
“I am just able to be Shauntel, no one else. That’s who I am.”
Six months into the role, Martinez felt as if she had been working with her team for years.
“We took the time to get to know each other, and they brought me into the fold,” she said. “The fact that I didn’t have to be someone else really shows we are starting to see a change in the workplace from 10 or 20 years ago … this makes this role so worthwhile.”
For more information on career opportunities at PSEG, please visit jobs.pseg.com.
*Martinez has since accepted a role as Sr. Project Manager, People & Culture – PSE&G, where she is working to enhance the employee experience.