Fueling Equity

Southern Company Gas has a proud history of important work in diversity, equity and inclusion. But as the events of the summer of 2020 showed us, more must be done. Fueling Equity is an effort that reflects our understanding that when you know better, you do better. It is about all of us, both as individuals and as a collective. Together, we will find our strength through our resolve to fuel a more equitable future for everyone.

Fueling Equity focuses on meaningful change in the following areas:

  • Talent recruitment
  • Workplace culture
  • Community engagement
  • Public affairs
  • Supplier diversity
  • Leadership development and advancement

The three tenets of Fueling Equity are Listen, Learn and Lead.

The work of Fueling Equity will include listening to our colleagues who are feeling the pain of these attacks or any kind of marginalization; learning about the issues and what we can all do to help and support them; and then leading by being allies, advocates and ensuring an equitable company that leads in our communities.

Equity is about fairness, access and opportunity for all. And, unfortunately, there are many groups of people who are not being treated equitably.

“We are launching this effort during Black History Month, a month we highlight the work of so many Black Americans whose contributions have been unacknowledged, underappreciated or simply erased. It also comes days before we do the same for women during Women’s History Month. Fueling Equity is about fairness, access and opportunity for all. And, unfortunately, there are many groups of people who are not being treated equitably in our communities. This is our collective commitment to fuel the change we seek. By taking action to Listen, Learn and Lead — collectively, we can all make a difference.”

–Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO, Southern Company Gas

Kim Greene

Fueling Equity is putting our belief in the value of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice into practice.

Fueling Equity debut webcast series

Webcast with media trailblazer Wonya Lucas Launches first episode of ‘Fueling Equity’ series

Southern Company Gas continues to demonstrate its industry leadership and commitment to address important social justice issues through its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

The company is amplifying that focus through Fueling Equity. The effort includes a new webcast series featuring interviews with social justice trailblazers aimed at highlighting, educating and communicating Southern Company Gas’ important work to foster an equitable environment for its employees, customers and communities.

In its first webcast installment — and in honor of Black History Month and upcoming Women’s History Month — CEO Kim Greene spoke with Wonya Lucas, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, which oversees the Hallmark Channel, among others. Before taking over as president and CEO in 2020, Wonya ran the Public Broadcasting Atlanta stations, served as CEO of cable network TV One and has held many other media positions, including at The Weather Channel.

The inspiring discussion covered topics like facing adversity as a woman of color, the power of strong role models, the importance of community, balancing family and work, standing up for what’s right, challenging and changing social norms and hope for the future.

Perspectives on recent events and progress

The conversation shifted to recent events, specifically the killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 and the response that followed. “Growing up in Atlanta during the civil rights movement, it’s like, ‘I’ve seen this before.’ It was triggering to some extent,” Lucas said.

She went on to describe her own recent experiences and the transformation she’s seen within her own community. “Two years ago, I was walking in my neighborhood in Buckhead — I’ve lived there 20 years — and someone called security on me. I remember that fear, just someone being fearful of me. What will they do to me?”

Then, in response to George Floyd’s killing, the kids and parents in her neighborhood began organizing a protest march. “My youngest daughter said ‘Mom, we have to participate. We have to go.’ So that’s how far we’ve come in two years — being racially profiled to walking among neighbors to the Governor’s mansion, standing and kneeling in silence. I’ve never been more proud of my community and my daughter.”

Wonya Lucas as a child with her uncle, Hank Aaron.

Lucas' role as leader and advice to Southern Company Gas employees

Lucas then discussed her new role and her ongoing efforts to promote diversity at the Hallmark Channel, where previous content had not featured significant racial and sexual diversity.

“I approached it as a brand person. I looked at the Hallmark Cards brand,” Lucas said. “You see a section for the LGBTQ community, you see Mahogany, a 30-year-old brand targeted at African-American women. You see Tree of Life for the Jewish community and DaySpring for the Christian community, you see Vida for the Hispanic and Latinx communities. Hallmark has been diverse and representative for many years. My job as a brand builder is to capture the breadth and depth of that brand.”

She elaborated that this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing “Vida” or “Tree of Life” versions of the Hallmark Channel, but instead that the Hallmark Channel will strive to be diverse in an authentic way. “We are a storytelling brand, so we will tell the stories of many different people and cultures, again in a way that moves beyond representation to cultural relevance.”

When Greene asked for advice for providing equitable opportunities in the workplace as a leader, Lucas’ response was stark and simple. “Start by coming with an open heart and an open mind. It really does start there,” Lucas said. “The second thing: educate yourself. I remember my boss was reading White Fragility and Caste. Then he and his senior team had conversations which trickle into the organization. Infuse it. Make it a natural part of the organization.”

Lucas reinforced one more important concept, to be an ally. “Beyond educating yourself, represent [people of color] in places where they are not because you truly know them, see them and know who they are. Speak from knowledge versus theory.”

The discussion ended with Greene asking Lucas to talk about balancing her career with spending time raising her daughters. Again, Lucas’ advice was concise.

“Be organized, get help, give yourself grace, no matter what – if you’re a mother, you won’t do it all right. And choose your boss wisely,” Lucas said.

“I’ve always worked for family-friendly bosses. I ask them what part they play in their family and what family meant for them. I wanted them to understand that I will work very, very hard, but that I also want to be very present.”

Keep an eye out for future episodes of the Fueling Equity webcast series, as Southern Company Gas continues to promote equity not just in the workplace, but in our communities as well.

Choose to Challenge – with challenge comes change

A lineage of female leaders in the South Metro region of Atlanta Gas Light share how they’ve challenged the status quo in what’s historically been a male-dominated industry

Southern Company Gas and its family of distribution companies celebrate Women’s History Month and recognize March 8 as International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

On a recent field operations site visit, Chairman, President and CEO Kim Greene found something unusual that is another reason for celebration. In Atlanta Gas Light’s South Metro region, a foreman, her supervisor, her manager, her director, and her vice president are women. In a male-dominated industry, this line of women and their direct reports is rare.

“I’m extremely encouraged to see this line of women forging the way – leading an entire region,” Greene said. “It’s exciting and I’m delighted to experience this in my career.”

Last month, the company launched its Fueling Equity effort, which reflects the company’s understanding that when you know better, you do better. The three tenets of Fueling Equity are Listen, Learn and Lead.

The work of Fueling Equity will include being more intentional about listening  to colleagues who are feeling the pain of recent attacks or any kind of marginalization; learning  about the issues and ways it can lean in to help and better support them; and then leading  by being allies, advocates and ensuring an equitable company that leads in the communities it serves.

Greene said she never had a female supervisor during her 30-year career in the utility industry.

“This effort is about all of us, both as individuals and as a collective. This team is a great representation of what we mean in ‘lead by example’ when we talk about Fueling Equity,” she said. “I hope we all can learn and be inspired by their impact.”

Southern Company Gas continues its commitment to embrace, respect, and value all employees in its inclusive environment, recognizing a diverse talent pool leads to innovative solutions.

These five women at Atlanta Gas Light have seen the transformation needed in the workplace. They worked hard in a predominantly male field and rose to become leaders – reflecting the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – Choose to Challenge.

Kristy Rounds, Operations Foreman – Rounds started her career at Atlanta Gas Light through its new hire Apprentice Program and worked her way to become the Operations Foreman in the South Metro region.

She reports to:

Natalie Caster, Operations Supervisor – Caster gained experience leading mostly male – if not all-male – teams, starting her career in power generation at Georgia Power before becoming the only female supervisor with Atlanta Gas Light in South Metro.

She reports to:

Latasha James, Operations Manager – James, who started her career in environmental affairs, was inspired by the female leaders across Atlanta Gas Light operations and strived to learn more from one female region director in particular. That mentor is now her boss.

She reports to:

Nichole Miles-Sullivan, Region Director – Miles-Sullivan has dedicated her career to building a more inclusive workplace for employees with diverse backgrounds, starting with the younger generation by teaching them about careers in energy.

She reports to:

Tremese Davis, Vice President of Operations – Davis has more than 20 years of experience in the energy field and worked in many parts of the business including human resources and supply chain management. She made history by becoming the first Black female foreman at Atlanta Gas Light.

She reports to Pedro Cherry, president and CEO of AGL. And Cherry reports to:

Kim Greene, Chairman, President and CEO of Southern Company Gas Davis is now making her mark as the second Black female vice president at the company – a move Pedro Cherry implemented within his first month of taking over his role in August 2020.

“I’m honored to be a part of and witness each of these women’s journey, and I’m very proud of the dedication they’ve shown to bettering our communities, customers and workforce in the south metro region,” Cherry said. “It’s a historic time for the company, and I hope we continue to see and influence diversity, equity and inclusion in more leadership roles moving forward.”

Watch the video above to hear from each of these women on what Choose to Challenge means to them and how important creating an inclusive environment benefits the company, the communities it serves and most importantly, its customers.