A True Trailblazer

Holly Kauffman speaks at an event for the Women in Leadership Employee Business Resource Group.

May 22, 2020

When Holly Kauffman joined the company in 1984, there weren’t many female employees in leadership positions. After starting her career as a computer science analyst, she accepted her first supervisory role in 1988. Thirty-six years later, she is retiring as president of West Virginia Operations, effective June 1.

“I remember meetings when I was the only female employee in the room,” recalled Holly. “At the time, I didn’t think of myself as trying to open doors for women in the workplace or trying to be a trailblazer. I just wanted to do the best job that I could.”

Holly didn’t let other people’s preconceived notions stand in her way; instead, she allowed her natural leadership ability to shine through. She worked her way through the ranks, serving as vice president of Operations for JCP&L before assuming her current position in 2012. She has left her mark on the company through her strong leadership, as well as being a champion for D&I.

“I’m proud to have been named the first female state president at FirstEnergy,” added Holly. “Serving in this role has come with many challenges, and I’ve been able to share my experiences with other female employees through the Women in Leadership Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG). I believe the organization will not only make women stronger, it will help to make our company stronger, as will our other EBRGs.”

What Holly will miss most about FirstEnergy are the people. “Over the years, I have worked with a lot of wonderful people, and I’ve learned something from all of them. Leaving the company is a bittersweet feeling – I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life, but I am going to miss all the friends I have made at FirstEnergy.”

According to Sam Belcher, senior vice president and president, FEU, Holly’s dedication to all facets of her job will be greatly missed. “Whether she was working with employees, meeting with government officials or volunteering at a local nonprofit, Holly brought the same drive and enthusiasm to everything she did,” he said. “Her efforts to strengthen our commitment to safety and to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace have left FirstEnergy poised for future success.”

Although she is not sure what the future holds, Holly plans to spend more time with her family in Pennsylvania. She also wants to continue supporting local charitable organizations, something she has been passionate about her entire career.

After spending 36 years working in the operations part of the company, Holly said she is looking forward to unwinding and enjoying the moment. “The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check the weather and review the current number of outages so I can see what kind of a day I’m going to have,” she said with a chuckle. “It will take me a while to break that habit, but it will be nice to start my day without worrying about storms.”

President and CEO Chuck Jones (c.) and Holly with Wayne Lowe, supervisor, Distribution Skills Training, during a 2018 visit to Mon Power’s White Hall training facility.