Bennett Gaines Named a Top Diversity Leader in Energy

February 26, 2021

Bennett Gaines, senior vice president, Corporate Services and chief information officer, recently was recognized as one of the Top 100 Diversity Leaders in Energy at an online national conference hosted by the Energy Diversity & Inclusion Council – a non-profit organization offering tools, resources and education for energy industry leaders seeking to create an inclusive, multi-cultural workplace.

“I am honored to join others across the energy industry receiving this award,” said Bennett. “It’s also a mark of distinction for FirstEnergy as we seek to foster positive change – especially since this is the inaugural presentation of this award. It feels special, a bit like being among the first class voted into a hall of fame. Although, with the talent we have at FirstEnergy I’m confident this won’t be the only time someone at our company receives this award.”

Bennett added, “Events like this provide an opportunity to gauge FirstEnergy’s progress against that of our industry peers. We still have far to go on our journey but based on the caliber of the other award recipients, we’re in good company.”

With its theme of “Inclusion Leads to Innovation,” the inaugural National Energy Inclusion Conference featured three days of online training, education and discussion emphasizing the role of leadership in creating an equitable workplace. Bennett spoke in a five-person executive panel discussion about “Securing the Corner Office,” which offered insights into using means such as education, collaboration and personal branding to advance one’s career.

Fifteen FirstEnergy employees – including members of our MOSaic and Women in Leadership employee business resource groups – were able to participate in the conference through a sponsorship package. Altogether, more than 500 people attended virtually.

“It’s important for people to see others like themselves in the kind of positions where they not only have a seat at the table, but a voice,” said Bennett. “There is a gap in diverse representation at the leadership level across the energy industry. To close that gap, all of us must learn to recognize the opportunities and act on them. Attracting and retaining talented people at all levels is key to the industry’s future, and to FirstEnergy’s.”