The Women's Council on Energy and the Environment has chosen Sue Kelly, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association, as its 2017 Woman of the Year.
The Woman of the Year Award was created in 1985 to honor a woman of recognized stature in the energy and environment fields. Kelly follows Senator Lisa Murkowski, the 2016 Woman of the Year, and will be honored at the WCEE annual gala on March 7, 2017, at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC.
Kelly has been President and CEO of the Association since April 2014. She is the first woman to hold the position in the association’s 76-year history.
“I am thrilled by this recognition — especially for the opportunity it gives me to tell other women that working in energy, and public power in particular, can be an exceptionally rewarding career choice,” said Kelly.
Kelly was nominated for the award by 20 leaders from various energy-related organizations. The nominees described Kelly as “a leader in fostering the personal and professional growth of women (and men) throughout the energy industry. She has mentored hundreds of energy professionals, spending countless hours meeting with them, freely dispensing career advice and helping them think through goals and aspirations.”
Before becoming president and CEO, Kelly was the American Public Power Association’s senior vice president, policy analysis and general counsel. Under Kelly’s leadership, the Association has advocated on wholesale electric market issues, worked to strengthen cybersecurity awareness and resources for utilities and raised the profile of public power in Washington, D.C.
From 1998–2004, Kelly was a principal with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Miller, Balis & O'Neil, P.C. From 1995–1998, she served as the Senior Regulatory Counsel for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Those who’ve worked with Kelly throughout her energy career note that “Those outside our industry who interact with her come away with confidence that our industry is well led, thoughtful, intelligent and strategic. Sue works with all stakeholders and has earned the respect of those with whom she has policy differences. This is no easy task in Washington DC.”
Community service is a passion for Kelly. She has been very active in the charitable foundation of the Energy Bar Association, serving on its board and participating in its volunteer activities. She helped spearhead the American Public Power Association’s 75th Anniversary giving project, which raised money to fund solar suitcases through We Care Solar to power maternity clinics in developing countries and save lives lost during childbirth. She participates in the Association’s annual Day of Giving volunteer community service project.