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AEP’s Outstanding Women: Carla Simpson

by on March 29, 2017

Carla Simpson

AEP  is featuring a series of Q&A articles in March – Women’s History Month — to recognize some of the exceptional women in our workforce and among our suppliers. This story features Carla Simpson, who is director of Employee Education & Growth at Indiana Michigan Power. 

Simpson started her career at I&M as a clerk/cashier in 1988, and was an office clerk until 1996. She was promoted to Customer Service supervisor NE in 1996, administrative associate for Business Services in 1998, Meter Revenue Operations administrator in 2000, budget analyst in 2004, manager of Meter Revenue Operations in 2008 and director of Business Operations Support in 2010. She assumed her current role in 2016.

She holds an Associate degree in Applied Business, Business Administration, The University of Northwestern Ohio (2003), and Bachelor of Science degree, Business Administration, The University of Northwestern Ohio (2005). Simpson also has certification from The Ohio State University Executive Education, and has completed training in AEP Targeted Development Program for Mid-Level Managers, ELI Leadership Lab for Women, and Senn Delaney Leadership Training.

She is involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Lunch Buddy Program, Junior Achievement, and has had a leadership role in Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity, including traveling to El Salvador in 2012 to help build several houses. She has also been involved in United Way Day of Caring, United Way Read Program, and Study Connection at Abbet Elementary School. She is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) and supports Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals (WiNUP).

Q: How did you become interested in your career choice?

A: I had, and continue to have, a passion to help the company be successful by helping those who work here be successful.

Q: Please use four adjectives to describe yourself in your role at AEP.

A: Energy, Excitement, Passion, Engagement.

Q: What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction/fulfillment and why?

A: The most satisfaction comes from identifying and implementing processes and/or changes that have a positive impact and are beneficial to AEP/I&M, employees, customers and stakeholders.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you have faced and overcome in your career at AEP?

A: The biggest challenge I have faced as a woman is not being heard at times. Sometimes I can make a suggestion or statement and it is overlooked, but another person may make the same suggestion and be heard. This is a challenge that I have not yet overcome but I am working on it. It sometimes requires me to restate what I said or ask for clarity as to how the other person’s suggestion or statement is different from mine.

Q: What activity outside of work gives you the most satisfaction/fulfillment and why?

A: The most satisfaction comes from the time I spend with my lunch buddy through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This is a program for kindergartners through fifth grade. I cherish the time we spend together playing board games, encouraging her and reading with her.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for young women entering the workforce today?

A: I think it’s balancing family or home life with the time needed for your career.

Q: Have you had a role model or mentor earlier in your career or when in school?

A: Yes, I have a few mentors; two relatives, a childhood mentor, and a mentor earlier in my career.

Q: How did your role model/mentor impact your career?

A: My biggest role model was my grandmother, who did not let her race or limited finances define who she was a person. She encouraged me to set goals, work hard to achieve them and not to let race, gender or finances be barriers. She said, “Don’t let things limit you.”

Q: How is your career field different now than it was when you started, especially for women in your field? What things have improved, and what needs more work?

A: The opportunities to move up in the company have increased from when I started my career at AEP in 1988. This industry is still dominated by males and it is difficult at times to have your voice be heard as a woman. There needs to be recognition that blind spots and inherent bias exists. While there is progress being made in removing the “glass ceiling,” there is still work to be done to remove it.

Q: What’s the best career advice you have ever been given, or that you have learned from your experience?

A:  The best advice I have been given is “choose your battles.”  I cannot solve every problem and resolve every issue; therefore I must choose those most important areas to spend my time and energy.

Q: What advice would you give to early to mid-career women to encourage them to stay and succeed in their careers?

A:  To establish priorities and recognize that although you value your career, there needs to be a work-life balance. By having a work-life balance, you will have the energy and focus you need when and where you need it.

From → News From AEP

2 Comments
  1. kds45 permalink

    So glad to see Carla featured here. I had the privilege of working with her for a few years and she is great. Professional, compassionate, and caring. She works hard and is a very effective leader. Congratulations on all your achievements.

  2. Carla, you are a very admirable young lady. Congratulations!

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