The Energy Within Us

An Illuminating Perspective from Five Trailblazers

Joyce Hayes Giles

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Sharing their stories of rising through the ranks in the energy industry, five powerful African American women offer advice and guidance to Black women entering the field. Their commitment to supporting burgeoning leaders in the energy industry shows in their determination for all proceeds of this book to fund scholarships through the American Association of Blacks in Energy ® (AABE).


You’ve heard of the glass ceiling. It’s the barrier holding women back from breaking through to the highest echelons of corporate America. A few women are promoted to those power seats, but the realm of leadership in America’s top companies remains mostly male—and mostly white.

If striving for success in that reality weren’t daunting enough, some women face an additional barrier: the black ceiling. That’s the barricade blocking African Americans from ascending into the top levels of corporate leadership.

Black women who aspire to become senior executives or CEOs face the double obstacle of the glass and the black ceilings, especially in certain industries where the statistics for female and black representation are discouraging.

Think about how difficult and disheartening it might seem as a black woman aspiring to excel and transcend to a corporate leadership position through the glass ceiling and the black ceiling in the historically white male energy industry.

We are five African American female executives who have achieved all of the above. By sharing our stories in this book, our objective is to offer our lives and our careers as inspirational blueprints for other women and people of color who aspire to leadership positions in the corporate arena.

We have blazed new trails in the energy industry by shattering ceilings. However, much work remains. The low representation of women and people of color at the helm of corporate leadership requires a strong commitment to persevering past the many obstacles that can delay and derail a career.

That is why we convened on the pages of this book to show that, Yes, it can be done! We show it through: our own personal belief systems; networking with other women and people of color in our industry; receiving guidance from mentors; committing long hours to our jobs; relocating when opportunity knocked; pursuing our education and training to propel us on an upward trajectory in our field; and celebrating the successes as they come.

Very importantly, we have demonstrated a commitment throughout our careers—and now into retirement for some of us—to reach back to mentor others so they can follow the paths that we have blazed into uncharted territory for women and people of color in corporate America.

We hope that by reading The Energy Within Us: An Illuminating Perspective from Five Trailblazers, you will be inspired and informed about how to succeed in business and in life.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will go scholarships through AABE — The American Association of Blacks in Energy ®.
Authors — the book has 5 authors. 
Joyce Hayes Giles is an energy industry executive with over 35 years of experience transforming organizations’ customer and philanthropic performance. Most recently she was Assistant to the Chairman and Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. In addition, she served as the company’s Chief Ethics Officer and Ombudsman for employee related issues.

Carolyn Green is Managing Partner of EnerGreen Capital Management, which she founded in 2009 to invest in late-venture and early-growth-stage companies involved in the energy and environmental industries. Prior to founding EnerGreen, she was a Vice President with Sunoco, Inc., the Philadelphia-based oil refiner/marketer.

Telisa Toliver is currently GM, Chevron Pipeline and Power, has led many commercial functions throughout the energy value chain, and has been a strong advocate for the inclusion of African Americans and women in the energy industry.

Rose McKinney-James, Managing Principal of McKinney-James & Associates, is a seasoned small business leader, clean energy advocate, and independent corporate director with a long history in public service, non-profit volunteerism, and private sector corporate social responsibility.

Hilda Pinnix-Ragland is the CFO of AHK Global Resources and is also an independent corporate director. Most recently, she served as a senior executive of corporate public affairs at Duke Energy with national and international responsibilities. Her experience expands into financial, operations, and utility regulations. She founded the HPR STEM Academy, now in its fifth year, which serves girls going from elementary to middle school.


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