During Women’s History Month we’re highlighting women in leadership like Joann Wehle, the vice president of marketing and sales for Peoples Gas. We’re remembering trailblazers that have paved the way and we’re celebrating the women in leadership who impact our company today. Joann shares what’s influenced her unique leadership style, who inspires her, and how she balances her career and family. Let’s get to know her!
Q: What contribution(s) are you the proudest of when it comes to your tenure with TECO?
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been with TECO for over 30 years. Early in my career, I was fortunate to work in several areas and I learned so much and met great people.
Later in my career, I began developing and honing my negotiation skills. My proudest moments came through times of hard work when I felt I was truly making a difference – improving processes and contributing to overall company success, but most importantly meeting new people and making lifelong friends.
Q: Who were some of your role models/mentors especially in the earlier stages of your career?
A mentor is simply someone you can learn from. We have so many mentors in our lives – good and bad. There were so many people that I learned from early in my career. I tried to always understand each leader’s approach to problem-solving as well as his/her style to team development. From there I began to shape my own leadership style based on teachable moments.
Beyond practicing the “Golden Rule”, I believe in not forgetting where I came from and the wonderful people I’ve met along my journey are central to my leadership development.
As far as role models are concerned, I would say our former chief financial officer Sandy Callahan is certainly one for me. Her style, grace and cool attitude under pressure always amazed me. We worked together at another company and I was thrilled to later work for her at TECO. She is so smart and yet so down-to-earth and approachable, something I’ve truly tried to emulate in my career.
Q: What advice do you have for women who are beginning or considering careers in the energy industry?
You can do it! There are so many opportunities – more than ever before. I would give this advice really for most industries. Be a sponge – learn all you can. Raise your hand, ask questions, volunteer for projects.
Q: What future developments in our business are essential to our organization’s growth?
We’ve accomplished so much at Peoples Gas in a very short time. Our growth has been outstanding over the last several years, but there’s still so much to do. Work on our systems, communications, and inclusion and diversity initiatives – all of these are top of mind for me as we grow in size and strength. As the largest natural gas distributor in Florida, it is incumbent on us to set the way.
Q: Is there a woman in history or present who inspires you?
There are so many notable and strong women in history to point to – but the ones that come to my mind are not widely known or historical figures, per se.
My mother inspired me so much to be the person I am today. She was not college-educated but was so smart. She raised six children, went back to work during my early teenage years and made it her mission to ensure her children went to college. The other person who inspired me is my husband’s grandmother. She was widowed in her 40’s, raised 14 children, worked full-time and provided for her family during the depression when social services wanted to split up the family.
Both women inspired me to be the best that I can be, keep my hardships in perspective, not give up and to make family a central part of my life.
Q: What brings you joy?
As you can probably see from my earlier response, family is such a joy to me. I’m so proud of my two daughters who are smart and engaging young women – and most especially really nice human beings. I know they’ll do great things in their lives. And they actually want to hang out with their parents on occasion. I relish our time together – especially family trips to new places. I also know that I couldn’t have gotten this far in my career without my loving and supportive husband. I’m blessed to have such a wonderful family that brings me happiness and yet keeps me very grounded.