Getting to net-zero in the electricity industry: A conversation with Jana Mosley, president of ENMAX Power
Energy

Getting to net-zero in the electricity industry: A conversation with Jana Mosley, president of ENMAX Power

Jana Mosley, the president of ENMAX Power and a board member of the Western Energy Institute, discusses leadership in the electricity industry, culture’s role in the organization, and making progress on DE&I.
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In this next episode of The Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast, Heidrick & Struggles’ Sean McLean speaks to Jana Mosley, the president of ENMAX Power and a board member of the Western Energy Institute. Mosley, who has seen the electrical industry from multiple viewpoints, shares what she believes Canada’s leaders are doing well and where she believes they can improve, as well as how she and her team prioritize where to focus, what to learn, and which expertise to bring onto the team versus expertise to seek out form external experts. As an executive and board member, she shares what she sees as culture's role in an organization, what practices are most impactful in getting to or staying at a high level of board performance, and both what she believes leaders are doing well right now to accelerate progress on DE&I within their organizations and what more she believes must be done. Finally, she offers advice to emerging leaders on how to develop in their careers as well as advice to senior executives on maintaining their health and wellness.


Below is a full transcript of the episode, which has been lightly edited for clarity. 


Welcome to The Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast. Heidrick is the premier global provider of senior-level executive search and leadership consulting services. Diversity and inclusion, leading through tumultuous times, and building thriving teams and organizations are among the core issues we talk with leaders about every day, including in our podcasts. Thank you for joining the conversation.

Sean McLean: Welcome to The Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast. I'm Sean McLean, partner at Heidrick & Struggles, member of the Global Industrial and Financial Officers practices, and leader of our Calgary office. 

In today's podcast, I'm excited to speak with Jana Mosley, president of ENMAX Power. Jana is responsible for ENMAX's regulated transmission and distribution business in Calgary. She also directs ENMAX's power infrastructure engineering and maintenance services. With over two decades of industry experience, Jana has worked for various utilities, industrial consumers, generators, and the Alberta Electric System Operator. She is a registered professional engineer, has a Project Management Professional and ICD designation, and completed the advanced management program from Harvard Business School.

In addition to her role at ENMAX, she is on the board of the Western Energy Institute, is the past chair of Women and Power, a 2022 Calgary Influential Women in Business Award winner, and a 2023 Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award winner. Jana, thanks very much for joining us today. 

Jana Mosley: Thanks for having me, Sean.

Sean McLean: Jana, there's so much going on in the electricity industry today. How do you and your team prioritize where to focus, what to learn, which expertise to bring on to the team? When do you tap external experts? 

Jana Mosley: It's a daunting task some days with everything that's going on in the electricity industry. It's an exciting time though as well, and my team and I are really privileged to be part of bringing about the change that we know needs to happen as we electrify and work to achieve net zero goals across our country. 

I think like any organization, it starts with purpose and vision: being really clear what you're about and where you're trying to go, setting the strategy on how you're going to get there. Then, within that strategy, zooming out in the long term but then bringing yourself back in and saying, “You know, what can we control? What can we influence? And therefore, what do we need to be focused on here now in the next 12 to 18 months?”

I think another key piece is looking at the capabilities that you have in your organization and doing a regular assessment of that—understanding what your strengths are, where the gaps are, and how you're going to close on that in addition to regular talent reviews.

For us, we tend to leverage external resources when we are doing a strategy refresh. When we're looking at market trends, we want to get those external insights: stakeholder insights throughout the value chain of our business, working with other industries and seeing what's going on there and how we might be able to gain an understanding of the services we should be offering, or perhaps more about our competitive advantage and really defining that competitive advantage.

That's where we really start to partner with the employees as well, and pairing up our external resources with the people who know our business best. 

Sean McLean: Very helpful. You've seen the electrical industry from multiple viewpoints. From a leadership perspective, what are we doing well in Canada? What must we improve? 

Jana Mosley: So, I think, first of all, our path to reconciliation is something that we should be proud of and we should be conscious of. I think we need to continue down that path educating today's generations (myself included) from where we grew up, in terms of what we learned and what we understood about what had gone on historically in our country, to what we're understanding better today.

I think it is good to make sure we're getting voices from all stakeholders. And certainly, I think Canada is starting to do a much better job of that. We also can't deny that (I do believe) we're a global leader environmentally. We also, at the same time, recognize that we have natural resources that are needed around the globe. That's a balance we're continually trying to strike and it can be quite challenging. 

I think collaboration across utilities is a strength in the electricity industry; you see that federally, you see that provincially. We have a real opportunity to continue to align on the things that are really important and help educate and help policymakers and regulators as we all embrace this energy transition.

I also really like how the energy industry itself has really shifted to a can-do approach. You see that here in Alberta, you see that with oil and gas companies, and I really think the electrical industry is in the same process. I see us talking not so much about if, but talking about when. 

And so, working a little bit more towards that timeline and what makes sense is the better place for us to be, recognizing certainly that there are strengths and there are gaps geographically and we certainly can't assume that there are one-size-fits-all solutions. You certainly see that conversation happening now between Alberta, Saskatchewan, some other provinces, and our federal government as it relates to the Clean Electricity Regulation. 

Sean McLean: It's so great to hear you talk about collaboration, whether it be with government, across provincial boundaries. From all our energy infrastructure stakeholders and investors, we hear it's important.

It's going to be an all-of-the-above solution. That's what's ultimately going to be in the best interest of people, of the planet, and we're not going to get there without collaboration. So, it’s great to hear ENMAX and you leading in that regard. 

Jana Mosley: Definitely.

Sean McLean: A recent survey we conducted of CEOs in nine countries found that a higher share of Canadian CEOs than those in other countries saw the link between culture and strategy as central to driving financial performance.

As an executive and board member, what do you see as culture's role in an organization? 

Jana Mosley: Well, Sean, I think culture is everything. I think it is the difference maker. Your culture really defines your ability to attract and retain talent. I think culture really defines the wellbeing of employees—both from a physical safety perspective, which is certainly important in an industry such as mine in electricity, and also the mental wellbeing of employees. 

I think this is crucial for people and organizations to thrive and outperform their competitors. I think that your culture, how you're feeling about going to work, what your organization's all about, and how you work with each other in industry can really make or break if an employee wants to give it their all.

Gallup would tell us that more engaged cultures have higher levels of employee safety, customer satisfaction, and deliver higher financial results. So, I really do believe it all starts and ends with culture. 

Sean McLean: Well, from our perspective and the work that we do, we certainly couldn't agree more with that sentiment.

Turning to boards, what do you look at in evaluating a board's performance? What practices are most impactful in getting to or staying at a high level of board performance? 

Jana Mosley: Well, we were just talking about culture. So, I think boards are another place where culture really makes a difference. I think on boards, appreciating what others bring to the table is really important: the roles that each member is there to play, the competencies that they are valued for, and what they're there to do on behalf of the board and for the organization. We need to respect and understand that from each other. 

I think the role of the chair is just so crucial. They are the leader of the team; it is their job to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, that any newer member of the board (or members from outside of the industry) are given the opportunity to learn so they can contribute more confidently. They are checking in to say, “Hey, are we leaving people behind?” You really want everybody firing on all cylinders, and that's really important.

I think that it's important for boards to respect and value the role of committees. There is only so much time when the whole board gets together, and we need to make sure that when we're doing that we're focused on the right things.

Statistics would tell us that boards spend up to 70% of time on oversight and hindsight, and only 30% on strategy and talent, when really we should be spending 60% of our time on strategy and C-suite talent, succession, and development, and just 30% on oversight and 10% on hindsight.

I've seen this in boards that I've worked in and worked with, and I think there's still an opportunity to be shifting and having a much more proactive approach to how we as boards are spending our time. I think governance and board dynamic surveys are a practical tool to measure, in a proactive way, our current performance and figure out how to make important improvements that can influence future outcomes So, again, getting a sense of how everyone's feeling about how things are working and what the opportunities are.

In terms of actually measuring board performance, I think there's no doubt that shareholder or stakeholder sentiment is the ultimate judge of board performance and effectiveness, whether that's the public, private, or non-profit board and organization. 

Sean McLean: I really like how you captured that idea of pivoting from hindsight and oversight to strategy. We hear different versions of that from many of our board clients; that's just a really concise and effective way to describe it. Thank you for that.

Looking specifically at diversity, as we reported in our 2023 Canadian Board Monitor, we're seeing improvements in DE&I. Gender balance and new appointments remain close to parity, but there was a slight decrease in the share of seats that went to directors of ethnicities other than white, and the share of seats going to Indigenous directors dipped to 1%.

However, diversity is up markedly since 2020. There's work to be done, especially on management teams. In your opinion, what are leaders doing well right now to accelerate progress on DE&I within their organizations? What more must be done? 

Jana Mosley: Well, certainly we're learning. I think we're asking questions that we maybe haven't asked in the past. I see us being brave and accepting that we might not always get it right. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion and creating a culture where everyone can belong and is represented is challenging, and it can be a bit daunting for leaders. 

Land acknowledgements are a great example. It can be quite intimidating to do your first land acknowledgement; it could be intimidating to do your 10th land acknowledgement. People want to get it right, and often because we want to get it right, we shy away from doing certain things. So, I really like how we're leaning in in a different way. 

I think this is a strength of ENMAX's: to really have the conversation, to understand, and to be brave. I think that by being willing to get uncomfortable, we're able to make progress. I think that is where progress happens. 

I do think that we can be more bold and aggressive. If we believe the data that more diverse organizations are higher performing organizations, then to me this is a no-brainer from a business perspective. Diversity of thought, approach, our upbringing, our knowledge, and our age are so important. I think often that age diversity at every table gets overlooked as well, especially on boards. 

I am a big proponent of “if you can see it, you can be it.” So, I think at all levels of organization, I think boards need to be holding management accountable to embrace diversity and cultivating a culture where people can be themselves and bring all of who they are to the table. That's how we win.

Sean McLean: You make such great points in that area. As you know, a few weeks ago, we hosted a session in Calgary on psychological safety, and that was exactly the premise: that if employees, if leaders feel psychologically safe going to work, tremendous results tend to come from that. 

As a recipient of the Calgary Influential Women in Business Award, you're frequently tapped for advice from emerging leaders on how to develop in their careers. What advice do you give them? Any specific lessons you have learned in your career that you would highlight? 

Jana Mosley: One of my favorite things to do is to have the opportunity to coach and mentor others. I've had some incredible mentors in my career, and so I feel it's such a privilege to be able to give back in that space. And I always learn from people too, in terms of where they're at in their own journey; you're reminded even of some of your own advice or your own experiences. So, it really is a privilege. 

I like to share a few things with people that have helped me in my career. First of all, set clear goals. I'm amazed how many times people are scared to actually put it out there: where they might want to be going, or what they might be wanting to achieve. I try to tell people that it's okay to change the goals, it's okay to change the time frame, but you need to have them. If you don't have them, you're wandering, and you're not going to advance along your path as easily or as quickly as you could have otherwise. 

I like to tell people to be ambitious and think big. I think often women are dissuaded from being ambitious, or we're not used to seeing women take that form, whereas we're much more comfortable seeing men in that space. I think that's changing and that's excellent, but I do really encourage people from any walk of life to be ambitious and think big—think bigger than you perhaps thought. You know, if I didn't have people in my life who challenged me to think bigger, I wouldn't be where I am today and in the role I'm in today. So, I think that's really important. 

And speaking of that, certainly surrounding yourself with people who support and sponsor you in your career is so important. The biggest reason is so that they will actually give you candid feedback. It's amazing to me how many people still shy away from giving real critical feedback to people. That is how we grow; that is how we get better. And so, I think we should really be inviting that in. 

It's still hard to get candid feedback, to see where you haven't been showing up well or showing up differently than you thought you were, but that is really how you grow. And so, inviting that feedback in is incredibly important. 

Sean McLean: Such great advice on that and all the topics that we've covered today.

Let's end with this as our final question: with the pace and impact of often disorienting change these last few years, and no signs of that changing for the foreseeable future, any advice on maintaining health and wellness as a senior executive with so many depending on you?

Jana Mosley: This is something that I learned a lot about certainly during the pandemic. For me, I've grown to learn that you've got to take care of you. If you're not taking care of you, you can't be what you need to be for everybody else around you. And you know, in senior roles, a lot of people rely on us, and they layer on your personal life as well.

I find that putting myself first, first thing in the morning. is my approach. It's the time of day that I most get to control, and it's before the phone starts ringing. Once that day kicks off, you know, you're everybody else's—including your family’s, once you come home in the evening. So, taking that time to just ground yourself, center yourself—whether that's exercise, meditation, gratitude journaling—and just really feeding that piece of you is so important.

You know, there's a lot of discussion these days, Sean, about energy management, and I really think that's so important as well. As we lean into better understanding emotional intelligence and how we perform at our highest level as executives at the table—leaning into difficult conversations, understanding different stakeholders’ perspectives—it's so important that we are managing our energy and that we can perform our best every moment in every conversation. People are counting on us to do that. And so, really being more in tune with your own energy is really, really important. 

And then lastly, I think to just look at that whole wheel of life. People often ask me, “How do you have work-life balance?” Balance is an interesting word. I'm not sure it's in equilibrium, but certainly you should be taking a look at all of those different elements of career, family, friendships, other relationships, health, and making sure you've got something going on in each of those areas (even if it's not equal).

You can be plotting that out for the near-term and longer term, so that when it's all said and done, you can look back and say, “Hey, this was a life well lived. I didn't just focus on my career impact or impact in industry.” This way, the people who are around you and who will be there at the end also feel like they got the best of you, too.

Sean McLean: It's always tremendous and refreshing to hear senior executives thinking this way. Thank you for your leadership in that area. Jana, thank you very much for your time today.

Jana Mosley: Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it.

Thanks for listening to The Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast. To make sure you don’t miss more future-shaping ideas and conversations, please subscribe to our channel on the podcast app. And if you’re listening via LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube, why not share this with your connections? Until next time.


About the interviewer

Sean McLean (smclean@heidrick.com) is the partner in charge of Heidrick & Struggles’ Calgary office and a member of the global Industrial and Financial Officers practices.

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