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UTC Webinar: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion


UTC Webinar: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion


New generations are entering the workforce and we are all in the presence of change. With this transition, there are more opportunities to create a safe space to provoke these conversations and inspire positive change. As this new workforce enters and the seasoned workforce retires, the transfer of knowledge is vital. It is critical that we all collaborate to face these challenges together.

DEI has become a household term and raises many questions that may have never been asked before. How can we change the notion that diversity is only about skin color? How do we give the marginalized people in our workforce a platform to speak? Diversity, equity, and inclusion involve every one of us in one way or another and these conversations cannot occur about us, without us.

Join us as we dive into this very necessary conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion. This panel discussion will include an in-depth conversation about hurdles, shattering glass ceilings, exclusion, defeat, and many more hard-hitting topics surrounding the energy and technology industries.

As leaders in their fields, these panelists strive to improve DEI and the discussions about it, within these industries. The goal of this discussion is to shed light on unsung heroes, pave the way for the future energy and technology leaders of tomorrow, share stories, and most importantly, share solutions.


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Naisla Barreto
Naisla Barreto
Product Owner, Duke Energy

Naisla Barreto graduated from UNC Charlotte, with a degree in communications and minor in journalism. Post-graduation Naisla worked at Coca Cola and Belk as an events specialist. She Transitioned into technology as a Digital Channels Business Analyst for Wells Fargo, then started to develop into a Project Manager role at Duke Energy for hardware projects. Naisla currently works as a Product Owner role for Duke Energy’s Digital Transformation in the XR Lab team that develops virtual reality training for different groups of the organization. Naisla also launched and leads the community outreach program by showcasing the different career opportunities in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to young students. Naisla was named as an Emerging Leader for Utilities technology council in 2020. Naisla also serves on Latinos Energizing Diversity board and volunteers by speaking at schools in the importance of Latinos and Women in STEM, she is also on the board for UTC as security and treasure. Naisla is part of LAWA scholarship board and recently enrolled in UNC Charlotte MBA program. In the past Naisla has been part of the Latin Chamber of Commerce at Charlotte and the VP of Communications for Association of Latinos Professionals for America. Naisla enjoys white water rafting, running, practicing yoga, and trying out new restaurants with her husband. Naisla was born in Colombia and raised in Charlotte, NC.

Chrissy Carr
Chrissy Carr
Electrical Engineer, Burns & McDonnell

Ms. Carr is an electrical engineer specializing in the design of telecommunications systems, data analytics, and utility automation. She presently serves as Network, Integration, and Automation Sales & Marketing Director at Burns & McDonnell. She has 31 years of engineering and project management.

Ms. Carr’s experience in telecommunications includes fiber optic systems, microwave radio (analog and digital – 900 MHz through 18 GHz), land mobile radio (UHF/VHF), Hybrid Fiber/Coax (HFC), LTE networks, local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). She has responsibilities in planning and design of wired and wireless infrastructure for a wide variety of clients in the municipal utilities, investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, industrial companies, and state and federal governments. Ms. Carr has experience in SONET systems as while as Multiprotocol Labeling Switching (MPLS). Ms. Carr has an understanding of Smart Cities applications for electric utilities.

Jeff Katz
Jeff Katz
Principal Wireless Solutions Architect, PSEG
Jeff provides enterprise-wide governance and oversight of wireless telecommunications products, services and technology for the Public Service Enterprise Group (‘PSEG’) family of companies. He plans, implements and manages projects involving wireless technology, conducts FCC compliance audits and acts as PSEG’s Wireless Compliance Officer.
Active in UTC since 1985, Jeff has chaired the Meetings Advisory Committee, the Education and Training Task Force, the UTC Journal Editorial Advisory Board, the Homeland Security Committee, the Member Services Division and the Public Policy Division. Jeff also chaired UTC Region 2 (Middle Atlantic) for 12 years. Jeff was elected in 2008 as UTC’s Vice-chairman and in 2009 as UTC’s Chairman.  He currently is Senior Advisor to UTC’s Public Policy Division and is a member of UTC’s Leadership Advisory Council.

As a recognized industry expert on telecommunications systems utilized by critical infrastructure entities, Jeff has testified on the industry’s behalf before the FCC and before the House/Senate Joint Homeland Security Committee, the House Government Reform Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He also has provided expert guidance to the committee’s majority and minority staffs. UTC nominated Jeff to serve on the FCC’s Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC) Public Safety Advisory Committee.
Jeff also is a member of APCO, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials – International, Inc. He has served on three APCO committees: the former Spectrum Management Committee, the Bylaws Committee and the Agency Training Committee.
Jeff has served two terms as mayor of his community and nine years as a member of its governing body. He also served as an armed auxiliary police officer, retiring in 2015 with the rank of lieutenant. Jeff also is certified as a police academy instructor by New Jersey’s Police Training Commission.

Jeff recently completed his 23rd year of service on the governing boards of Union County College and his 20th year of service on the Union County College Foundation Board of Trustees.

Jeff earned a BEng (Electrical Engineering) from Stevens Institute of Technology  and a Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law.  He is admitted to practice in all NJ federal and state courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the NJ State Bar Association and the Federal Communications Bar Association. Jeff is a Life Member of IEEE.

Jeff has more than 40 years experience in the utility and energy services industry, law enforcement and emergency management and more than 30 years experience in telecommunications law.

Monroe Keedo
Monroe Keedo
Research Engineer, Navajo Tribal Authority

Monroe Keedo develops and builds long-term standing business relationships between the Telecommunications Communications Division of NTUA and prospective telecommunications customers on and off the Navajo Reservation.  He is a research engineer and is responsible for business development and the technical sales engineering aspects of this division. He works closely with hospitals, schools, business, and government entities to design, present and demonstrate technical connectivity solutions.  In addition, he works directly with end-user customers and industry partners, providing input to technical RFP and SOW generation. Technical presentations and customer interactions are a significant part of what he does. Monroe has over 20 years in telecommunications business development.

Monroe led the team which obtained and managed a 32 million dollar NTIA Broadband project.  The project provided access to critical facilities on the Navajo Nation including tribal and federal facilities and public safety response centers; health, social service, and emergency care facilities; public and schools; and tribal Chapter Houses.   This project supported point-to-point data services and large broadband connections for commercial carriers and government and institutional users alike.  He formed the “enabling element” for social and economic change on the Navajo Nation.

Monroe Keedo holds an MBA from, the University of New Mexico, and an MSEE from New Mexico State University.

Keisha Sauls
Keisha Sauls
Technical Analyst Senior, CenterPoint Energy

Keisha Sauls has been with CenterPoint for over nine years, currently, she is a Senior Technical Analyst. She is the nucleus of her Transport Planning and Design Team, serving as the point of contact for all Telecom Communication directives. During the last nine years, Keisha has specialized in bridging the gap between vendors, customers, and internal teams. This intricate balance has lead Keisha to being an outstanding leader many clients refer to by name. Keisha’s function as the nucleus further promotes internal teams, customers, and vendors throughout CenterPoint Energy. As chair of the Productivity Improvement Committee, she has focused on streamlining communications between the entire system. At the same time, she provides a path for employees to present and promote ideas to improve productivity, effectively eliminating all foreseen barriers.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Keisha has always had a direction, aspiration, and emotional intelligence to help others. She gives back to her committees and communities as often as possible by volunteering to coordinate several events, drives, and campaigns on behalf of CenterPoint and the City of Houston. The Houston Food Bank knows her and her two daughters, Nefertiti and Lois, by name. Keisha is an active committee member of a plethora of diverse organizations such as UTC Membership, United Way, C.H.A.M.P, Safety Team, Spreading Her Wings, and MMG LLC. Her limited playtime is spent with her motorcycle family New Direction Ryderz MC, where she diligently serves as the President of the Lady of New Direction Social Club. As if that’s not enough, she enjoys making hand-poured scented candles, personalized self-care boxes, and delightful UnWine Parties.

She has four adult children, two girls, two boys, and four fantastic grandsons; we are still anticipating a granddaughter. Keisha, who goes by Yanni, loves spending time with all of them, including the adults.

Keisha earned her bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Kaplan University; as an Alumni, she continuously assists young women and single mothers as a mentor. As a Mentor, Keisha has used her knowledge, emotional intelligence, and organizational skills to guide and facilitate her mentee’s needs. Her mentees range from middle school, high school students to single mothers pursuing additional education or degree.  Keisha delights in providing personalized resources to all her mentees and anyone who crosses her path.  Keisha is currently pursuing her Project Management Professional certification and other certifications that will further assist with her role as a nucleus for CenterPoint Energy.

“Overcoming barriers is my superpower” -Keisha Sauls.

Kathy Nelson
Kathy Nelson
Principal, West Monroe Partners

Kathy Nelson is a Principal at West Monroe Partners where she works with utilities to develop telecommunications strategies and roadmaps, which underpin grid modernization. She has been in the utility industry for over 28 years. Prior to joining West Monroe, Ms. Nelson spent 25 years as a Telecommunications Engineer at Great River Energy where she focused on wireless networks including land mobile radio, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) communications, and Field Area Networks (FANs). During this time, Ms. Nelson served on the Board of Directors of UTC for nearly 10 years in various roles including Chair of Public Policy Division where she advocated for utilities access to spectrum and utilities’ ability to provide broadband services to their customers and access to funding to help them do so. Ms. Nelson served as Chairwoman of the Board of UTC from 2017 – 2018. In 2018, Ms. Nelson joined Ondas Networks as the Director of Technical Product Marketing and Industry Relations. She also hosts a podcast “Ordinarily Extraordinary – conversations with women in STEM” which provides a platform for women in a wide variety of STEM fields, backgrounds, and stages in their careers to share their stories and build community.


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