With every step, strong, influential women impact the nation every day. We’re reminded by women of DTE who give back to our communities and help develop neighborhoods across the region. These are what we like to call “Power Women.” Our new podcast series highlights women throughout our company who use their influence to create positive impacts on our business and the lives of others.
March 8 celebrated International Women’s Day, but we’re using the entire month to continually celebrate the women that make our company, our community and our region a better place.
We’re kicking it off by highlighting public affairs manager and community leader, Dana Williams, who shared the influence behind her work and how she gets it all done. Listen to the first episode on our blog, Empowering Michigan, and stay tuned for more!
Anne O’Dell: Welcome to the “Empowering Michigan” podcast. I’m Anne O’Dell, and I’m here with Dana Williams, Public Affairs Manager at DTE Energy.
[00:12] On March eighth, we celebrated International Women’s Day with the United Way during the second annual Women of Influence Summit in Detroit. The event recognized women from around the region who are doing great things, and using their influence and power for good.
[00:25] It got me thinking, why only take one day to recognize the amazing accomplishments of these leaders who are helping our communities grow and thrive? Plus, I know there are so many women doing great things day in and day out.
[00:39] Today, we are launching our “Power Women: series.” Every week in March, we will take time to sit down with one of these influential women from within DTE to tell us more about how they’re using their power for good, and are leaders in the community, as well as positively impacting our business.
[00:55] Let’s begin. Welcome, Dana.
Dana Williams: [00:58] Hi, Anne. Happy to be here.
Anne: [01:01] I’m hoping that today we can really talk about you and what you’re doing to inspire our community. To start, can you tell us about your work within the company and within the community?
Dana: [01:12] Sure. My job here at DTE Energy is to connect DTE products and services and those who work on them with those external to our company.
[01:23] Those might be customers, they might be community organizations, they might be churches, anyone who we feel could deserve a little extra push of our message, or be connected to the things that DTE offers outside of our regular offerings.
Anne: [01:37] On a personal basis, I know that you’re really active and involved, can we also talk about that?
Dana: [01:42] Yes. Personally, I serve on various boards. Some of them to benefit children, some of them to benefit the small business world, and then also, a few personal ones that happen to coordinate with my own ministry.
Anne: [01:56] That’s great. Who is, or who was the biggest influence on your career?
Dana: [02:04] I get this question quite a bit, and over and over again, it doesn’t change. It really was my dad. My parents, happily married for 40 years, but my mother is just not as social as my dad is, when my dad would have to go to community events for work or for other organizations that he was involved in, I was his date.
[02:25] I got a chance to learn how to network very early in life, then it became natural. Here I am today in a job that requires me to network on a regular basis.
Anne: [02:33] You’re so good at it. Oh, my gosh.
Dana: [02:37] Thank you.
Anne: [02:36] And you always look on point.
Dana: [02:38] Thank you, good excuse for shopping.
Anne: [02:40] Right.
Anne: [02:41] What does it mean to you to really live leadership?
Dana: [02:47] On a regular basis, I really believe in the concept of servant leadership. Day to day, my job is to serve our customers, to serve the team members who report to me, and to serve DTE Energy, that’s even higher than that.
[03:00] My job is to connect and to liaison, and so wherever I feel like I am helping, naturally, it becomes kind of a leadership role.
Anne: [03:09] That’s great. How do you use your role to service women every day in the community?
Dana: [03:15] I am in a really unique position, because I am at DTE Energy, which is a large company here in Metro Detroit.
[03:22] I see myself connecting with younger women who are either just entering the work force or looking to change careers, often acting as a liaison for them, helping them to understand what their passions are, and maybe who I can connect them to to help them better their careers.
Anne: [03:42] What are your personal rules for leadership?
Dana: [03:45] I say, “Never ask anyone else anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.” It really reminds me that as a leader, I want people to be able to do good work. I want people to feel valued, and a good reminder that on an everyday basis, everybody has value to bring.
Anne: [04:08] How do you set yourself up for success each day? I know that’s hard for me, especially on a Monday. “How am I going to go into the world feeling positive?” Right?
Dana: [04:17] Yes. I’m a pretty organized person. I remember back in the day, I used to use the Franklin Covey system, which is probably a lot more over‑processing than really is necessary.
Dana: [04:28] But I believe in setting daily priorities. On Sunday nights, you’ll often find me with a notebook or sitting at my computer, prioritizing what I’d like to get done each day. Then I know if I only got that one thing done that day, then I was successful. The regular prioritizing really helps.
Anne: [04:45] I try that. It doesn’t always work, though.
Dana: [04:46] No.
Anne: [04:46] It’s easy for the list to change, right?
Dana: [04:49] Absolutely. They shift on a regular basis, but as long as they stay there, just get moving. That’s OK.
Anne: [04:55] What’s the most inspiring piece of advice that you’ve ever received, or that you give?
Dana: [04:59] I don’t know if I necessarily have a piece of inspiring advice, but I do have what I would consider to be the greatest compliment that inspires me on a regular basis.
[05:10] Someone ‑‑ a boss ‑‑ once told me, “Dana, it’s clear that you work for a higher purpose,” and that meant a lot to me.
[05:23] He saw that I was coming to work, not just to do a job, but for something that was bigger, either for personal motivation, or for something that was spiritual, something deeper that he saw in me, and so, I try to live that way on a regular basis.
Anne: [05:42] That’s quite the compliment.
Dana: [05:43] Yeah, it was.
Dana: [05:44] Pretty deep.
Anne: [05:45] Like, “Oh, what do I do with that?” Right?
Dana: [05:44] Right.
Anne: [05:44] How do you live that out every day?
Dana: [05:46] You live to inspire me, every day.
Anne: [05:48] That’s great. I know before this, we were kind of going back and forth. The question is, what book have you read recently that you would suggest to others? I guess maybe we should amend that, and I’ll say, “or podcast that you listen to?”
Dana: [06:01] As much as I like to read, I’ve got a stack of books on my desk that’s about six feet high.
Dana: [06:06] Because of my job, I’m in the community quite a bit, that means I’m in my car, I can listen to the radio, audible books, and that includes podcasts, and my favorite right now…There are some really cool TED Talks that women have given, especially as the work place has started to change, really exciting to listen to those on a regular basis.
Anne: [06:27] Is there anything else that you would like to tell our listeners about what inspires you to be a power woman every day?
Dana: [06:36] I would say everybody else inspires me to be a power woman. We at DTE Energy have the chance to work with a lot of very cool, smart ladies, and so, that’s really inspiring and helpful to me on a regular basis.
[06:50] [background music]
Anne: [06:50] Thank you for listening, and everyone, thank you for tuning in. We’ll see you next time with “Power Woman.”