“Envision yourself in the role you are seeking.”
If you can envision yourself in that next role, then it becomes easier to behave as if you’re already there, says Judith L. Mondre, president and founder, Mondre Energy, Inc. and Pennsylvania Conference for Women advisory council member. We asked her a few questions about her own transitions along her career path.
Q: How did your professional journey begin and what would you say was your defining professional moment?
A: My professional journey in the energy field began in the early 1990s when I was working as an assistant to the Commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Property. Then-Mayor Ed Rendell asked me to serve on a task force of energy experts that was working to create the first Municipal Energy Office for the City of Philadelphia. The representative of one of the member agencies of that task force—from the PA Department of Environmental Protection—recommended that I head up the new Municipal Energy Office. I was thrilled to spearhead a new entity working alongside many very dedicated and talented people.
For me, the defining moment came when I was able to successfully conclude negotiations with PECO that achieved a multi-year discount off the City’s energy bill. That contract, along with innovations in technology that helped the City fulfill its strategic energy plan, earned recognition for Philadelphia locally and nationally from the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the White House. It put Philadelphia on the map as a leader in energy cost reduction and energy efficiency. It is great to see a new generation of energy innovation advanced by the current administration.
Q: What are the characteristics that you believe define a great company?
A: Great companies have four characteristics: a focus that puts clients in the center while involving all other stakeholders; the ability to adapt to new information, new technologies, and new products; regular investment in its employees’ development and professionalism; and a commitment to giving back to the community.
Q: What are your top 3 tips for a woman who is ready to make her next career move?
A: Envision yourself in the role you are seeking. If you can envision yourself in that next role, then it becomes easier to behave as if you’re already there in terms of your confidence, your work product, your professional presentation, etc.
Make yourself invaluable. Be the kind of employee whose work doesn’t have to be closely monitored or corrected. Get it right the first time. Be available early mornings, evenings, weekends for those senior assignments. Beat the deadline.
Be a role model for the next group coming up. There were a lot of talented women who came before me, and there are exceptionally talented women who I have had the privilege of meeting and mentoring. You have to respect and honor the ones ahead and help those behind.
Q: What is the top piece of professional advice that you’ve received from a mentor and why do you think that advice still applies to today’s business environment?
A: You have to make investment decisions that help the company grow, stay vital and viable. It’s easy to spend money. Investing wisely requires an understanding of a business’ products, market factors, customer needs, and technological advances and changes.
Q: What is the one thing you make time for in your daily life that helps keeps you refreshed and positive?
A: I am still trying to figure that one out. I think the greatest challenge for any involved business owner or employee is to learn how to keep balance in one’s life. I decompress at the beach.
Q: Who is a leader that you have great respect for and why?
A: I admire Hillary Clinton’s intelligence, wit, focus, and her ability to remain steadfast under professional and personal duress. Her substance and authority in the world of politics and policy have earned the trust and respect of her peers in Congress, the military, and among world leaders. At the same time, she demonstrates a personal warmth and ability to connect with individuals in all walks of life. This is a rare and remarkable combination of qualities that I think inspires many people today and is a role model for future generations of leaders.