Christa Markgraff, vice president of operations at Nicor Gas, the largest natural gas distribution company in Illinois, is among those named to the 2019 HERoes 100 Women Executives List. The annual list celebrates 100 women who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace.
In her 27 years with the company, Markgraff has held numerous positions in Operations, Construction, Engineering, Technical Compliance and Customer Development. As vice president, she is responsible for day-to-day operations of the utility, including ensuring safety, compliance, operational excellence and financial performance. Her career path, engagement and leadership make Markgraff a role model for women in the energy industry. In fact, last year nearly half of the supervisory promotions in Field Operations were female employees – a record for the company.
“It’s important to for young women to see other women standing up and working in nontraditional roles,” Markgraff said. “I am proud of the record number of females that have been promoted in Field Operations at Nicor Gas and I continue to ensure an inclusive environment.
“What we do at Nicor Gas, at its most basic level, is provide a fundamental need in the community. We don’t discern between who gets service and who does not – inclusivity is at the core of what we do,” she said.
Markgraff is a founding member and executive sponsor of Nicor Gas’ employee resource group Inspire, an inclusive network focusing on women’s issues, working to inspire women to fulfill their personal and professional potential. Markgraff always makes herself available for one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss career progression and encourages women in the workplace to step up into leadership positions within their boards, ensuring they have an opportunity to develop professionally outside of the company.
Understanding the importance of mentorship, Markgraff helped implement a company-wide mentorship program at Nicor Gas that has made nearly 200 mentor-mentee pairings among employees from a diverse range of fields and management levels.
Markgraff currently serves as board chair for Voices for Illinois Children, an independent, nonpartisan advocacy organization that champions strong public policies and investments for all Illinois Children; she is the immediate past president of the Women’s Energy Network, Chicago chapter.
“The role models we’re recognizing aren’t just those who have achieved success themselves – they’re those who are committed to lifting others with them as they climb, and ultimately fueling the female talent pipeline,” said Suki Sandhu OBE, founder and CEO of INvolve.
To view the full 2019 HERoes 100 Women Executives List visit https://www.out-standing.org/heroes/100-female-executives-2019/
About INvoled and HERoes
HEOES is a part of INvolve, a global membership organization and consultancy championing diversity and inclusion in business. Through the delivery of events, programs, thought leadership and advisory services, INvolve helps firms drive cultural change and create inclusive workplaces where any individual can succeed. INvolve also publishes OUTstanding, EMpower and HERoes role model lists annually.
About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit www.nicorgas.com.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with 774,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at southerncompanygas.com.
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