PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER | CPS ENERGY

Paula Gold-Williams leads more than 3,100 team members with the vision she has coined “People First,” whereby CPS Energy is evolving its efforts to create and deliver value to its customers, community, and employees into a new age of energy solutions. Paula has more than 30 years of leadership experience in San Antonio, including being a Regional Controller for Time Warner and the VP of Finance for Luby’s, Inc. before coming to CPS Energy in late 2004.

This interview was originally published in The Global Power & Energy Elites 2021.

WHAT’S THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ THIS YEAR?

An influential read that I always refer to is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. The narrative discusses how the team dynamic can be improved and optimised with people consciously being present. I believe in this team dynamic since teams can be exponentially more effective than relying on a single superstar. You don’t pick one person to play a team sport; you need a team.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A SUCCESSFUL LEADER?

When in the face of adversity, what do you do? Do you get smaller? Do you rise to the occasion and make that a learning opportunity that isn’t repeated? The latter, for me, is the most valuable choice that separates ordinary leaders from highly successful leaders.

I have evolved – technically and emotionally – by learning to appreciate the lessons learned through failures. Since the power and energy sector is highly technical, individuals must have specific technical abilities via IQ. Having a high EQ is also important. When we appoint leaders, we look for those who can elevate their emotional intelligence to connect their teams and objectives – a real team player. A successful leader should possess the ability to transfer these skills to others and develop those who have leadership aspirations by building their emotional intelligence while simultaneously increasing their industry knowledge.

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