Not only is Nona C. Jones living in her light – she’s also making sure the lights stay on for others. See how she became a leader in environmental issues.

Charreah K. Jackson
Apr, 03, 2014

Not only is Nona C. Jones living in her light, she’s also making sure the lights stay on for thousands of Florida households, as an energy executive and advocate. See how this creative southern lady became a leader in environmental issues.

Age: 31
 
Title and company: Public Affairs Director, Gainesville Regional Utilities
 
Location: Gainesville, Florida
 
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
 
Twitter & Instagram: @NonaNotNora

The gig: I’m responsible for helping shape national and state energy policies that promote affordability, reliability, and environmental responsibility.
 
The journey: I was initially hired as Community Relations Director and had zero experience in policy. The CEO challenged me to take on the legislative and regulatory affairs. I am inspired in my work because I interact with customers on a daily basis who cannot afford to pay their utility bills. When I’m in DC advocating against costly regulations and $150 million upgrades that will not help the environment, those are the people I am thinking about.
 
Confessions of a Black woman in energy: The energy industry is a very white-male dominated industry. As a result, I am usually the only Black woman in the room, not to mention the fact that I am usually half the age of everyone in the room. This challenge has prompted me to stay on top of my game. I usually have something constructive to add to conversations I am involved in, which enhances my credibility.
 
Time-saving tip: I put everything on my calendar and I only have one calendar. By scheduling everything out and being realistic with how long something will take, I end my day feeling productive and accomplished.

Her biggest lesson learned: NEVER, EVER draft an email response while upset and send it. Been there, done that, burned the bridges. Instead, I will draft an email response in Word, then edit it repeatedly until the emotion and sting are gone. I have learned to control my pride and temper and, as a result, I have been able to turn some adversaries into advocates.
 
Her best advice: Be a lifelong learner.
 
Her career highlight: I was honored and surprised to receive the American Public Power Association’s Robert F. Roundtree Rising Star Award this year. I was selected among nominations from across the country.
 
Her secret superpower: Operating on no sleep!
 
Tech must-haves: I love my Action Notes app, as well as Dropbox, and Quickoffice. I really love iBooks so I can have all of my books with me when I travel.
 
Her beauty bag: I have some MAC blot powder and Body Shop lip gloss along with my dental flossers and travel toothbrush and toothpaste. I am obsessive about dental hygiene.

Student loan status: I didn’t have student loans for my undergrad degree, but I did have to get loans for my MBA. I am current with them, but wish I could wave a magic wand and have them disappear! 

Her theme song: “Overwhelmed,” a song I wrote and released on iTunes.
 
Her power accessory: My green Brahmin iPhone case. Go Gators!
 
Her power style: I like to mix classic styles and have been known to pair a black pin-stripe pants suit with pearls and purple suede high heels.
 
Her last read: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn by John Maxwell's

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