Durham Magazine April / May 2022

Page 62


[Hilda] become the first Black woman to accomplish so many things, and she always understood the power of relationships internally and now I am excited about informing the community about the externally, and how the right ones can propel your career and the formation of our carbon plan,” she says. The plan, which will be finalized in December, will focus on reducing Duke Energy’s trajectory of your life,” Indira says. “Hilda still encourages me and is carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 and reaching net-zero carbon one of my biggest cheerleaders.” by 2050. “I look forward to ensuring our commitment to creating Indira operates out of Durham and directs community relations a cleaner environment, which will include transformative and efforts in Durham, Chatham, Lee and Orange counties, managing innovative strategies that include renewables, grid investments governmental and key contact relationships with regulatory officials, and electric vehicle infrastructure.” local elected officials, chambers of commerce, and community and The Williamston, North Carolina, native earned a bachelor’s civic leaders. “I also implement community and customer strategies degree in political science at N.C. State University and began that achieve enhanced customer satisfaction and strengthen regulatory her career in utilities at Carolina Power & Light Company as a relationships, while also managing philanthropic grants and paralegal in 1989. CP&L acquired Florida Progress Corporation sponsorships for my district,” Indira adds. in 2000, and the merged companies became Progress Energy; She also serves as president of the Rotary Club of Durham and in 2012, Progress Energy and Duke Energy merged into the has championed several causes and initiatives this year, including company we know today. combating food and housing insecurity, securing transitional housing As the company evolved, so did Indira’s role. Over the past for veterans and helping to eliminate the achievement gap. Indira three decades, she moved through a series of public-facing roles, enjoys meeting new people through her work, volunteering with including corporate affairs, constituent Durham Public Schools and her board relations and project management, and service with the Governor’s North thrived in relationship building. In July Carolina Business Committee for 2021, she was promoted to director of Education, the Durham Tech Foundation the East region within Duke Energy’s and the Sanford Area Growth Alliance. government and community relations “Knowing the needs in the community department; she oversees 29 counties helps me identify ways to add value Director, East region, and leads the team’s district managers in through Duke Energy resources,” she Duke Energy Aberdeen, New Bern and Wilmington, says. “I am responsible for working in the North Carolina. “I love the opportunity community to provide charitable funding to work for a company that values my for worthy causes that align with our gifts and that provides a necessary commodity that everyone relies on.” focus areas, which include vibrant economies, climate resiliency, and Perhaps more importantly, Indira shares her passion and values with her justice, equity and inclusion.” colleagues. “I love working with great [people] to improve the lives of our One of those causes is the annual Duke Energy Day of Champions customers in transformative ways,” she says. backpack drive. Indira organizes this partnership among local businesses, The feeling is mutual. Vakesia Graves, managing director of Duke Duke University, N.C. Central University and Durham Technical Energy’s Connected Communities program, has known Indira for Community College to provide school supplies, career options and books to counter summer reading loss. 20 years. “Indira’s love of her job and the community she serves is “[One] particular day, I noticed a little girl standing alone away from awe-inspiring,” Vakesia says. “She is a mentor who has taught me a the other students,” Indira recalls. After the girl received her bag of lot about what it means to pursue excellence. I enjoy working with her supplies and began to walk away, she turned around and ran back to because I know I’ll have the chance to learn something new, and be all Indira. “She gave me a big hug and asked if she could take a picture with the better and wiser through what I’ve learned.” me. I was humbled as I embraced that child, and I have to believe she Of course, Indira also had many powerful women in her life was saying to me that she was proud of me and happy to see someone who she looked to for guidance and inspiration. “My mother first, that looked like her in a position she could look up to. That face stays in because she pushed me to do more and to excel,” she says. “I have always been a driven person, and nothing gives me more pleasure at my mind and drives me to keep doing things to help those in need.” No matter what your goals are, Indira says, believing in yourself is work than completing a task well.” the first step – especially for young women. “Then, do the hard work to Another role model is Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, the first Black make it happen.” – by Morgan Cartier Weston  woman to serve in an executive position at Duke Energy. “I watched ndira Everett spends her days solving creative challenges. “Right






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