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EN manager selected for first NucLEADers cohort

Feature story
​​​​​​As a mechanical engineering student at Washington State University, Kaitlin Carter knew she wanted a career in energy. 

It may have been in part to growing up listening to her father, Rial Steichen, talk about his work as an operator at Columbia Generating Station. But once she completed an internship at Energy Northwest, she was hooked.

“The internship sucked me in and I ended up coming right back after graduating,” she said.

Carter has spent nine years at EN, the first eight in System Engineering. Now she is in the middle of a two-year rotation in Organizational Effectiveness as the performance assessment program manager. She spends her days orchestrating assessments, serving as a liaison with EN’s regulatory bodies and examining leadership.

Over the next year, Carter is getting an even deeper look at leadership qualities as a member of North American Young Generation in Nuclear’s​ (NAYGN) first NucLEADers cohort.

The 11-month program is aimed at providing professional development for new and existing supervisors and those looking for a formal leadership role. The program is divided into trimesters focusing on leadership, management and communication. 

“I felt pretty special to be chosen,” Carter said. “It’s such a diverse group of professionals; their departments, experiences and positions are widespread. It’s not just nuclear plants, but also companies that work within the nuclear technology field. Some participants are just one or two years into the industry while others have spent 10 to 15 years in the field.”

Carter hopes to learn more about different communication styles and ways to approach leadership and adapt. She’s excited to use what she learns not only in Organizational Effectiveness, but across the agency.

“I think programs like this are beneficial for everyone – even if you’re just a year out of college, if you want to be in a leadership role, it’s going to give you leadership skills before you get into the position. I have already learned things I wished I knew before,” she said.

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