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Get to know WAPA’s Assistant Administrator for Corporate Liaison

Dionne Thompson
Portrait of Senior Vice President and Assistant Administrator for Corporate Liaison – Dionne Thompson

As Senior Vice President and Assistant Administrator for Corporate Liaison in the Washington, D.C., Liaison Office, Dionne Thompson is responsible for developing and leading WAPA’s national relations and government affairs strategies. Working near The Hill (Capitol Hill), she routinely interacts and engages with members of Congress and their staff; liaises with the Department of Energy, Office of Management and Budget and other Executive Branch agencies regarding WAPA’s activities; and builds and maintains strong working relationships with national trade and energy industry associations.

Thompson has been involved in energy and environmental issues in Washington, D.C., since 1993 when she was a staff counsel to former Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and later for former Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA). She also worked as an attorney for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission between 2003 and 2009 where she was a legal advisor to the chairman in 2005, an advisor on market rates and tariffs, and Senate liaison in the Office of External Affairs where she covered electric transmission, natural gas and hydroelectric issues.

Closed Circuit sat down with Thompson to get to know her better.

What brought you to WAPA initially?

I had a background in hydropower coming from Reclamation. I learned electricity law in general having been at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a D.C. law firm, plus my time on Capitol Hill with the Senate Energy committee. So, the combination of those experiences seemed perfect for the job in the Washington Liaison Office. I also have enjoyed public service and the sense of meaningful participation I’ve gotten from it over the past 25+ years. I’ve been happy to continue that service here at WAPA.

What has been your most rewarding experience at WAPA so far?

Being able to assist with promoting WAPA’s needs and securing assistance on Capitol Hill so far have been most rewarding, particularly in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last year and now in the fiscal year 2023 funding cycle.

What is something most people do not know about you?

I am a member of the Barrow, Alaska Polar Bear Club. I jumped into the ice-laden Arctic Ocean and completely submerged – and paid for the privilege!

What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author?

“Atomic Habits” by James Clear. It’s a guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day. Using a framework called the Four Laws of Behavior Change. I don’t currently have a favorite author, though I have enjoyed a range of authors over time.

What is your style for both communication and leadership?

I prefer frequent and open communication, and my door is always open. Listening to learn is key. I also try to foster collaboration since teamwork, as is commonly stated, has no “I” in it! Finally, I believe recognition of effort is an important part of leading.

During WAPA’s period of maximum telework, what do you think was the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a leader?

Communicating and sharing information to the greatest extent possible is important. Especially in times where an affirmative effort to communicate is required, such as in maximum telework, in order for employees to feel connected and part of the team. Job satisfaction and retention are dependent upon this.

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Last modified on March 12th, 2024