Closed Circuit

By Teresa Waugh

In 2020, Jennifer Rodgers was selected as WAPA’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer. In this role, Rodgers is responsible for WAPA’s internal administrative operations and managing administrative programs critical to WAPA’s mission. She is also the primary liaison with the Power Marketing Administration Human Resources Shared Service Center. Closed Circuit sat down with Rodgers recently to learn more about her.

What is your most rewarding experience at WAPA thus far?
I have had so many rewarding experiences at WAPA, it’s difficult to choose one. Honestly, the wide array of rewarding experiences is why I work here. From my perspective, WAPA is a place where if you have an idea to make something better, and you are willing to take the initiative to get stakeholder buy-in and do the implementation work, you are usually supported in the effort.

To pick one example, I’ll use a recent one: the early days of WAPA’s COVID-19 response. To say we were “flying the plane while we built it” seems like an understatement. We had issues coming at us fast and very little precedent or solid information to work from. Our WAPA team came together, with laser focus, to keep staff safe, find solutions and keep the lights on for our customers. 

It was exhausting, frustrating and far from perfect, yet we learned so much and ended up with results I think we can all be proud of. A true team success.

What is something most people do not know about you?
I guess I’ll say there are two things about me that often surprise people when they find out.

First, I was born and raised in La Crescenta, California, which is a little community in the Los Angeles area. I definitely had valley girl tendencies growing up and worked very hard to remove the word “like” from my vocabulary. I think “like” and “dude” still sneak in there on occasion. 

And second, I am very introverted. After a full day of meetings and conversations, I really need quiet time to recover. Pre-COVID, this was my NPR time during my commute. Since COVID has eliminated my commute, I’ve had to adapt. Just having an hour at the end of my day to quietly get some tasks done or simply zoning in on social media for 15 minutes helps a lot.

What are your communication and leadership styles?
I work every day to use an inclusive leadership and communication style. I truly believe we are more connected in our work here at WAPA than we often realize. I seek to bring people into the fold. I appreciate what I learn from these interactions and I believe it leads to improved decisions and innovative approaches with fewer unintended consequences.

Additionally, from a purely practical perspective, every key decision requires others to support successful implementation. And those involved in the implementation need to understand “the why” behind the decision they are implementing. It is much more efficient to engage people early than to try to bring them on board after the fact. 

What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author?
For professional reading, I am currently enrolled in a Dare to Lead workshop, so I am spending a good amount of time reading Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead and exploring those concepts deeper.

It is the summer, and my son and I always read Harry Potter together in the summer. We just started Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and, for added fun, we are reading the British versions this year.

In terms of podcasts, my secret geek out podcast is Planet Money. I feel like my true calling may have been as a social economist.

Would you tell us about your coworkers at home?
My coworkers are my husband, my 10-year old son and my cat, Buddy.

My husband and I used to share an office, which lasted not even a week into the pandemic. Apparently, I am on calls and meetings way too much to share office space.

My son is a fun, energetic, creative kid who enjoys popping in on my Teams calls to give me bunny ears, dance behind me or simply place something in the background to cause people to laugh. And Buddy also likes to stop by in the afternoon for a quick visit; his tail can occasionally be seen swishing across the screen.

Note: Waugh is WAPA’s chief public affairs officer.

Rodgers, Jennifer 2020

Last modified on March 5th, 2024