Calculated, reasonable risks will help you gain experience, perspective, and relationships.
That advice is from Teresa Mogensen who was named Marquette College of Engineering Distinguished 2018 Alumna of the Year on April 27.
Risk taking is something that Mogensen advises everyone occasionally do throughout their careers. “Calculated, reasonable risks will help you gain experience, perspective and relationships that will open up doors that you didn’t know were there,” she says. “It’s uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but you have to learn to get comfortable with it, and you’ll be more confident each time.
Mogensen continues, “Not all the experiences will work out, but that’s OK. Just move on and continue to build your path.”
Teresa Mogensen career milestones
Beginning her career as an intern at Wisconsin Electric (now We Energies) through Marquette’s engineering co-op program, she alternated semesters of work and school, getting to experience a variety of roles. That experience sold her on the utility industry. “It offered me lots of opportunities to use my technical skills, interact with people, and gave me meaningful work in providing a vital service to society,” Mogensen says.
After a few years at WE, an opportunity arose for Teresa Mogensen to participate in the formation of the American Transmission Company (ATC,) a multi-state transmission-only utility. She spent seven years at ATC, progressing professionally and getting experience that broadened her skill sets.
In 2007 she was recruited to Xcel Energy as Director of Transmission Business Relations and Asset Management.
In that transformation, she took another risk by uprooting her family from their home in Wisconsin to move to Minneapolis for her new position. The gamble paid off, and at Xcel Energy, she rose quickly to her current position of senior vice president as her family thrived in the community.
“I’d love to see Xcel Energy continue to be a successful business, a successful community partner and a successful leader in advancing the clean energy future,”
On being a female engineer
Being a woman in what’s traditionally been a male-dominated field hasn’t been a deterrent for Mogensen. In engineering school, she learned to hold her own among her male classmates and command respect and brought that mindset into her professional life. “I haven’t found gender to be a significant block in the technical areas where I’ve worked because for the most part you’re judged on is merit: how much you know, what you bring, how you behave. Each generation of women that comes through the workplace makes an impact and creates a path for the next generation. I’m a part of that chain and proud to contribute to an environment where gender or other inherent differences don’t become the focus at work.”
On finding balance
Teresa Mogensen is most proud of achieving a balanced life. “I have a great family, a good job, a solid history of contributing and a good reputation,” she says. “I feel like I’ve made a positive contribution to a lot of people’s lives. I wouldn’t trade any of those things. That’s what I’d consider to be ‘balance.’”
As Mogensen prepares to relinquish her hockey-mom status at home (it’s her youngest son’s last year playing in college), she reflects on how she’s often asked by other women if it’s truly possible to “have it all.”
On having it all
“I think you can have it all,” she says. “You just may not get to have it all at the same time. Sometimes work demands more, sometimes family demands more. It’s going to change as you go through different stages in your life, but you put the focus where it’s needed at the time.”
On Xcel Energy’s future
Mogensen returns to that concept of balance. “I’d love to see Xcel Energy continue to be a successful business, a successful community partner and a successful leader in advancing the clean energy future,” she says. “Balancing those financial, social and environmental objectives will bring us success.”
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