Through our new #BeThatGirl initiative, women professionals at SDG&E are volunteering as role models and mentors for young girls in our communities, encouraging them to pursue studies and careers in engineering, meteorology, environmental science, computer science, biology and biotech, and many other STEM fields (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.) Our role models remember when not too long ago they were the only girl in their science or engineering classes. Today, they are dedicated to overcoming the severe underrepresentation of women in STEM careers. They are connecting directly with young girls to let them know that they, too, can have a great STEM career. They, too, can BeThatGirl!
For girls and young women, making the decision to pursue a career in engineering can be daunting because the field is predominantly male.
Tashonda Taylor, our director of planning, design, construction and vegetation management, did not let that stop her. Excelling in math and science throughout middle and high school, she knew from a young age she wanted to do something technical. In 11th grade, she went to an engineering camp led by the National Society for Black Engineers, and it was here that she was exposed to electrical engineering.
A year later she started at California State University Sacramento – a six-hour drive from her hometown of Los Angeles – to pursue an electrical engineering degree. Later she will go on to earn a Master of Business Administration from National University.
While her job keeps her busy, Tashonda takes time to volunteer as a STEMinist – an advocate for increasing the number of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She recently hosted the “Girls take Flight Program,” where 10 girls from the Elementary Institute of Science, where Tashonda is a board member, visited our company’s drone training flight center to learn about the capabilities of unmanned aerial systems and how they can help with electrical infrastructure assessments.
Internship to Career
As a junior in college, Tashonda was set on working for a large telecommunications company, such as Nokia or Verizon. Her mindset changed when she saw a poster for an engineering internship at SDG&E. A few months later, she began her internship as a power engineer, learning from senior engineers, real world assignments and educational tours.
Interning with SDG&E changed her career path, inspiring her to pursue a career as an electrical engineer with an emphasis in power. Within a month of returning to school after her internship, Tashonda received a job offer from SDG&E to begin upon graduation.
Taking on Leadership Roles
Over the past two decades at SDG&E, Tashonda has held numerous roles with increasing levels of responsibility.
Starting as associate engineer in 2000, she worked in different departments such as System Protection, Metro Construction & Operations, Procurement and Electric Distribution operations. With multiple years of experience as an engineer under her belt, she wanted to venture into other parts of the business. For the next three years she stepped out of her comfort zone and became a field safety advisor.
Over the years, Tashonda would move on to work in various Project Manager roles, Area Resource & Scheduling Operations Manager and most recently spent four years of exemplary work in the Safety Department as the Director of Safety, Wellness & Employee Care Services. Tashonda was recently moved to her current position of director of planning, design, construction and vegetation management.
Encouraging Women to Assert Themselves
As a female engineer, Tashonda has been surrounded by men her entire life— whether in the college classroom or workplace—an experience that taught her to be assertive and confident in her decision-making and to go against cultural norms about women engineers.
Tashonda wants to inspire young girls that anything is possible, that they don’t have to limit themselves and that an education is key to their future.