Celebrate Successful Women

by Richard Dayoub
Originally posted on the El Paso Times Newspaper on May 20, 2017


As our region continues to experience economic opportunity, so, too grows the diversity in our workforce. Increasingly, we have begun to see more women in positions of leadership.

Many of our local companies are diligent in their efforts to encourage diversity and equality within their organizations. It is to our benefit as a city that we encourage diversity, including diversity of thought in our workforce. In fact, it is our collective responsibility to nurture it.

The Greater El Paso Chamber hosts its annual Women in Business Conference precisely for these reasons. The highlight of the event is the Power Circle when participants are given the opportunity to engage with the most prominent women leaders in our region.

Not coincidentally and somewhat ironically, Mary Kipp was one of the most popular panelists.

In this light, it is disheartening to see local leadership, in a city that has attempted to encourage growth and economic development, raise the issue of compensation for our female business executives, in particular Mary Kipp, CEO of El Paso Electric Company.

It seems we have no problems with women in elected office or public service. Is there a double standard for strong, successful women in business?

Kipp is the first woman to head the company, and has exemplified visionary management over her tenure. She is hiring more of our regional talent. Something that more company executives should be striving to accomplish. Focusing on Kipp is unfair and unwarranted.

It is extremely concerning for many in the business community to see her compensation being debated in the media, when compensation was never an issue in last year’s rate case with the prior El Paso Electric CEO, Tom Shockley – and to do so without mentioning other CEOs and executives in the region, who are mostly men, is inappropriate.

What’s worse is that there is no mention that Kipp’s compensation ranks at the bottom when compared to other electric utilities.

However you feel about rate cases or the company, a CEO’s salary is not what causes a rate increase. If we want our community to hire and retain the very best, we should be competitive.

Our community praises women leadership across many other fields, including local government, education and health care, and rightly so.