What do you know about Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) CEO Geisha Williams? Other than the fact that she is the Chief Executive Officer for the company, many people can’t tell you much of anything else about her. If you want to learn more about her, both on a professional and personal level, check out these 10 things about her that make her unique.
1. She is originally from Cuba
She was actually born in Cuba and spent the first five years of her life there. She admits that while she didn't live there very long, she did live there just long enough to remember what it was like. She also has a strong affinity for her Cuban heritage, something that her parents have helped to preserve, giving her a chance to remember the good things about her heritage without incorporating some of the strife that she and her parents went through in the country.
2. She has been living in the United States for the majority of her life
As previously mentioned, she only lived there until she was five years of age. At that point, she and her parents moved to the United States, getting a place in Florida near Miami. From that point forward, they have never looked back and she has taken the opportunities that were put in front of her and definitely made the most of them, to say the least.
3. She understands the importance of freedom better than most
When she lived in Cuba with her parents, her father had been the victim of political imprisonment. In short, he didn't agree with the way that the country was being run and spoke out against corrupt politics. He was promptly jailed and abused for standing up against something he believed to be wrong. Although she was very young at the time, she does remember that he was abruptly taken away from his family and they weren't allowed to see him for a long time.
4. She knows how much heartache can be caused by a politically corrupt system
She is extremely passionate about political corruption and about freedom that was offered in the United States because of her own experiences and those that both of her parents have been through. As such, she understands what a politically corrupt system can do to individuals and how dangerous it is to live under such a system when you can't even speak out against it without fear of repercussions.
5. When her parents came to the U.S., they didn’t have much more than the clothes they were wearing
As soon as her father was freed, the family fled Cuba and moved to the United States. At the time, they didn't have much of anything. They came into the U.S. with no money, no place to live, and no jobs. However, they were together and they knew that whatever they did, they were free from the type of political corruption that existed in their home country. They were determined to make it work and as you can see, they succeeded.
6. Her father instilled the value of hard work in her
When they first came to the United States, she remembers her father working all kinds of odd jobs in order to support his family. It wasn't long before they had a home and were living a normal life like everyone around her, something that she had never known before then. Her father continued to work hard, providing more and more for the family as time went on.
7. She saw that when you work hard, anything is possible
Through his effort, she was able to see that when you're willing to work hard in order to achieve your goals, there is nothing that is impossible. She began to understand at a very young age that the key to success in life is indeed hard work. She saw her father prove this as he led by example and it's a lesson that she has remembered her entire life.
8. She also understands how important a good education is for future success
Eventually, her father opened a grocery store and the family became quite affluent. When she got older, they had enough money to put her through college and she quickly realized that with a good education, there were all kinds of possibilities available to her. She had a passion for working in corporations that provided services to local citizens so she eventually went to work or Florida Light & Gas upon graduation.
9. She’s been working for the company for about eleven years
A few years later, she transitioned to Pacific Light & Gas and she's now been with that company for about 11 years. She started as an employee doing the same types of tasks as virtually everyone else but it didn't take very long for people there to recognize that she was not only bright, but motivated and hard-working. This made her stand out and she progressively achieved more and more responsibility until she was eventually offered the position as CEO.
10. She is the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company who is Latina
You might say that things have come full circle. She went from watching her father be imprisoned for speaking out against a political system that was corrupt to becoming the very first CEO of any American company who is Latina. You can bet that she isn't done yet. In fact, according to her, she's just getting started.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker