‘A seat at the table:’ Jody Truswell named chair of the ISO New England Planning Advisory Committee
When Johanna “Jody” Truswell became the first woman and first non-engineer to be named chair of the ISO-led Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) this fall, neither distinction gave her pause.
“I feel like I always have a seat at the table, and that’s why the ISO is such a great place to work,” Jody said. “I don’t feel like a first.”
Before she came to the ISO, Jody had a successful career in high-end hospitality and was working at a luxury resort on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Originally from Western Massachusetts, she had just moved back to the area and thought her background and education (Jody holds master’s degrees in business administration and marketing from the Isenberg School of Management) might transfer well to managing projects in Transmission Strategy & Services (now Transmission Services) at the ISO.
She was right. The excellent customer relations skills honed from years of work with celebrity and VIP guests did indeed prepare her well for managing relationships with interconnection customers, specifically in dealing with highly confidential and sensitive information. Jody came on board as a consultant in 2015, at first managing seven small solar projects. In 2016, she gladly accepted an offer to become an ISO employee.
Since then, Jody has gained considerable expertise and an impressive network in the region, having worked on hundreds of projects, including traditional generation and renewable resources. She’s completed many interconnection agreements and seen more than a dozen projects through from entering into the interconnection queue to commercial operation. Today, she’s responsible for more than 40 interconnection projects, including all of the offshore wind in the queue.
It was her ISO work combined with her unique hospitality background that led to the PAC opportunity; the committee felt Jody would bring the fresh perspective they were looking for.
Jody is settling into her new role, and so far has chaired two PAC meetings, which are open to the public and held monthly. It’ll take time for her to develop her own “flow” in planning and running the meetings, she said, but her attitude toward relationship management and customer service will stay the same.
“People want to feel like they matter, and that you’re paying attention; trust and responsiveness are key,” she said. “Learning how to pronounce a difficult name, or using the correct pronouns for an individual, for example, is important. And it makes a difference in how people view the ISO.”
Learn more about the Planning Advisory Committee and its important role in providing input and feedback to ISO New England on the regional system planning process.