Women Leaders

M. Beth Straka, WEC Energy Group

M. Beth Straka

An Engaged Workforce

Editors’ Note

Beth Straka was named to her current post in June of 2015. Previously, Straka served as Vice President of equity research in the power and utilities group at Barclays. Straka is certified in series 7, 63, 86 and 87 by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Before joining Barclays, Straka served as Vice President – Equity Research for Lehman Brothers Inc. Previously, she managed investor relations for both Allegheny Energy, Inc. and Duquesne Light Company. While with Duquesne Light, she also served as Vice President – Corporate Communications. Straka holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has a background in public accounting and is a certified public accountant.

Company Brief

WEC Energy Group, based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation’s premier energy companies, serving 4.4 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota. The company’s principal utilities are We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Michigan Gas Utilities, and Minnesota Energy Resources. The company’s other major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds, and owns electric generating plants. WEC Energy Group (wecenergygroup.com), a component of the S&P 500, has nearly $29 billion of assets, 8,500 employees, and approximately 55,000 stockholders of record.

What makes WEC Energy Group an industry leader and how do you define the strength of the company?

WEC Energy Group is considered an industry leader in a number of important categories. Our strength lies in what we deliver to our key stakeholders. First, the company provides world-class reliability and exceptional customer care. Among our Wisconsin electric and natural gas utility operations, our We Energies subsidiary ranks number one, in the Midwest as the most reliable utility and among the most reliable in the nation for eight of the past 10 years. We Energies also has ranked number two, and Wisconsin Public Service ranked number four, in the Midwest for customer satisfaction.

Simply put, our relentless focus on service and satisfaction, as well as operating efficiency and financial discipline, have delivered long-term value, providing WEC Energy Group’s shareholders with among the best total returns in the industry over the past decade.

Would you highlight your efforts to continue to build awareness and understanding for WEC Energy Group?

We are focused on building a strong brand for each of our utility operations through exceptional customer service, world-class reliability, and financial discipline. Our efforts will continue to be concentrated on keeping the customer at the heart of our business and working to help grow and support the communities we serve. Our operational performance ultimately transcends to our parent company, WEC Energy Group, through consistent earnings and dividend growth, and compelling shareholder return.

Is it important to engage the employees in your communications efforts?

To remain successful, this is extremely important. I believe we need to be thinking about employee engagement increasingly as the industry addresses the uncertainty of evolving regulatory requirements and slower demand growth in the energy marketplace. Ensuring that employees are informed and aligned with the company’s strategic direction is vital to their growth as employees and to the success of our business. After all, our employees are the frontline ambassadors in every customer interaction.

What advice do you give to young women starting their careers and do you feel the opportunities are present today for women at senior levels in business?

Opportunities exist if you prepare well, and if you are open to taking risks and making some sacrifices along the way. Careers are developed when you prepare yourself to capitalize on the opportunities. I would encourage young women today to seek a good education with a solid foundation in a discipline that can provide a platform for growth or development, such as accounting and finance or engineering. I would advise young women to take some risks in their career paths and remain passionate and committed about what they have chosen to do with their lives.