Power Women 2021: Sandra Byrd
Vice President of Public Affairs & Member Services
Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC)
What’s your secret to success?
From my perspective, there’s no secret bullet to succeeding in any industry; it’s all about dedication, long hours and hard work. It also helps to have a mentor such as your boss or a tenured colleague to teach you how to avoid pitfalls while also learning how to propel your career in a positive direction.
What attracted you to your career?
I was always drawn to the law, particularly public policy, beginning in college and continuing through law school. I was particularly focused on helping and protecting our low-income families, since Arkansas — a state that I love — has one of the lowest per-capita household incomes in the nation. That goal led me to a path of advocacy and working to implement fair and honest regulatory policies and legislation. Throughout the 36 years that I have worked in the energy industry — from natural gas, to utility regulation, to the electric industry — my focus has never changed.
What advice would you give to a young
woman starting her career?
The first thing that any woman should start with is passion. What do you love more than anything? What do you want to fix, change or stop from an advocacy standpoint? How would you want your community or our world to be a better place? The things that drive you or make you happy are the keys to the career that you will love and will be your contribution to make something better.
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud?
Honestly, as a mother of a 24-year-old son, I am most proud of his accomplishments and his career direction. I love my career field, but being a mother is the most wonderful part of my life.