By Tony Khing
When John Simon has dinner at home with his two college-aged daughters and his wife, the conversation focuses on deeper matters than what’s happening over the weekend.
“Izzy and Mia talk about issues like fair pay, unconscious bias, gender equality and their participation in important issues,” said PG&E’s executive vice president. “Their generation participates in a way that inspires me to get involved. They’re the can-dos, not the can’t-dos.”
And if that’s not enough inspiration, Simon just has to look at his wife Carol. “She’s juggled her career with motherhood and elder care in a way that shows grace and love,” he said. “Carol is always participating and I bring these lessons with me.”
Those influencing forces at home, as well as being executive sponsor of PG&E’s Women’s Network Employee Resource Group since 2010, have allowed Simon to spearhead many company-wide initiatives aimed at positively impacting women and families in the workplace. As a result, Simon was one of six recipients—including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee—of the 2017 “Guys Who Get It Award” from the Institute for Women’s Leadership.
The “Guys Who Get It” Award celebrates C-level male leaders of Fortune 500 companies who’ve demonstrated a commitment to gender equality within their enterprises. Simon received the honor on Jan. 26 in San Francisco from the founder of digital and integrated marketing firm AP42, Imelda Alejandrino, also a PG&E supplier.
Simon, who said he accepted the award on behalf of the company’s 23,000 employees, has worked closely with PG&E’s Women’s Network leadership to improve working conditions for women and families.
Thanks to his support, PG&E improved its parental leave process (now includes personal coaches who guide employees through the procedures) and paid parental leave (competitive maternity and paternity compensation which were benchmarked with other utility and Bay Area companies).
In addition, PG&E implemented more than 50 Mother’s Rooms (complete with hospital-grade pumps, refrigerators and ergonomic furniture) in offices throughout the company’s service territory. PG&E’s efforts were recognized by the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition with a bronze award and gold in the lactation accommodation category.
The “Guys Who Get It” award recognizes Simon’s deep passion for life’s concerns. And as long as he’s in a position to make a difference, he’ll be a can-doer.
“In some ways, my job is easy because my company honors encouragement and participation in really important issues — issues that mean a lot today,” said Simon.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.