NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Sylvia White likens her job to that of an orchestra conductor.
As manager of Dominion Energy’s Eastern Region Operations Center, White coordinates with counties and moves men and machines with precision to get power restored as quickly and safely as possible. It’s a bit ironic, considering her childhood dreams.
“I really like to sing, so I thought I’d be in some kind of artsy, creative role,” she told WAVY.
Never did she imagine working in the electrical industry, but when the United States Navy brought her family to Hampton Roads in the 1990s, necessity took over.
“I needed a job,” White said with a laugh.
With a decade of experience in telecommunications, she took on the role of analyst. She dispatched calls to servicemen and helped customers troubleshoot over the phone.
Now, 16 years later, she is running the show and is the first woman to do so.
“That shows you that the world is changing and doors are opening. So I think that’s a great thing, but you do have to balance it with, you know, ‘She only got it because she is a woman,'” White told WAVY.com.
White climbed the ladder, working all but one job in the Eastern Region Operations Center. She earned the position and, Dominion said, the respect of her co-workers.
“I do feel that pressure and the pandemic has definitely revealed that we are essential workers,” she said she diffuses that pressure with ice cream — and lots of planning.
“Even when its a bluebird day, we have a plan in motion we can respond as quickly as possible,” she added.
White has found her stage, and advises all the young girls they can too.
“There’s some fear that comes along with achieving some things and getting into male-dominated roles maybe, but you can do it. Work hard and you can achieve what you want to achieve,” she said.
Sylvia manages 41 Dominion Energy employees.
She has served as chairperson of the Power Delivery Group Diversity Council and is currently a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.