Jenna Campbell, CPCM
Fuel Buyer II, NYPA
Jenna Campbell is a Fuel Buyer for the Energy Resource Management team at the New York Power Authority, the team that manages the fossil fuel assets that provide NY with affordable energy. Jenna is fearlessly inquisitive, has a life-long passion for community development, and started a pilot for “responsibly-sourced gas” — a new industry gaining traction in the energy sector. We are in AWE!
Thank you for talking to us today, Jenna. Can you tell us about your current job title and responsibilities at NYPA?
My job at New York Power Authority entails the purchasing and all the logistics involved with acquiring fuel for our fossil plans. Accomplishing this work is heavily reliant on my ability to manage relationships and know state and local regulations. I also recruit and onboard the most reliable and responsible vendors in the business. Since I started at the end of 2019, I have onboarded 12 new vendors who have proven to be significant contributors to our portfolio and I have a few others in the queue. I definitely keep our legal team busy. I have also streamlined our RFP processes and started a pilot for “responsibly-sourced gas” which is a new industry gaining traction in the energy sector.
It sounds like an interesting time to be working in the energy sector!
It is a very interesting time to be in the energy sector – New York and particularly NYPA has new leadership and aggressive environmental goals. I am in a position to be a change agent and really make a difference. I am taking that seriously. I have been hitting the pavement and meeting with so many people from different areas of the energy sector and it reignites my interest week after week. I have met some truly wonderful people. It has been challenging but also very rewarding.
Did you always envision yourself working in this industry? How did you stay focused on your goal or pivot when necessary?
I grew up in NYC in a family full of civil servants – FDNY, DSNY, NYPD, DOE etc. so I always had a passion for community development. I started my career working on both capital and human service contracts for the city of New York. I eventually moved out of the city and was offered a great opportunity with the state government which not only aligned with my skill set, but it was closer to home. It has been a true blessing and I have never regretted my decision to leave the city government.
Did you have any mentors or sponsors while rising through your career? Anyone you want to shout out?
I didn’t have a mentor or sponsor until I got to NYPA. I originally started as a contract analyst and, to be honest, I was bored. I knew I had so much more to contribute so when I saw opportunities to show my strengths, I vocalized that to my director, Dennis Chang. We worked together on a succession plan and met often to discuss and hold each other accountable. As someone in power, he had the ability to help elevate me if I accomplished the milestones set forth so as I worked to accomplish my goals he worked behind the scenes to get me to where I deserved to be. It was one of the first times I saw someone lead by example and really demonstrate how a leader should lead a team.
How do you feel about the representation of women at your workplace?
Though women are underrepresented in the energy sector, you would not know that working for NYPA as both the Vice President and Senior Vice President on my team are women.
What are some of the keys to your success?
I have never been afraid to ask questions because it is important to always understand what you’re doing and why.
How has being a part of AWE changed how you show up to work every day? What was your favorite session/training?
Since taking part in AWE Accelerator, I am now seeking opportunities that I normally would not have even when I don’t meet 100% of the desired qualifications. I am now better at marketing what I can do instead of focusing on what I don’t think I’m capable of. Since Accelerator, I have asked for opportunities to sit at the table and make decisions and I’m taking much more pride in my work.
What is your superpower?
My superpower at work is my ability to find common ground with people and I am very good at that. I really enjoy getting to know the people on the other side of the deals. There’s no rule that says we cannot enjoy what we do and humanizing things makes everyone’s day better. I also have found that “knowing my audience” has made me powerful. Understanding the people I am trying to execute deals with, whether internal or external, and finding ways to make all parties feel like they are gaining something is the key to contract negotiations — as is knowing what to say or not to say.
Tell us something interesting that we can’t find listed on your resume.
A few interesting facts: I have lived in 3 countries; the U.S., Ireland, and Australia. I am a pet mom to 4 dogs and 1 cat. And I am a sports fanatic – I play softball and volleyball and there is always some sort of sport on our TV at home.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.