Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scout’s honor for lifetime of leadership

Executive Vice President Joan Shafer’s career at We Energies had a humble start. She did clerical work for the company straight out of high school.

“It was so boring, I decided not to return the following summer!” recalls Shafer. Eventually she did return, and perhaps that mundane first assignment served as motivation to achieve more.

Now, Shafer is being honored for her lifetime of leadership by the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast. It is an organization she cares deeply about. Shafer was a Girl Scout herself and later became a troop leader for her daughters’ groups. She served on the organization’s board of directors for seven years, including four as its chair.

Joan Shafer, center, accepts her award.
Shafer’s career at We Energies has followed a similar trajectory. Shafer rose through the management ranks in human resources, operations and customer service before being promoted to her current role as executive vice president – human resources and organizational effectiveness of WEC Energy Group. She credits her Girl Scout experience with helping her develop the skills she uses today.

“Girl Scouts has been instrumental in my leadership and in my daughters’ lives,” Shafer said. “It taught me how to work in a group, know myself and my strengths, connect with others, and play a role in their development through empathy, compassion and empowerment.”

On June 29, Shafer was presented with a 2017 Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast Leadership Award. She and other award recipients were honored at an event commemorating 100 years of Girl Scouting in southeastern Wisconsin.

In the community, Shafer also is an advocate for education as a trustee for Mount Mary University and a member of the Alverno College School of Business advisory board. She is the vice chair of Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE) and the secretary of Seton Catholic Schools. She was previously presented with an Athena Award for outstanding leadership, and in in 2012, she was named an Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by the United Way of Waukesha County.

Shafer’s advice to Girl Scouts looking to be leaders in their communities: “The first rule is to show up and try it, put yourself in that environment, and dismiss the phrase ‘I can’t do that.’”

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