Leading the way

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Electric Consumer staff sat down with Mary Jo Thomas, currently the only female CEO of an Indiana electric cooperative.

Posted on Mar 15 2017 in Features

Mary Jo Thomas, CEO at Whitewater Valley REMC in east central Indiana, first heard of an accounting job opening at the cooperative when a colleague listed her as a reference. That candidate ultimately turned down the job offer, and Thomas called the REMC to apply.

“The rest is history and a blessing,” Thomas said. “We always say that was a God thing how that worked out.”

Since Thomas started working at Whitewater Valley REMC, she’s worked in nearly every department, even operations. At first, she was hesitant to transition to the CEO role after the co-op’s former CEO retired. She was worried about balancing work with family, but she’s been able to make it work, she said.

“You will hear me say that me being CEO only works because of the great group of people I work with every day,” Thomas said.

Favorite part of being CEO?

“Being able to help and see those around me grow and develop. They make me so proud. They are the best, and I couldn’t accomplish anything without all 23 of them.”

Best part of working at a cooperative?

“The family and caring environment.
The small business [atmosphere] that gives employees so much opportunity and provides an ease of doing business and making the right decisions quickly for the betterment of our communities.”

Proudest accomplishment?

“Having the opportunity to lead as a CEO and still raising two smart, successful daughters.”