Lead with Light: Meet Deborah Lenny


Lead with Light: Meet Deborah Lenny

Meet Deborah (Deb) Lenny, Co-Chair of CWEEL

Deb is a trailblazer in the energy sector and Co-Chair for the Council on Women in Environmental and Energy Leadership (CWEEL). With a career spanning over three decades, Deb's journey from an engineer to a leader in sustainable solutions is nothing short of inspiring. Read her story below to learn how she chooses to lead with light.

Deb Lenny at the AEE World 2023 World Conference Legends in Energy Gala event at Universal's Harry Potter World.
Deb Lenny at the AEE World 2023 World Conference Legends in Energy Gala event at Universal's Harry Potter World.

What is your current role? Where did you start at your company, and how has your role evolved over time?

I began my career as an engineer in 1990 with Public Service Electric & Gas Company and was an integral part of the deregulated energy market.  Since that time, I have held many key leadership positions in energy with companies including Public Service Enterprise Group, Hess Corporation, Direct Energy and NRG Business.  In my current role as Director of Program Management & Consulting Services with Utility Advantage LLC., I bring over three decades of energy expertise and innovative sustainable solutions for clients.

What’s something you do that you’re proud of?

I am proud and passionate about the work that I’ve done with CWEEL over the past 10 years.  My role with CWEEL started as a new board position called the Chapter Liaison (CL) Committee Chair. I founded a 40-member Chapter Liaison Committee spanning AEE Chapters across the United States and Canada. I dedicated my time and expertise over 2 terms as the CL Chair to inspire women to volunteer, support, and create a community within their local AEE Chapters. Due to the success and rapid growth of the CL Committee I collaborated with Laurie Wiegand-Jackson and Cara Olmstead to innovate & create the strategic growth and future direction of CWEEL. We re-wrote our MOU and created the structure as it exists today with CWEEL Leads, Liaisons and Groups within each local AEE Chapter. In addition, we expanded our Governing Council to 11 Chairs (each with their own committee) to support this new structure. The growth was amazing!  CWEEL Leads are now an integral part of the board on local AEE Chapters. CWEEL Liaisons facilitate all communication between their local Chapters and all things CWEEL including scholarships, career development programing and events. Ultimately the CWEEL Lead and Liaison work together to form their local CWEEL Group within their AEE Chapter. This structure has increased AEE / CWEEL membership and created diversity of thought across its members. Today we have many CWEEL Leads, Liaisons and Groups across the US and International AEE Chapters with some of our more senior Groups in NYC, Columbia River and New England and more recently launched Groups in Rocky Mountain and New Jersey.

What is your role on the CWEEL Governing Council?

In 2023 I became Co-Chair of the CWEEL Governing Council.  It has been an honor and privilege to collaborate and co-lead this 11-member Governing Council. These ladies rock! During my first year as Co-Chair, Laurie Wiegand-Jackson, Cara Olmstead and I created an AEE / CWEEL integration taskforce to identify ways for CWEEL and AEE to streamline processes and eliminate the duplication of efforts to better align and work with AEE staff. This integration taskforce came about for two reasons:  first because of CWEEL’s unique structure, as we are the only AEE division with a Governing Council and committees. Second, due to the rapid momentum and growth of CWEEL at the local AEE Chapter level. The integration task force subcommittee included me, Laurie, Cara Olmstead, Laurie Beth Nix, Bill Kent and Eric Oliver. The taskforce identified over 11 integration items including scholarships, programming, awards, travel fund, and marketing to name a few. A special thanks to both Bill Kent & Eric Oliver for their time and dedication to be our champions and obtaining the approval of the AEE executive leadership team.  My role as Co-Chair in 2024 (and most likely into 2025) I will work with Cara Olmstead to execute on the actual integration of CWEEL with AEE processes & procedures. During the first 6 months of 2024 the Governing Council has been not only chairing their committees but also getting to know the amazing AEE staff and begin to develop and integrate our processes. A special thanks to Cheyenne Kimbrell for all her hard work and dedication as our CWEEL Liaison through this integration process – Thanks Cheyenne!!

How do you hope to inspire other women in the energy and environmental industry?

By the end of my term as CWEEL Co-Chair my goal is to encourage women to volunteer their time to inspire others.  What I’ve experienced by being a part of the AEE and CWEEL community is that volunteering isn't just about giving your time; it’s about enriching your life and the lives of others.  I’ve also realized that we shouldn’t expect to be served in life, but rather to serve others and that is how you gain true fulfillment.  The CWEEL community, who now have become my life-long friends, has brought me a profound sense of accomplishment while at the same time creating a positive difference for women in energy.  I’m committed to leaving the energy industry for women in a much better place than I entered it 30 plus years ago.

To encourage, lead, and support are the pillars of CWEEL and the Governing Council lives these every day!  Encourage women to elevate each other by volunteering within their local AEE Chapters.  Volunteering and participating in their local AEE Chapter provides visibility and ultimately enhances their opportunity to obtain leadership positions within AEE.  Supporting women in the energy and sustainability sector is vital and we at CWEEL can help with career advancement training, scholarships, mentoring programs and much more!

Connect with Deb on LinkedIn!

Deb's dedication to both her professional role and her volunteer work with CWEEL exemplifies the spirit of leadership and community. Her story is a testament to the impact one can make in the environmental and energy sectors.


The Council on Women in Environmental and Energy Leadership (CWEEL) serves as a platform for professional women to grow, learn, and connect. With committees focused on encouraging, leading, and supporting, CWEEL is committed to fostering opportunities for women in the industry. You too can join CWEEL by adding division membership to your existing (or new) AEE membership. You can also deepen your commitment to our mission by forming a CWEEL group within your local AEE Chapter or by joining one of our Governing Council committees. To submit interest in joining a committee or starting a group, please email [email protected].