By Senior Director of Communications Paul Thies
Earlier this week, Stream Energy had the pleasure to announce that we were recently designated a finalist for two Platts Global Energy Awards. One of the award nominations went to Stream Energy’s chief risk officer, Lisa Holliday. Lisa was named a finalist for the Rising Star – Individual Award. This award, according to Platts, is “for leaders who personify innovation, stimulate intelligent action to meet opportunity and execute with passion to deliver the vision.”
Though Lisa is not one to grab the spotlight, we felt that in recognition of this honor we would share with you the impact she has had on Stream Energy and the greater community.
Until her recent position change to overtake the newly formed Risk Management team, Lisa served as Stream Energy’s chief financial officer. In that role, Lisa has had a proven track record as a visionary executive with a broad range of professional experience. Besides a wealth of accounting and finance experience, Lisa’s resume also includes extensive risk management and energy experience, most notably energy trading floor experience (buying and selling energy), which has set her apart from other CFOs and has proven to be a huge asset for Stream Energy as it has rapidly grown in six years’ time from a start-up entity to a multi-billion dollar revenue generator.
A major achievement under Lisa’s leadership is the implementation of a vigorous process of institutionalizing compliance controls within the firm and conducting ongoing internal audits with one of the Big 4 CPA audit firms. Even though Stream Energy is a privately held company, Lisa wants our firm to be Sarbanes-Oxley compliant and thus demonstrate a high level of integrity in our reporting of financial information. Lisa initiated this charge by having her own department be the first to undergo the implementation of rigorous reporting controls; this provided the benefit of financial transparency for our company and also ensured robust controls and protection of sensitive customer data. She continues to lead the way to ensure our firm has a high level of integrity and trust in our budgeting and reporting functions.
WOMAN OF POWER
Lisa is a committed supporter of a woman’s right to growth and development as a leader and professional. One tangible example of Lisa’s commitment is through the creation, development and expansion of a series of “Women of Power” events.
Stream Energy uses a network marketing channel called Ignite which compensates independent sales agents for marketing the firm’s electricity and natural gas services to their families and friends. Lisa noticed that while the demographic make-up of the firm’s agent force included a sizable contingent of female Associates, they were not as pervasive among the firm’s elite sale ranks. Lisa set about correcting that by personally starting the “Women of Power” program to inspire and elevate the female sales agents (as well as female Stream Energy employees).
The “Women of Power” program is a series of luncheons and motivational seminars that are hosted by Lisa and Susan Fisher (one of the firm’s top female sales agents), and are focused on creating greater involvement and personal confidence among attendees. Held in locations such as Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Philadelphia, these seminars engage attendees in issues that are particular to women’s needs and also help hone leadership skills. Seminar topics include empowerment, building yourself up, handling things on your own, and not waiting for others to do things for you.
Lisa stated that she wanted a forum to help women find ways to balance their independent sales business with the pressures attendant with the busy lifestyles of wives, mothers and full-time business professionals. The response to “Women of Power” has been very strong, and each seminar, though treated as an exclusive affair, is nonetheless regularly attended by 100 or so women.
FRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS
Lisa is a generous member of her community as demonstrated by her involvement in the “Friends for Christmas” charitable endeavor in Houston. Started some years ago, the “Friends for Christmas” program is conducted by Lisa and several of her friends and peers, and funded by their own personal donations.
Through this program, Lisa and her co-sponsors “adopt” between 400 and 600 disadvantaged children and their families through a variety of community centers around Houston. Each Christmas Eve, Lisa and her peers purchase toys and a complete Christmas meal for each participating family.
After determining the ages and make up of all the participating families, Lisa and her friends work with a local Walmart to secure toys and meal items. They close the store down in the middle of the night so that, as a group of approximately 40 people with 5-6 shopping carts each, they may purchase the items necessary to make Christmas a memorable occasion for their beneficiaries. Lisa and her co-benefactors then individually wrap each toy given to the 400 to 600 participating children. On Christmas Eve, each participating family is invited to a community location, such as a school gymnasium, where the benefactors distribute the toys and Christmas meals.
Lisa is well regarded as an executive with a broad view of business. She is not merely a numbers person, but rather she takes a holistic view of business and leads accordingly. Her peers highly esteem her for her solid balance between being a strategic thinker (identifying the highest priorities for the company) and her know-how for executing those strategies across multiple disciplines, coupled with an in-depth knowledge of the numbers involved in the financing and accounting.
Lisa is also admired for her personal interactions and communications abilities. It has been said by others about her that she demonstrates a deep personal obligation to ensure the company is financially vibrant and healthy for the long term, in order to provide for the employees and sales agents who are dependent upon the firm for their livelihoods. She is also consistently praised for her calming influence. She is level-headed and fair in all her dealings with employees, has a great team focus, and empowers and trusts her subordinates to make smart decisions.
A persuasive communicator who can explain complex issues in simple ways so that any audience can understand them, Lisa wins high marks as a mentor who helps people grow in their careers. She’s also very good at keeping teams focused on the task at hand, while allowing for levity when necessary to keep the mood positive and forward moving.
A multi-faceted and engaged professional with a comprehensive mindset and who works well with all levels of staff, Lisa Holliday epitomizes what it means to be a leader, regardless of gender.