Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council


DEI Opens Doors to Opportunity & Drives Performance

Jun 21, 2023

By Gil Quiniones, CEO, ComEd and Board Member, Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC)

When I met with ComEd in 2021 during its search for a new CEO, we talked about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and it was clear that the company placed a high priority on these values – as I always have. I am proud to be the first Asian American to lead ComEd, but more importantly, I would like to think that my becoming CEO is a reminder of all that’s possible in this great country. I have always had faith that hard work would bring opportunity, and I have my parents, family, teachers and employers who were willing to give me a chance to thank for that.

I was born in Ames, Iowa, while my parents were pursuing their graduate degrees at Iowa State University. My parents realized their dreams of becoming professors and researchers at the University of the Philippines in the field of agriculture. They instilled in me the importance of education, and I earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from De La Salle University in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

Soon after graduating, I moved to New York City. I instantly loved the vibrancy of New York, and I recognized how the city’s cultural diversity is the source of that vibrancy. I had a passion for energy, which led to my first job, with Con Edison, and after that, I worked in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration. I then joined the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the largest state-owned utility in the United States, where I was the first person of color to serve on NYPA’s executive team. When I became CEO at NYPA, we prioritized diversity among the executive team to better reflect the region, and by the time I left for Chicago to join ComEd the NYPA executive team had become about 50 percent diverse.

At ComEd, we are committed to being a leader in DEI. In 2022, ComEd’s senior executive team was composed of 50 percent women and 50 percent people of color, while our board of directors was 83 percent diverse. In fact, Chicago United ranked ComEd #1 in Chicago in 2022 for diversity of its senior executive team and its board of directors. And our workforce as a whole was 51 percent diverse.

We are removing barriers to advancement; developing diverse leaders; preparing our teams to support diversity of thought; holding employees accountable to our DEI goals; and ensuring that diverse talent is equitably and fairly evaluated. We created the Allies in Action program to ensure success and sustainability of our DEI practices, creating forums and training for employees that address critical DEI

topics and it is contributing to diverse leadership across several measures — gender, ethnic, diversity of experience, and background.

Creating opportunities for diversity-certified suppliers is a further extension of this commitment to DEI. Last year, ComEd spent $963 million, or 43 percent of our total supply chain spend, with businesses owned by women, people of color and veterans, bringing our total diverse spend since 2012 to $7.4 billion. Recognizing the vital role that diversity-certified suppliers play in meeting the needs of our customers and making their communities stronger, we aim to increase our diverse spend to 45 percent of our total supply chain spend by 2028, which aligns with metrics adopted by the Illinois Commerce Commission. ComEd’s partnerships with 650 diversity-certified suppliers is also a key component to our proposed multi-year plans, which outline grid investments and the funding required to support our state’s efforts to bring at least 40 percent of benefits of the clean energy transition to equity investment-eligible communities.

I know that my fellow Board members of the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council share a strong commitment to DEI and to creating opportunities for businesses to demonstrate the value they bring to the work utilities do every day. From 2017 to 2020, Illinois utility companies’ diverse supplier spend contributed $11.8 billion to the Illinois GDP from 2017-2020, with $4 billion in purchases from Illinois-based diverse businesses. IUBDC is currently conducting a new study and we look forward to announcing later this year the growing contribution that diversity-certified suppliers are making to help Illinois utility companies meet the evolving needs of customers and drive economic development throughout Illinois.

At ComEd, we are immensely proud of the progress we have achieved on DEI. I believe we are the leaders of our industry, with a set of DEI accomplishments that compare favorably to any company in the state. And yet we embrace the challenge of continuously improving our DEI record, because we fully intend to remain leaders in this space well into the future.