Kirsten B. Williams, Esq.
Chief Communications & Stakeholders Engagement Officer and Executive Vice-President (EVP)
For over 20 years, Kirsten Williams has enjoyed a successful career helping companies communicate openly and proactively with customers, employees and other stakeholders. Recognized for her innovative approaches to public engagement, Kirsten has a proven track record of building and aligning impactful communications and advocacy programs that help transform communities, cultivate long-term partnerships and enhance brand loyalty.
Kirsten’s passion for engaging customers and key constituencies began during her tenure at Duke Energy where she provided strategic external and internal communications support to the Customer Service, Sales and Marketing division and McGuire Nuclear Station. In this stead, Kirsten developed and implemented customer communications strategies concerning the company’s energy efficiency and reliability initiatives, rate communications and low-income customer assistance programs. Kirsten not only served as the utility’s spokesperson for storm preparedness and restoration events, but she also obtained critical crisis management experience coordinating community outreach events and spearheading emergency planning concerning McGuire Nuclear Station.
In 2007, Kirsten departed Duke Energy to attend Howard University School of Law with a focus on environmental policy and utility regulation. Even as a law student, Kirsten’s focus on customer engagement within the utility industry remained steadfast. In 2010, Kirsten was selected as the only student to present her research on the benefits of coalition building in siting nuclear power plants at the national Environmental Justice Conference. After obtaining her Juris Doctorate, Kirsten served as an Attorney Advisor at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission where she provided counsel on matters related to market-based rates and regional stakeholder processes.
Looking to combine her educational and professional endeavors in public relations, public administration and law, Kirsten resumed her career in external affairs as the Senior Public Affairs Manager at Pepco. In this role, Kirsten addressed policy and legislative matters in the District, as well as stakeholder relations with government entities, community leaders, business organizations and non-profit groups. During her tenure, Kirsten instituted a more comprehensive approach and action plan for stakeholder engagement in the District on matters such as smart grid implementation; the deployment of Advanced Metering Infrastructure; substation design and the reliability enhancement plan. This approach resulted in improved transparency of projects for customers, resource allocation to enhance customer awareness and delivery of final projects on schedule.
Kirsten’s ability to collaborate and build alignment with customers and key constituencies at Pepco also resulted in local support for critical projects such as the redesign of the Northwest Substation and the Benning Power Plant Environmental Consent Decree and Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study. Her community engagement and advocacy efforts also helped shape comprehensive renewable energy legislation and cultivated new relationships with environmental organizations and solar companies. Most notably, Kirsten’s leadership and community engagement on the Benning Environmental Study and Demolition project gained national awareness as an example of how to effectively engage the community on utility construction projects by environmental justice advocates and the Environmental Protection Agency.
In 2015, Kirsten became the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington. Her responsibilities included executing the development and implementation of the association’s communications, regulatory and legislative campaigns, including the development of fact sheets, testimony, white papers and collateral materials. While serving as the chief lobbyist and media spokesperson for matters in the District, Kirsten led the organization’s engagement strategy on environment and sustainability matters; economic development and taxes; housing and commercial real estate and utility regulation. Kirsten’s strategic partnerships with issue-based coalitions, philanthropic organizations and affiliated business groups culminated in Kirsten securing landmark legislation, mitigating reputation risks for the association and ultimately positioning the organization as a corporate responsibility leader.
Most recently, Kirsten serves as the Deputy Executive Director of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia. In this role, she executes strategic planning and coordination of the Commission’s programs and projects, including providing executive speech writing support, public relations counsel and assistance in crafting and executing comprehensive communications strategies on challenging issues. She is responsible for overseeing a variety of management and administrative areas including contracts and procurement, information technology, facility management, emergency preparedness and administrative programs and projects under the Office of the Commission Secretary.
Kirsten’s preparations for her communications and advocacy career began at Appalachian State University (ASU) where she obtained two Bachelors of Science degrees in Public Relations and Public Communications. In addition to her Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law, Kirsten also holds a Master of Public Administration from Appalachian State University.
In her spare time, Kirsten mentors at-risk youth and is an active member in several professional associations. Kirsten also continues to give back to her alma maters. Kirsten has served as a member of the ASU Board of Visitors and on Appalachian’s Department of Communication Professional Advisory Board. She’s been featured on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Now and in Appalachian Today.