Catherine Stempien is quickly acclimating to life in the - literal - Sunshine City. Stempien came to Florida by way of North Carolina when she took on her latest role as President of Duke Energy Florida in June 2018. Stempien is charged with leading over 3,500 employees who care for 1.8 million customers' most vital needs. Under Stempien's leadership, Duke Energy Florida is working towards building a smarter energy future for its residents.
Years in St. Pete
14 months, I’m a brand new citizen and I love it.
Organizations involved in
I’m involved in a number of statewide organizations both in economic development and in the business community. I serve on the board of the Florida Chamber, Board of EIF, Board of Governors of OEP in Orlando, Florida FCG.
What gets you out of bed every day?
The sun. I have an apartment here in downtown and it faces the bay. Every morning that sun, no matter how much dark-out shade I put up, it is very bright and it wakes me up every morning.
Why St. Pete?
The practical answer is that St. Petersburg is the headquarters for Duke Energy, Florida. We have been around for 120 years, we really started out here in St. Petersburg so this is our headquarter city. But from a personal note, I chose to live here in St. Petersburg because I love it. I love walking around downtown, I love the community here. I love all of the restaurants and stores and activity and of course, the views of the bay. I just love living in this city.
What is one habit that you keep?
A healthy habit I keep is that I work out. I try to make sure that I’m exercising a good five out of seven days. On those two days, if I’m not actually working out, I try to make sure I’m walking a lot. I try to keep very active, it keeps my head a little bit clearer and it keeps me feeling better.
Who are some people that influence you?
My main influencers are my family and my friends. From a work perspective I have a number of either mentors or people that I admire. The CEO of my company, Lynn Good, she’s the first female CEO in my company and she is just amazing. But the people that influence me are the people who keep me humble and sane and grounded, and those are my family and my friends.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
I try as much as I can to be mindful, so mindfulness. I try to remember when things get crazy and stressed out, just to take a moment and look around and remember where you are in the moment. This world and this life we’ve been given is really such a gift, and sometimes we can forget about that in the rush. But to just sit and watch and I’ll do this by going out on my balcony or by standing in my office and looking out on the water, and just try to be mindful of where I am in the moment and it helps a lot.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
How much and how quickly things are changing in my industry and how much outside influence there is in doing what we do. Whether that is, from a technology perspective to customer perceptions. And how quickly customer perceptions are changing and how much that influences the way we are serving them every day. To make sure we are delivering to them the product and the services that they want, instead of what we think they want.
We have so much to do both personally and professionally. Professionally, there’s so much going on at Duke Energy Florida, we’re in the middle of an execution period where we’re building a brighter, stronger, smarter energy future for our customers. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting involved in the community. I’m trying to get involved more. I’ve been trying to listen and learn more about what makes Florida tick and what makes St. Petersburg tick. I look forward to getting more involved as I explore and learn more of the great things about Florida.