Meet Georgine Berthelot, Organizational Change Leader at Entergy Services, Inc.
Learn how she loves HGTV, quotes Ferris Bueller, and considers everyone involved with a change initiative as responsible for its success.
Meet her in person September 18-19, 2018 in Palm Springs, California, where she will present a case study on how Entergy’s shared services group established template, tools, tips, and tricks on how to successfully navigate change – even if you have a small change team.
Question: Family, hometown, where you live?
I’m a native of New Orleans, LA which is where I returned after a brief relocation to The Woodlands, TX upon joining Entergy in 2011. I have 3 adult children whom I raised as a single, working mom from the time they were 1, 2 and 3 years of age. Our family has grown over the years to include 7 amazing grandchildren. We are a close knit family living only minutes away from one another. Although our family briefly scattered for a couple of years after Hurricane Katrina, we gradually migrated back to the ties that bind us. Our family loves all that New Orleans has to offer whether it’s catching a Mardi Gras parade, eating boiled crawfish, having beignets in the French Quarter or attending one of our many festivals. New Orleans is also where Entergy is headquartered.
Question: What is your utility/change management experience?
Over the past 25+ years, I’ve successfully led enterprise-wide cross-functional change initiatives in corporate, transmission, distribution, fossil, and gas operations. Types of technology changes have ranged from software implementations to cyber security (CIP). Business process changes have run the gamut from org redesigns and procedure and policy implementations to strategic organizational change management, which is my primary focus in my role today.
Question: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
I enjoy home renovations such as painting and redecorating and I’m a HGTV fan. I am also a movie buff, known for frequently throwing out random quotes in the middle of a conversation. It’s cool when others recognize the quote, especially if it is an oldie like, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” I enjoy keeping up with industry news, but I don’t get to read books nearly as much as I used to. These days I find myself gravitating more toward “bite size” information like Ted Talks, articles, pod casts, etc.
Question: Notable achievements?
A few years ago in my change management role for the business transformation office, I developed a set of standard change management tools and templates which has evolved into a shared services Center of Excellence for change management. Some of these tools will be featured in my presentation at the conference. Another achievement, not to sound corny, but I have felt a true sense of achievement at the successful conclusion of each change initiative because it is extremely rewarding to know that I was able to make a difference in someone’s work life by eliminating fear and making their life easier.
Question: Where do you see Change Management in utilities in two years?
In the next two years, change management will need to be faster-paced and more flexible. As strategies such as Agile gain more of a footprint, and the rate of change continues to accelerate, I believe we will need to rethink how we prepare stakeholders for change. We have a multi-generational workforce, all of whom have different preferences for how the receive and absorb information. This will require flexibility in how we communicate and we will need to better leverage technology, such as video snippets in emails, social media, text alerts, podcasts, providing links to Ted Talks, YouTube videos, etc. Using an Agile approach requires an MVP (minimal viable product) at the end of each “sprint”. So change management will need to be rolled out quickly and multiple times throughout the project lifecycle. Communications will most need to become more quickly and easily developed and digested.
Question: What is your biggest challenge?
To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” My biggest personal challenge is taking the time to just “be” and not “do”.
Question: What did you do prior to working in your current role?
As a consultant, I provided training, change management and communications services for Entergy for over 20 years prior to officially becoming an Entergy employee in 2011. I was the owner and operator of my own training business for 9 of those years. I began my career at Businessland, a national computer reseller. I managed the training department for the gulf states region, developed courseware and taught public classes. As is the case with many other change management professionals, I migrated from training to change management. In my case, the term change management had not yet been popularized. I referred to what I did as “holistic training” because I recognized early on that stakeholders needed an end-to-end perspective to prepare for change, and that training was just one component.
Question: Who are a couple of your role models (and why)?
My mom was my greatest role model. She handled life’s toughest challenges with grace and a wicked sense of humor that was intact even while dealing with breast cancer before passing away in 2001. I remember her always talking about “building character” and the importance of not only being strong but helping those who are weaker. She instilled in me a sense of integrity and fairness that has served as a foundation throughout my life. I’ve also had the good fortune of working for several strong women leaders in my career. Being mentored by these extraordinary people I learned the importance of always giving my best, navigating office politics, keeping confidences, finding a mentor and having short and long term goals.
Question: What is one of your biggest goals (in life or business)?
I guess my biggest goal is to make the most of my career before retiring, after which I plan to travel, spend more time with family, sleep until noon and enjoy life.
Question: What’s the biggest misconception you run into in your role (or what people seem to think about Change Management?
If the success of a particular initiative depends on people changing their behavior, then it stands to reason that everyone involved with the initiative should have a change management mindset. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a project team or an organization to assume that there is one person responsible for change management. Change management does not occur in a vacuum. It requires collaboration and integration with key stakeholders including the project team. Every team member should continually consider, “How will people be impacted by this change?” When I join a new team to lead change, I always request a kickoff meeting to provide a change management overview, at the end of which I ask, “Who is leading change on this initiative?” The right answer is, “All of us.”