United States

Geisha Williams: for leading California into a green energy future

To mark International Women's Day, Univision honors 15 incredible Latinas who are innovating in fields from sports to science.

California is leading the country in the race against climate change: the state hopes to derive 50 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030. And Cuban-born Geisha Williams is at the helm.

Last year, Williams made history by becoming the first Latina CEO to lead a Fortune 500 company, as president and CEO of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, California’s largest utility. And Williams oversaw the company as it charged past a goal it had set for 2020 to generate a third of its electricity from renewable sources.

Now Williams is focused on the transportation sector, which she has called the “single biggest opportunity to really make a meaningful impact on reducing greenhouse gases.” California will adopt plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and a new electric grid able to integrate the clean-energy technologies.

Williams, who was the first in her family to attend college, was born in Cuba to political dissidents. The family flee to the U.S. in 1967, when Williams was five.

She credits her love of math to the afternoons she spent working in her family’s New Jersey grocery store as a girl, counting money and making change.

Emma Gonzalez
For calling B.S. on the NRA
Marlen Esparza
For revolutionizing women's boxing
Germaine Franco
For bringing Mexican music to the big screen
Rita Moreno
For redefining what it means to be 86
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
For bringing marginalized farmworker's voices into the #MeToo conversation
Diana Trujillo
For getting us closer to Mars
Princess Nokia
For infusing rap with punk rock, feminism and 'Afrolatinidad'
Candi CdeBaca
For fighting gentrification in a changing Denver
Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski
For breaking barriers in the exploration of space and time
Cristina Martínez
For daring to talk about undocumented restaurant workers
Geisha Williams
For leading California into a green energy future
Elizabeth Guzman
For taking her immigrant story to the Virginia legislature
Reyna Montoya
For encouraging undocumented youth to dream and heal
Maria Hinojosa
For putting Latino stories front and center
Gabby Rivera
For being the first queer Latina to write for Marvel Comics

Coordination: Jessica Weiss, Olivia Liendo and Allie Jaynes.

Illustrations: Grace Berríos and Jackie Albano.

Web design and development: Juan Jesús Gómez.

Editorial: Nathalie Alvaray, Tamoa Calzadilla, Juliana Jiménez, Douglas Gómez and Rogerio Manzano.

Photo Editing: David Maris.

This story was produced in collaboration with Univision Contigo, Univision's social responsibility team.

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