Anne Pramaggiore left a theater career years ago, but she never left the stage.
Every day she incorporates elements of the world of drama into her job as president and CEO of ComEd, the largest electric company in Illinois.
“With theater, you get comfortable with speaking with people, whether it’s one-on-one or in a group. In acting, it’s about bringing yourself out. It’s not just presenting a different character. It’s about where you and the character connect,” she says. “You can’t fake connecting with people.”
Pramaggiore logs around three speaking events each week. She talks to top executives about designing “the energy system of the future” and to consumers about how the smart grid works. She speaks about vision to employees, leadership to women and energy conservation to kids.
Earlier this week, Pramaggiore took the microphone to congratulate Energy Force Ambassadors at Misericordia, a residential community for people with disabilities (full disclosure, my husband works in the business office).
The ambassadorship program involves nearly two dozen organizations that work with people with disabilities and training individuals within those groups to learn about and share information about energy efficiency. Along with being informative, it gets ComEd out into the community.
Pramaggiore was introduced to the 200 guests by ambassador Jessica Franz, who shared that the two women text now and again. Seated at Pramaggiore’s table was Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th), who’s at the center of discussions about a possible utility tax.
At the podium, Pramaggiore speaks with ease. Her voice projects. She remembers names and points of reference. She looks guests in the eye and smiles.
They’re skills she carries inside companies too, Pramaggiore says. “Communication is a huge part of leadership. People want to understand where you want to take them and what the vision is. And they want to connect to that.”
Pramaggiore grew up in Ohio and earned a degree in communications and theater from Miami University at Oxford, Ohio. Her focus was makeup and costume design, but she picked up plenty on how to work the stage.
Along with helping her communicate complex issues, she has a thick skin for criticism.
Pramaggiore worked for a time as a retail buyer for department stores before earning a law degree from DePaul University School of Law.
She went on to work for ComEd as an attorney with an expertise in deregulation. She was named senior vice president of the utility company in 2006 and president and CEO in 2012.
When she’s not working, Pramaggiore, who is married and has a college-age son, enjoys riding. Her horse, Kiwi, is a mix between a draft horse and thoroughbred. Draft horses are work horses with low-key temperaments and thoroughbreds are athletic.
For J.B. Pritzker, kids trump politics
J.B. Pritzker’s philanthropic foundation has awarded a $5 million grant to the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a child-advocacy group headed by Diana Rauner, the wife of Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Pritzker is a high-profile Chicago businessman and Democrat. Bruce Rauner is the state’s leading Republican. You could say Rauner’s wife is Switzerland as she’s a reported Democrat who’s worked with Pritzker for years on early-childhood issues.
The grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative will go toward increasing access to “high-quality early experiences for low-income children and parents across the country,” the Chicago-based group said in a release. “The investment will directly support the Ounce mission to give every young child, especially those born into poverty, the strongest possible start in life.”
The Pritzker Children’s Initiative works under the umbrella of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, which has long championed early-childhood education.
“Quality early learning from birth sets children on the path to success in school and in life. And when they succeed, we all succeed,” J.B. Pritzker said in a release announcing the grant.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund is part of a group of nonprofit social-service providers suing Rauner’s administration for payment of some $130 million — money tied up in Rauner’s budget fight with Democratic legislative leaders.
Read more at shiakapos.com.