On a Thursday in April 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus shutdown, Stempien tweeted out a “Happy Administrative Professionals Day” to Natalia, her assistant at Duke Energy Florida. “She’s been working remotely and wrangling her school-age kids — two full-time jobs right now,” Stempien wrote.

The tweet, and many others on her feed complimenting Duke Energy workers for making sure the energy kept flowing during the pandemic, are emblematic of her management style at Duke, which has more than 1.8 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in its Florida service area. With a legal background — she earned a law degree from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College — Stempien was promoted to oversee Duke’s Florida operations in 2018 after working as Duke’s senior vice president of corporate development. Her responsibilities in that job included external growth strategy and mergers and acquisitions.

Before that job, she served more than 25 years in a variety of roles, including vice president for legal for Duke Energy’s commercial businesses group. She moved to St. Petersburg from North Carolina two years ago and quickly took a leadership role at a number of economic development and utility entities, including serving on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. She has also taken a liking to St. Petersburg, her new hometown, telling the St. Pete Catalyst online publication: “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.”

“You are so much more capable and powerful than you realize. Just believe in yourself.”

Rich Blaser

Infinite Energy

Clint Bullock

Orlando Utilities Commission

Darin Cook

Infinite Energy

D. Yogi Goswami

Clean Energy Research Center, USF

Lisa Johnson

Seminole Electric Cooperative

James Robo

Nextera Energy

Marlene Santos

Gulf Power

Eric Silagy

Florida Power & Light

Catherine Stempien

Duke Energy

Nancy Tower

Tampa Electric

Jacob Williams

Florida Municipal Power Agency

Amy Zubaly

Florida Municipal Electric