Celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Month with Dan Chen, Sr. Product Owner

This week marks the start of Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month. There are more than 20 million people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent in the U.S., representing a diversity of cultures and experiences. API Heritage Month provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about their history and contributions.

Today we place the spotlight on Dan Chen, our Senior Product Owner, Smart Meter 2.0 Program.

Dan Chen's journey with us is one of resilience and a passion for innovation. From her beginnings as an Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification (EM&V) Research Advisor to her current role as a Senior Product Owner in the Smart Meter 2.0 Program, Dan's career trajectory exemplifies dedication and adaptability.

“I recently transitioned to the role of a Senior Product Owner in the Smart Meter 2.0 Program and in this position my primary responsibility is to develop the team roadmap for delivering Smart Meter 2.0 Data and Analytics work. Before this, I held the position of a Senior Capability Owner in the IT Vendor Management Office, where I focused on third-party risk management and developed a framework for monitoring vendor performance.”

The Smart Meter 2.0 Program will begin replacement of gas modules and electric meters that are nearing end of life, with next generation hardware to our Smart Meter Network infrastructure. 

A Journey of Exploration and Evolution

Dan joined SDG&E in May 2020, amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Her initial role in the Customer Programs group provided her with a deep understanding of SDG&E's operations and the importance of essential services. However, driven by a desire for exploration, she transitioned to the IT department, where she discovered a newfound appreciation for the industry's dynamic nature and the innovative projects it entails.

Embracing Diversity and Leadership

Despite initial perceptions of the IT industry as male-dominated and “boring,” Dan found herself surrounded by talented women in the workplace and inspired by numerous strong women leaders within the department. Through the Lean In Employee Resource Group, she cultivated a network of mentors who emphasized the value of authenticity and networking, encouraging her to embrace new challenges with confidence.

Dan's journey is a testament to her resilience, shaped by her experiencesdan as a first-generation immigrant and the oldest sibling in her family. From overcoming language barriers to embracing independence and taking on leadership roles, Dan's determination and drive have propelled her forward in her career.

“When I think back to my childhood, arriving in the US as a wide-eyed nine-year-old immigrant, I realize how much I’ve overcome. As the oldest of three siblings, I took on the role of trailblazer — setting an example for my younger sister and brother," explained Dan.

"My parents – hardworking and determined – faced language barriers, and limited resources. They couldn’t help me with homework or drive me to track practice. But I found my way, thanks to patient teachers, encouraging coaches, and supportive friends. That early independence and resilience have stayed with me throughout my career. I’ve embraced the driver’s seat of my career, whether it’s tackling complex projects or stepping into leadership roles, I’ve grown immensely. I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and I’m excited for what lies ahead!”

As Dan continues to thrive in her role as a Senior Product Owner, she remains grateful for the support of her mentors, colleagues, and family. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé and their two dogs, as well as indulging in the addictive sport of pickleball.

Dan's story serves as an inspiration to those navigating their own career paths, demonstrating the power of resilience, exploration, and embracing one's authentic self in pursuit of professional growth and success.

Dan's journey highlights the diverse talent and dedication within SDG&E, showcasing the company's commitment to fostering innovation and empowering its employees.