Engineering Excellence Award Series: Lisa Zelkind, Diversity and Inclusion Champion

Engineering Excellence Award Series: Lisa Zelkind, Diversity and Inclusion Champion

Our engineering workforce is critical to advancing our mission to build the cleanest, safest, and most reliable energy infrastructure company in America. We recently highlighted our Engineering Excellence Luncheon, and are now spotlighting individuals who received awards at the event as part of our "Engineering Excellence" series. Our fifth feature is on Lisa Zelikind, who was recognized as the 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Champion.  

​​Lisa Zelkind never has to wonder whether her efforts in recruiting are making a difference; she is reminded daily of her success.  

Lisa, a senior staffing advisor, was recognized as the 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Champion at the Engineering Excellence Awards. She leads our Engineering Associate and Intern recruiting, and has hired more than 300 interns and associates into the college engineering program, in the last 20 years. This includes more than 70% women and people of color. 

While walking on campus, she routinely passes those she has hired from college visits. They are now leaders who have helped our company achieve our results, become successful and are shaping the future. They are officers, VPs, directors, managers, and technical experts. She hears from those she recruited years ago and months ago, letting her know that she has changed people’s lives by simply being who she is and by what she does. 

“I am passionate about recruiting and also about diversity outreach, which has allowed me to achieve the success I’ve had,” Lisa shares “I have been very involved representing SDG&E with many of our diversity organizations, forming relationships and partnerships. This has afforded me the opportunity to reach many more top-talent potential recruits for our company.” 

In the recruiting process, Lisa says she is as real as possible. She allows candidates to get to know her and assures them she represents our culture. For those interviewing for their first major job, she wants to convey that warmth and welcome — and let them know this is what it’s going to be like if you work here. She wants them to know they don’t just join a company, they join a family.  

​​​​​​ When recruiting, Lisa says the diversity is critical to the success of our company and of great help in telling her story.  

“Our company not only embraces diversity, we strive to create a workforce that reflects our community,” says Lisa. “We are such a great example when I meet women engineering students. I can go into a class to talk, and it’s 98% men. I see the few women engineers in the audience and share that there are many great opportunities for them at SDG&E, and the fact that our current CEO is a woman. This makes the few women engineering majors in the classroom sit up and take notice. They are the ones who show up at our evening information sessions.” 

Lisa says she feels she’s the luckiest person every day because of the personal gratification she gets from her job. She has the ability to make a difference in people’s lives – to change their lives every single day. 


Any advice to recruits? 

“Believe in yourself. You can do it,” says Lisa. “You have more to offer than you realize. People underestimate themselves. I think of someone I hired. They were at a company info session. They were sitting by themselves. I went over and started talking to them—getting to know them. This person ended up coming to work for us, went on to become a leader. That person has told me they will never forget that.”