Asset Management is For Women Too (featuring Danielle Jackson)

March 23, 2022 Judi Hess

One thing I have been noticing more and more is the number of women entering the field of Asset Investment Planning & Management (AIPM). Certainly the prevalence of women is not evident by attending an asset management conference…yet. But it occurred to me that this is a great role for women in a field where you might not expect to find many women! And I believe this is the beginning of an exciting trend and would like to highlight some of these women—and the interesting work they’re doing—to establish some role models and shine a light on this as a possible career path for young women. 

In this article, we are featuring Danielle Jackson, Manager, Financial Analysis, at Salt River Project (SRP). SRP is one of Arizona's largest utilities, delivering low-cost, reliable power and water to more than 2 million people in Central Arizona.

How did you get involved in the field of asset management?

When SRP was implementing the Copperleaf® solution a few years ago, a new department was established within Financial Services to support the asset management process. At the time, I had been working in the Financial Planning & Analysis department for six years, leading the analysis and development of SRP’s six-year financial plan. When the opportunity arose to work in a new department, I was excited to put my name in the hat for consideration.

For the first year, I was the primary lead on financial analysis, working closely with the senior analyst who had been using the Copperleaf solution since its inception at SRP. When the senior analyst was promoted to a managerial role in another department, it created an opportunity for me to step into the role and I was excited to accept the challenge. At first, I was nervous about transitioning from a fully financial focus to an asset management focus, but the last year has been thrilling. I have been able to take a deep dive into SRP’s asset management business, learning the operational side of things while still being able to leverage my financial expertise.

My team’s work has helped position SRP as a leader in asset management. We’ve been interviewed by utilities, both nationally and internationally, on our existing and planned asset management processes, and on how we use Copperleaf Portfolio™ to support those processes and strengthen corporate governance.

DANIELLE JACKSON

Manager, Financial Analysis, SRP

What are the most rewarding aspects of the work you do?

The most rewarding aspect is getting to work with different teams throughout the organization and learning about the various aspects of the business to get a more holistic view of how all the pieces fit together. I have built trust and relationships while supporting our analysts, engineers, and leaders across the company with the work I’ve done in investment analysis. It means so much to me to help improve processes and provide a better understanding of asset management and financial analysis to my peers.

Where are you (and your team) making the biggest impact?

The Financial Analysis team has spent the last two years increasing communication and collaboration across the organization, resulting in improved asset management planning and portfolio evaluation techniques. One area where we’ve made a big impact is supporting SRP’s Capital Governance Committee, a team of executive leaders from across the company. We provide them with both in-year and annual planning results of the capital portfolio to support the development of the organization’s long-term capital portfolio. The Committee analyzes the overall risk and value of the portfolio in tandem with financial guidance set by the CFO to develop a proposal for executive management to present to the Board during the annual budget cycle.

My team’s work has helped position SRP as a leader in asset management. We’ve been interviewed by utilities, both nationally and internationally, on our existing and planned asset management processes, and on how we use Copperleaf Portfolio to support those processes and strengthen corporate governance.

I strongly encourage women to seek out asset management as a career. This field allows visibility into all aspects of the business and increases your skillset and networking base.

DANIELLE JACKSON

Manager, Financial Analysis, SRP

What do you think are the biggest challenges?

One of the biggest challenges we face is managing the shift from the status quo to leading the change in sustainability, while maintaining reliability. At SRP, we’re always keeping an eye on the future and continuously analyzing our value framework to ensure our plans support the new and changing capital investments needed to remain a leader in the utility industry.

Would you recommend asset management to other women as a career?

I strongly encourage women to seek out asset management as a career. This field allows visibility into all aspects of the business and increases your skillset and networking base.

What excites you most about this field?

There is so much to learn in the asset management field, so there is never a boring day. The electric utility industry is at a turning point in regards to long-term strategy, so being on the ground floor of this new way of obtaining and managing assets is really exciting.


To learn more about other women making an impact in this emerging field, check out the rest of the articles in this series here.

About the Author

Judi Hess

Judi has been the CEO of Copperleaf since 2009. She was recently named one of Canada's Most Admired CEOs, an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Winner, and winner of the BC CEO award.

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