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 Leaps of Faith Have Made Blaise a Leader at ComEd

An ability to seize opportunities has carried M. Michelle Blaise from mechanical engineer to leadership positions throughout her career.
“I was taught to take on opportunities when they come, especially if they’re out of your comfort zone,” says Blaise, who holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and an MBA from DePaul University.
“Because I was willing to take a leap of faith, I started at ComEd as an engineer, and have had several non-traditional engineering roles throughout my career.”
Indeed, she was able to gain her breadth and depth of experience as she worked her way up within ComEd, a unit of Chicago-IL based Exelon Corporation, holding a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities in customer operations, strategic planning, distribution operations and engineering. These include manager of construction and maintenance, strategic planning and business planning.
“I’ve always been focused on improving what I’m doing today, always moving forward,” says Blaise. “I think people noticed the results, and I was given opportunities to make changes elsewhere. Along the way I found that I also liked building teams and fixing things.”
This all led to a post as vice president of engineering and project management - with responsibilities that included helping lead a five-year, $2.6 billion smart grid program to strengthen and modernize ComEd’s electric grid - before being named to her current role as senior vice president, technical services. This project, which Blaise and her team will complete this year, has significantly reduced power outages and improved customer satisfaction for customers.
“It’s been a fun five years where we learned as we kept innovating and improving with each challenge. Seeing the resolution and execution of our work is rewarding, especially considering we increased reliability by more than 40 percent in that time,” she notes.
Today she’s responsible for engineering, project management, and smart grid technology for ComEd.
“I’ve been at ComEd since I graduated from college nearly 30 years ago, and I’ve had about 10 different careers in that time,” she points out.
As the grid modernization wraps, Blaise and ComEd are turning their attention to new programs under the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) in effect in Illinois now. FEJA pivots the state to the new clean energy economy.
ComEd delivers electricity to approximately 4 million residential and business customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population, while Exelon does business in 48 states, Washington, DC and Canada.
It’s clear that the one constant in her career has been change. “It’s important to welcome and embrace change. Take the risks. These could lead to something better than you originally envisioned,” says Blaise, who serves as a member of the board of directors for the Women’s Business Development Center and on the board of trustees of the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
Her advice to young African-American professionals also includes being the best at what you do and building a network, looking for ways to contribute to and improve the organization for which you work, and always being open to new opportunities.
Check out comed.com/AboutUs/Pages/Careers.aspx and exeloncorp.com/careers for ComEd jobs. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Flickr.
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