Empowering the next generation of Latino leaders

As Vice President of Innovation and Development, Carlos Nouel pours his energy into imagining and creating a better future for our business. He channels his passion for progress into our people too, working as a mentor to colleagues from Latin America to ensure they have the support they need to succeed.

My parents taught me early on in life that if you’re privileged enough to be successful, you need to give back to the people coming behind you. One way I do that is by mentoring Latinos and other people from ethnic minorities in our business.

I was born in Venezuela and started my career there, working first in the energy sector and then in a number of consulting, supply chain and procurement roles for several global businesses.

I came to the US in 2008 to do my Master of Business Administration (MBA). Towards the end of my studies, I was offered a role with National Grid in 2009 and I’ve been with the business ever since.

I’ve worked extremely hard to reach my current role as Vice President of Innovation and Development. I’m responsible for transforming our business into the utility of the future that we all want it to be.

Throughout my career, I’ve been privileged to have had excellent mentors who’ve helped me overcome challenging situations and given me insights into subjects I wouldn’t have been able to see on my own. I credit a lot of my success to them.

By mentoring others now, I’m able to provide the advantages I had to a new generation of employees. I choose to mentor people from Latino backgrounds and ethnic minorities, because I have a personal connection with anyone who came here from a different country.

I try to lead by example and show people that, if you work hard, push yourself and always get ready for the next opportunity, everything is possible.

I’ve experienced all the challenges and differences that brings, such as learning the nuances of how to relate and communicate effectively in different situations and with different people. I want to help others avoid some of the pain and difficulties I went through.

Helping people expand their professional horizons is also important. I want to show the colleagues I mentor that if they want to reach the most senior positions at National Grid – it can be done. I try to lead by example, and show them if you work hard, push yourself, and always get ready for the next opportunity, everything is possible.

Many of the people I mentor are doing really well. One, an Asian American colleague, has gone from being a shy and quiet intern to one of our highest performers, who’s comfortable speaking in public and representing our business. It’s exciting to see how much that person has grown in a short period of time.

I personally take a lot from mentoring. You hear people’s amazing life stories and they put your own challenges in perspective. In the past, I felt my own path had been tough, but the reality is I didn’t have it nearly as hard as many others. When I see them building their resilience and determination, it’s such a proud moment.

The skills I’ve learned mentoring, like listening to what others are telling you, being able to internalise that, and creating the empathy for a person to open up to you, are skills that have helped me become a better manager – and a better person.