Mary Powell has a simple mantra: "Culture eats strategy."

Since taking over as CEO of Green Mountain Power, she's implemented a startup culture that represents a dramatic departure from a traditional utility model -- obsessing over the customer, mixing employees in order to uncover new ideas, testing out new products and reimagining the power delivery business model itself. 

She used to call Green Mountain Power the "un-utility." These days, Powell doesn't even like to talk about her company as a utility at all. 

This week, we feature a live conversation with Mary Powell from the Clean Energy Trust Challenge in Chicago. She talked about her unconventional approach to managing a utility and her outlook on how customer interaction with the grid will change.

Above all, she explained why understanding customers matters so much to people: "One of my biggest fears is being out of touch with what people want and what really matters to people."

Thanks to our launch sponsor, AES Energy Storage. The grid is changing. Fast. And AES Energy Storage is helping utilities harness the power of battery-based energy storage to make the electric power system cleaner, more flexible, and more reliable. Find out more.