60°F
weather icon Clear

Power of philanthropy energizes utility’s community relations liaison

It’s all the rage to hop from company to company these days, looking for opportunities to climb the career ladder with different businesses.

But Doretha Easler found all the advancement she could possibly want at NV Energy. Easler has spent her entire career with the local power company, starting in the mail room at age 20 and working her way up through the ranks to become manager of community relations. Along the way, Easler worked in departments as diverse as purchasing, where she bought office supplies, and new construction, where she helped coordinate power delivery to developers building office parks and new-home communities.

It’s her current post, though, that ranks as Easler’s favorite. Her efforts connect NV Energy employees to volunteering opportunities in the community, and she also oversees funding initiatives through the utility’s charitable foundation.

Question: After holding jobs in a variety of areas over the years, what convinced you to go the philanthropic route at NV Energy?

Answer: I worked with the United Way of Southern Nevada for three months as a “loaned executive.” I was skeptical about it at first, but I did want an opportunity to grow and do something different. During my time with the United Way of Southern Nevada, I visited different nonprofit agencies and got a sense of what the nonprofit community was all about, and how it was addressing the needs of the community. I became passionate about it.

Question: Why is community relations important for a company like NV Energy?

Answer: It gives our employees an opportunity to make a difference in the community, and to connect with their neighbors and find out what their needs are. Those needs extend to more than just keeping the lights on. In order to have a healthy community, you need to address some of those needs, whether it’s through philanthropy or volunteer resources.

Question: What are the most popular causes among NV Energy employees these days?

Answer: They seem to be very passionate about Goodie Two Shoes. A lot of people take it for granted that others have a pair of shoes to wear every day. Goodie Two Shoes provides shoes and socks to kids who don’t have them. On Oct. 23, Goodie Two Shoes will bring about 2,000 kids down to the Boys and Girls Club and provide shoes, socks and schools supplies. Our employees like working with kids, and they like working with organizations that provide basic needs and services. We also have quite a few people volunteering for Three Square’s “Backpack for Kids” programs (to provide food for hungry children). We have our “Make It a Day On, Not a Day Off” project on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. We have the day off, but our employees have volunteered to fill backpacks at Three Square that day.

A lot of employees also volunteer for our annual Senior Energy Assistance Expo. NV Energy has a utility-bill assistance program for seniors funded by shareholders. This year, we held it at Cashman Center, and close to 3,000 people came out. We had other community partners there, and we had a food program. For the first time, we invited Southwest Gas, the Las Vegas Valley Water District and CenturyLink to share the services they provide. We processed 1,100 applications and gave out $350,000 in utility-bill assistance.

Question: How often do people come up to you at nonprofit events and complain about their power bill?

Answer: Sometimes it happens. But most of the time, they just want to vent. If you can provide them with information on an organization that can help them, they’re usually OK. I also hear people say what a wonderful community partner NV Energy is, but they don’t like getting that bill. We all get power bills, and with the economy the way it is, a lot of people are struggling. We want them to know we understand there are issues, and there are resources.

Question: Does the power company get an unfair bad rap?

Answer: If anyone gets that, it’s our employees, because they have big hearts and they really do work hard to give back to the community. It gives me a great sense of pride to see how our employees continue to step up and give back. If a nonprofit had a sudden issue and needed help, I could quickly find 10 employees willing to give up their Saturday to help.

If you are struggling to pay your bill, quite naturally, you’re going to be a little bit upset. We offer assistance and direct people to services so they can manage their energy costs. We have conservation programs, and they can contact customer service and make payment arrangements. The last thing we want to do is disconnect someone for nonpayment.

Question: How do you measure success on your job?

Answer: Success is measured through the eyes of our employees, neighbors and shareholders. As one example of the way I measure success, we have an exit survey at our energy-assistance expo, through which we ask them about their experience as they’re leaving. We’ve found that 80 percent to 90 percent of the participants are very satisfied with NV Energy offering that to them. For me, success is also seeing a smile on a customer’s face after they leave one of our events, or just a simple “thank you for what you do for the community.” And of course, I appreciate the acknowledgement of our peers and professional organizations when they recognize what we’re doing in the community.

Question: What is your biggest career accomplishment?

Answer: Developing our community-relations programs to where they are today. Before, we didn’t have a formal employee-volunteer program. Now, we have a tool in place that matches employees with volunteering opportunities across the nation. We also totally revamped our utility-bill assistance program so it’s targeted to help our most vulnerable customers.

I’m also proud of We Are Community, a new partnership with teachers and students through the Clark County Public Education Foundation where we teach students about philanthropy and community service. It gives me an opportunity to create young leaders who will be doing same thing I do.

Question: What do you like best about your work?

Answer: I would say the most rewarding thing at the end of the day is knowing that I was able to match corporate contributions with an organization that is really making a difference, and for our employees to have a sense of pride in the fact that our company cares about the community. I like that we can address an issue by investing financial or volunteer resources, and make a difference in the community.

Question: Where are the challenges?

Answer: Having to turn some organizations down because our funds are limited. There are a lot of great things out there that nonprofits are doing, but we can’t support all of them because our resources are limited.

Question: It’s rare these days for people to spend an entire career with one company.

Answer: It is, but the great thing about working here is that there are a lot of positions within the company, and there’s educational assistance so you can go to school and develop yourself. There are also training programs to help you move into any position in the company.

Question: What are your future career plans?

Answer: To continue to do the good work that we do in the community, to strive to be our very best, to inspire excellence from our employees and to continue to lead change. We want to adapt to what’s going on in the community so that we’re always ahead of the issues that may affect our customers.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at
jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
US delays Huawei ban 90 days to give tech sector time to adjust

The United States is delaying some restrictions on U.S. technology sales to Chinese tech powerhouse Huawei in what it calls an effort to ease the blow on Huawei smartphone owners and smaller U.S. telecoms providers.

Dressbarn to close all of its 650 stores

Dressbarn, the women’s clothing chain that’s been around for nearly 60 years, is closing all 650 of its stores.