For Tonya Harris, the thrill of arguing cases for a big city law firm was exhilarating – but it left room for little else.
A few years ago, Harris decided it was time for a change. She made the move from Philadelphia to an in-house counsel position at PPL and not only did she find a fulfilling legal career, but it unlocked her passion for giving back to her community and mentoring others.
“PPL was my former client at the law firm and that’s when I discovered that PPL was the right place for my next career move,” said Harris. “I admired the company’s dedication to going beyond the boardroom and making a positive impact in its community.”
While Harris has a full plate in the legal department counseling clients on commercial litigation including contract disputes and supervising the Claims group, she is also the past president of the AABRG, PPL’s employee-led business resource group for African Americans, is on the Board of the Allentown School District Foundation and mentors students at Allen High School in Allentown, Pa.
Harris works with Communities in Schools of the Lehigh Valley to hold mentoring sessions with vulnerable students who are at risk of dropping out of the center city school. She brings together PPL employees from diverse backgrounds and job functions to meet with students to discuss a range of topics from future career opportunities to overcoming diversity-related challenges.
Harris says the pay-off of mentoring is seeing the spark of something new in the students.
“The students have so much potential and they may not have the right support or know the avenues to achieve their dreams. Seeing that a-ha moment when the students envision a path for their future is the payoff,” said Harris.
Harris was recently recognized by Communities in Schools for her commitment to empowering the students of Allen High School toward success inside and outside the classroom.
She credits PPL with empowering employees to get involved by volunteering their time.
“At PPL there are no constraints on being involved in the community. It is a core value of the company and one that I align perfectly with.”