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Ameren finds first chief sustainability officer in Gwen Mizell

Gwen Mizell is taking her passion for clean energy and inclusion into her new role as Ameren Corporation’s first chief sustainability officer. 

Mizell, who was also named Ameren’s vice president of innovation, will steer the company’s environmental stewardship and social impact efforts. With clean energy goals set for the next few decades, she said the new position was another commitment from Ameren to see its transition through. 

“This work has been going on for a while, but this new position formalizes it,” Mizell told The Missouri Times. “There is more deference to sustainability leaders and the importance of sustainability. Our biggest goal is to ensure Ameren integrates sustainability into the way it does business.”

Mizell has been with Ameren for seven years, first as its director of diversity and inclusion and then as vice president of sustainability. She also serves on the St. Louis County Workforce Investment Board, the national board of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and the board of directors of New York-based Gibraltar Industries, which manufactures products for the renewable energy market. 

Ameren committed to its largest expansion of solar and wind-generated energy for both Missouri and Illinois last year, aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as part of its shift to clean energy amid an environmental focus. Goals in the initiative included reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent of the 2005 company totals in the next 10 years and an 85 percent decrease by 2040. 

Around $8 billion in total investments is planned, with new solar and wind facilities and affordable clean energy plans already in place and further purchases on the horizon. 

Mizell has been at the forefront of the effort over the past few years, and she said she was ready to step into the new position to continue leading Ameren’s journey to renewable energy and equitable opportunities for its customers.  

“This is absolutely a passion for me,” Mizell said. “I’ve seen transformations happen, but everyone doesn’t always have an opportunity to participate. Energy touches everybody and everything, and our vision is to be more inclusive of different populations and build up those that might not normally get to be a part of this.”

Mizell pointed to Ameren’s Community Voices Workshop, an annual engagement session where community leaders and Ameren representatives discuss energy matters such as costs and various programs. She kicked off the first workshop in 2019, joining elected officials and representatives from universities and nonprofits for a conversation on sharing resources for a cleaner energy future. 

“We know that to deliver a sustainable energy future, we need to deeply commit to helping address the matters impacting our society, just as we do with those related to the environment,” Mark Fronmuller, Ameren’s senior vice president of strategy, innovation, sustainability, and risk, said. “Gwen’s leadership in these areas has taken Ameren to the next level as she brings together people inside and outside the company to make a positive difference in our communities and our customers’ lives.” 

Mizell said a commitment to sustainability had a plethora of economic and business benefits, noting that Ameren’s clean energy efforts showed investors and stakeholders its commitment to a sustainable future. 

Mizell is part of a new wave of leadership for Ameren. The corporation will see Ameren Missouri President Marty Lyons taking over as president and CEO next year for Warner Baxter, who will transition to executive chairman of its board of directors. 

Ameren Missouri also gained a new director of community and economic development in Rob Dixon (who left his position as director of the Department of Economic Development this month) and a new vice president of economic, community, and business development in 36-year Ameren employee Patrick Smith, Jr.