Edit ModuleShow Tags

Spotlight on Women

Martha Wyrsch, Executive V.P. and General Counsel, Sempra Energy


Published:

Photo by Jenny Siegwart

Where did you grow up?

Laramie, Wyoming. I came from a family of six children. I have an identical twin. My father was influential in our lives and he pushed us to be independent. My twin went to college in Colorado and I thought I could do better in my hometown, so I stayed in Laramie for college. Both my parents went to college in Wyoming. My father came from a family of 17 and he believed that we could do anything, so I developed a lot of confidence and I think it served me well.

What happened after college?

I went to Washington D.C. to work for Alan Simpson, a U.S. senator from Wyoming. He was very influential in my life.

What was the next step in your career path?

After working for the senator, I went to law school at George Washington University and that’s where I met my husband. He put me through school and I put him through. We moved from D.C. to Denver, where I joined a law firm, which was a terrific experience for me.

Do you have children?

Yes, I was older when I had my children. I was an associate at a law firm at the time my son was born. I had the opportunity to go inside, so I became general counsel for KN Energy. My daughter was born five years later. I have a very supportive husband and we made the choice to share the burden of parenting.

“We want to keep the industry fresh and focused on the future, and Sempra is on the leading edge of that here.”

How did you handle the challenges of managing your career and family?

I compartmentalize things. I don’t worry or fret about things. When I moved into executive companies, my husband scaled back his career and took on the lead. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have Gerry in my life. When my kids were growing up it was important for me to be available for spring break, so I worked that time into my schedule.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?

Raising two healthy children. I’m proud of the people that I was able to influence and to see them move up. I help them see that taking a risk is very worthwhile. That is a lot of what I am doing here at Sempra—trying to build the next leadership team.

Did you ever want to quit?

Of course. There are times when you sit back and think, How did this happen? and How did we get to where we are?

What do you do for yourself?

I take care of myself, exercise every day, walk the hills or down to the beach, work with a trainer. I find reading fiction very relaxing. I always take at least a two-week vacation.

What do you do to mentor others?

I work with women in the energy industry. I find it very gratifying to spend time counseling these women. It’s difficult to attract young women to the industry. Sempra is good at that. We want to keep the industry fresh and focused on the future, and Sempra is on the leading edge of that here. We are looking at other sources of power, and that attracts young people to our company.

How did you get to San Diego?

I have known Debbie Reed my entire career. She approached me with this opportunity and I chose to take it rather than retiring.

What is in your future?

I will finish out my career working full time here and serving on public company boards. Then I will go wander in the woods of Wyoming and stay in a cabin.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Letter from the Editor: Who Hates the Beach?

Editor in chief Erin Meanley Glenny dishes on the July issue of San Diego Magazine

Confessions of the Un-Diegans

Not every San Diegan loves fish tacos and the beach. Can't believe it? Meet the locals who go against the grain.

What Is It Like to Work at the San Diego Wind Tunnel?

Stephen Ryle oversees a team of nautical engineers at the world renowned testing facility
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Jason Mraz Is Growing Coffee on a Farm in Oceanside
    We spoke to the musician about all the whys — why food, why farming, why Oceanside, why coffee?
  2. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017
    The top tacos, chicken wings, seafood, burgers, kid-friendly eateries, breweries, and more
  3. 10 Scenic Hikes Within an Hour of San Diego
    You’ve mastered all the trails in your area—now plan a Saturday to get outside for a hike and enjoy the views just a bit farther afield
  4. The Man Behind San Diego's $26 Billion Company
    Will Illumina's new hotshot CEO be able to lead the San Diego genomics giant into the complex world of clinical care?
  5. Celebrating Women: Shanna Missett Nelson
    Like a good dancer, the Jazzercise president has mastered her balance—of career, family, and life
  6. San Diego's Best Boutique Fitness 2017
    We've sweated through the top yoga, barre, Pilates, and boot camp classes, and are rounding up our favorites
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags