Raquel Guzman, the Latina leading PGW’s law department
Raquel Guzman was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. at an early age. Although she grew up in the U.S., she maintained a strong connection with her roots — something that was reflected in her academic studies and is now ever-present in her career.
Guzman earned her bachelor’s degree in history with a concentration in Latin American and Iberian studies from Harvard University. Soon after, she enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where, upon completion, she fulfilled her childhood dream.
“I always knew [I wanted to be a lawyer],” Guzman said. “Some people want to be a firefighter or a ballerina. For some reason, as a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer.”
Today, Guzman serves as General Counsel and Vice President of Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), a company owned by the City of Philadelphia that manages a distribution system of approximately 6,000 miles of gas mains and service pipes supplying approximately 500,000 customers throughout the city. Along with taking care of corporate, employment, financial, litigation and regulatory matters, she is also involved with PGW’s inclusion program.
“Our leadership strongly recognizes the competitive edge that diverse voices and experiences bring, and you couldn’t ask for more than the ability to share that voice as an employee,” Guzman said.
On a personal level, Guzman feels a deep connection with PGW’s approach towards inclusion. The company makes strong efforts to increase minority representation in both its workforce and the contractors it employs.
“I am extremely proud to be a Philadelphian and PGW employee with strong roots in various cultural communities,” Guzman said. “At PGW, we work hard every day to make sure that our customers are getting the services they need and expect, and our team is able to bring its own diverse perspectives to bear in meeting those expectations.”
Guzman has dedicated almost 20 years of her career to PGW, not only because she personally identifies with the company’s culture, but also because the company is owned by the community. As a committed champion of the public sector, Guzman believes the residents of Philadelphia, whom she prefers to call stakeholders, need to have their voices heard to ensure city-owned companies are providing the best services they can.
“You are an owner,” Guzman said. “You are an owner of everything that the city owns. You should have an interest as a citizen and as a resident.”
Thanks in part to this point of view, Guzman feels personally motivated to make sure that the services PGW offers and the company’s facilities are “the best that they can be.”
Guzman also serves on the Board of Directors of Citizens Diplomacy International (CDI), a nonprofit organization that works to connect the international community and the people of Philadelphia.
“CDI gives me a vehicle to maintain my relationship with the international and Latino communities,” Guzman said. “And keeps that diverse perspective evolving.”
As a Latina immigrant, Guzman said she has never taken for granted what it means to “be an American”.
"I think the highest ideals of the United States and its government are rooted in justice and opportunity," Guzman said. "These values are particularly meaningful to me as an attorney representing a government-owned utility that provides services to all kinds of communities and businesses."