As the director of Duke Energy’s East region, Indira Everett has stepped up in more ways than one to give back to her community
By Morgan Cartier Weston | Photo by John Michael Simpson
Indira Everett spends her days solving creative challenges. “Right now I am excited about informing the community about the formation of our carbon plan,” she says. The plan, which will be finalized in December, will focus on reducing Duke Energy’s carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 and reaching net-zero carbon by 2050. “I look forward to ensuring our commitment to creating a cleaner environment, which will include transformative and innovative strategies that include renewables, grid investments and electric vehicle infrastructure.”
The Williamston, North Carolina, native earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at N.C. State University and began her career in utilities at Carolina Power & Light Company as a paralegal in 1989. CP&L acquired Florida Progress Corporation in 2000, and the merged companies became Progress Energy; in 2012, Progress Energy and Duke Energy merged into the company we know today.
As the company evolved, so did Indira’s role. Over the past three decades, she moved through a series of public-facing roles, including corporate affairs, constituent relations and project management, and thrived in relationship building. In July 2021, she was promoted to director of the East region within Duke Energy’s government and community relations department; she oversees 29 counties and leads the team’s district managers in Aberdeen, New Bern and Wilmington, North Carolina. “I love the opportunity to work for a company that values my gifts and that provides a necessary commodity that everyone relies on.” Perhaps more importantly, Indira shares her passion and values with her colleagues. “I love working with great [people] to improve the lives of our customers in transformative ways,” she says.
The feeling is mutual. Vakesia Graves, managing director of Duke Energy’s Connected Communities program, has known Indira for 20 years. “Indira’s love of her job and the community she serves is awe-inspiring,” Vakesia says. “She is a mentor who has taught me a lot about what it means to pursue excellence. I enjoy working with her because I know I’ll have the chance to learn something new, and be all the better and wiser through what I’ve learned.”
Of course, Indira also had many powerful women in her life who she looked to for guidance and inspiration. “My mother first, because she pushed me to do more and to excel,” she says. “I have always been a driven person, and nothing gives me more pleasure at work than completing a task well.”
Another role model is Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, the first Black woman to serve in an executive position at Duke Energy. “I watched [Hilda] become the first Black woman to accomplish so many things, and she always understood the power of relationships internally and externally, and how the right ones can propel your career and the trajectory of your life,” Indira says. “Hilda still encourages me and is one of my biggest cheerleaders.”
Indira operates out of Durham and directs community relations efforts in Durham, Chatham, Lee and Orange counties, managing governmental and key contact relationships with regulatory officials, local elected officials, chambers of commerce, and community and civic leaders. “I also implement community and customer strategies that achieve enhanced customer satisfaction and strengthen regulatory relationships, while also managing philanthropic grants and sponsorships for my district,” Indira adds.
She also serves as president of the Rotary Club of Durham and has championed several causes and initiatives this year, including combating food and housing insecurity, securing transitional housing for veterans and helping to eliminate the achievement gap. Indira enjoys meeting new people through her work, volunteering with Durham Public Schools and her board service with the Governor’s North Carolina Business Committee for Education, the Durham Tech Foundation and the Sanford Area Growth Alliance. “Knowing the needs in the community helps me identify ways to add value through Duke Energy resources,” she says. “I am responsible for working in the community to provide charitable funding for worthy causes that align with our focus areas, which include vibrant economies, climate resiliency, and justice, equity and inclusion.”
One of those causes is the annual Duke Energy Day of Champions backpack drive. Indira organizes this partnership among local businesses, Duke University, N.C. Central University and Durham Technical Community College to provide school supplies, career options and books to counter summer reading loss.
“[One] particular day, I noticed a little girl standing alone away from the other students,” Indira recalls. After the girl received her bag of supplies and began to walk away, she turned around and ran back to Indira. “She gave me a big hug and asked if she could take a picture with me. I was humbled as I embraced that child, and I have to believe she was saying to me that she was proud of me and happy to see someone that looked like her in a position she could look up to. That face stays in my mind and drives me to keep doing things to help those in need.”
No matter what your goals are, Indira says, believing in yourself is the first step – especially for young women. “Then, do the hard work to make it happen.”