SJI’s Chief Diversity Officer Shawn Abner-Purnell Named Mid-Market “DEI Champion of the Year” by HRO Today

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FOLSOM, NJ, September 12, 2023 – SJI is proud to share that Shawn Abner-Purnell, Chief Diversity Officer, SJI, has been named the Mid-Market “DEI Champion of the Year” by HRO Today.

Shawn received the distinguished award last week during HRO Today’s 13th Annual Inclusion Summit & Award Show in Alexandria, VA.

HRO Today has a long tradition of recognizing HR and talent management executives. The 2023 Inclusion Summit recognized the work of HR, business leadership, and DEI executives that effectively implemented programs promoting inclusive workplaces and improving employee engagement & retention.

“Shawn’s DEI leadership at SJI has been transformational, and we are so proud to see her receive the DEI Champion of Year Award,” said Karen Phillips, SVP & CHRO, SJI. “Inclusion is a core value at SJI, and Shawn’s team works closely with business leaders across the organization to foster an environment where our employees can find a sense of belonging by being empowered to bring their whole selves to work each day.”

Photo of Shawn Abner-Purnell

In 2022, SJI named Shawn the company’s first Chief Diversity Officer, taking another step in its commitment to support DEI initiatives company wide.

Through her DEI team, the diversity council, and dedicated human resources department, SJI advances DEI by making employees’ emotional well-being a priority for the organization. SJI’s employee resource groups, recognition programs, DEI coffee chat series, career advancement initiatives, wellness resources, and team building events are just a few examples of how SJI has advanced DEI initiatives.

Looking ahead, SJI is excited to host its first DEI Summit from September 19-20, 2023, where employees will hear from expert speakers and attend workshops to further their understanding of DEI priorities.

For more information about SJI and its subsidiaries, please visit

About SJI

South Jersey Industries (SJI), an energy infrastructure holding company based in Folsom, NJ, delivers energy services to customers through two primary subsidiaries:  SJI Utilities (SJIU) and SJI Energy Enterprises (SJIEE).  SJIU houses the company’s regulated natural gas utility operations, delivering safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to more than 725,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across New Jersey via its South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas subsidiaries. SJIEE houses the company’s non-utility operations primarily focused on clean energy development and decarbonization via renewable energy production and energy management activities.  Visit for more information about SJI and its subsidiaries.

About HRO Today

HRO Today and HRO Today Global are the properties of SharedXpertise Media and offer the broadest and deepest reach available anywhere in the HR industry. Our magazines, web portals, research, e-newsletters, events, and social networks reach senior-level HR decision-makers with rich, objective, game-changing content. Our No. 1 strength is our reach. HR leaders rely heavily on the HRO Today’s Baker’s Dozen rankings across six different categories when selecting an HR service provider.

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