For Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, her accomplishments are all about paying it forward.

“I can do one of two things – I can keep the status quo or I can pave the road and leave a carpet for others to walk on,” she said. “I prefer to leave a legacy that’s not about me but it’s all about me opening doors.”

Last month, Pinnix-Ragland received the 2012 Roberta Bowman Award from the Duke Energy Business Women’s Network.

“I was elated and honored,” Pinnix-Ragland said. “I accepted it for the women throughout the corporate environment and the company that I have worked with over the years. My successes directly lead to the people around me.”

The Roberta Bowman Award, named for former senior vice president and chief sustainability officer for Duke Energy, is rewarded to a Duke Energy employee who embodies professionalism, perseverance, passion, championship and respect.

Pinnix-Ragland is the vice president-corporate public affairs for Duke Energy. She joined Duke Energy in 1980 when it was Carolina Power & Light and has since served in various positions in the communications, customer operations-construction, maintenance and restoration, customer service, economic development, management services, treasury and auditing functions.

In her 32 years at Duke Energy, Pinnix-Ragland has seen a lot of changes within the company. The one she is most proud of is the addition and advancement of women and minorities to the company.

“It’s been a great journey – from no women and no minorities to a very good representation and support,” she said. “The road for me has been the one less traveled for a black woman in the energy sector. It’s not been unusual to be the only one.”

In 1977, Pinnix-Ragland earned her B.S. in accounting from North Carolina A&T State University. She attributes her success to university leadership and alumni.

“I attribute a lot to Dr. (Quiester) Craig and my great professors who have continued to pave the way,” she said.

“From Chancellor (Lewis C.) Dowdy and his leadership to my family members who went (to N.C. A&T) before me and to my heroes and sheroes like Henry and Shirley Frye – I’m very appreciative of their support.”

Pinnix-Ragland went on to earn a M.B.A. from Duke University. Pinnix-Ragland has also completed the Harvard University Kennedy School of Public Policy Executive Leadership Program.

Prior to Duke Energy, Pinnix-Ragland was an auditor with Arthur Anderson & Co. and an accountant with Colgate-Palmolive, both in New York.

Pinnix-Ragland currently serves on the board of directors for the American Association of Blacks in Energy (former national chair), the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges (chair), and the Research Triangle Institute International (RTI) board of directors, the National Parks Foundation board of trustees, the N.C. College Foundation board of trustees and the N.C. A&T Board of Visitors.

Earlier this year, Pinnix-Ragland received the 2012 National Organization of Black Elected Legislators (NOBEL) Women President’s Award and she was named to Savoy magazine’s Top 100 Executive Women list.