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Just last week, we held our 3rdquarter Global Community Council meeting where 40+ leaders from various corporate companies gathered together to discuss best business practices. But before we spill all the juicy details from that meeting, you might need a little background on what exactly the Global Community Council is and why it’s so great.

 

THE GCC 411

We believe progress will be accelerated by working together and that membership should go beyond events and discounts. This council connects Pink Petro member companies, regardless of size, within industry, and to external initiatives and partnerships.

 

 

Get access to this exclusive opportunity by becoming a Pink Petro corporate member! JOIN NOW!

 

In addition to our awesome member content, app, and digital experiences, corporate members are provided with an inclusive opportunity for leaders to share best practices and to learn from one another. Members discuss their challenges, workforce issues, and the potential solutions.

 

 Along with the enriching conversations, we also invite featured speakers to discuss a particular topic. This quarter we had Paul McIntyre of WorelyParsons who presented on Sponsoring Women to Success.

 

The amazing Tracey Kearney of Challenger, Gray & Christmas sponsors these meetings. Along with our fearless leader, Katie Mehnert, she works hard to deliver an experience that is packed full of value for our members.

 

These meetings are attended by corporate member leaders who are passionate about being the difference makers in their companies. Every company is on a quest to make their business a better place to work, to retain and attract top talent, and to build better diversity and inclusion initiatives. And we help you do just that with the Global Community Council.

 

GCC Q3 2018 RECAP

 

This quarter’s experience was hosted by Hillary Ware at Cheniere Energy; and Katie Mehnert, Tracey Kearny, and Paul McIntyre presented on retention, sponsorship, and the eX factor (employee experience).

 

We were excited to be joined by our newest corporate members this quarter: Anadarko, ExxonMobil, HOWCO, and Wood Mackenzie.

 

We offered our members insights into industry trends and brought in external data on the job market, why employees quit, and employee retention trends.

 

Our small group discussion centered around what keeps these leaders at their companies. They discussed their personal reasons for staying as well as their colleagues’ and employees’ reasons.

 

Then we took a hard look at employee experience.

 

“Ex is the sum of everything an employee experiences throughout his or her connection to the organization – every employee interaction from the first contact as a potential recruit to the last interaction after the end of employment.” -Katie Mehnert; CEO & Founder Pink Petro

 

Paul McIntyre delivered an awe-inspiring presentation all about sponsoring women talent at WorelyParsons. In this presentation, he took a deep dive into sponsorship vs. mentoring, examples of sponsoring activities, sponsorship importance for women, and he offered insights into the female talent sponsorship at WorelyParsons.

 

Following his presentation, we broke out into groups to discuss a few important questions.

 

  1. Which organization/work environment factors are uniquely attractive to women and why?
  2. Which organization/work environment factors uniquely influence women to leave?
  3. In light of the "attention/retention factors" and "exit factors" discussed, how can we attract and retain more women in our workplaces?

 

These discussions allow for leaders to hear from one another and collaborate on potential practices and solutions to implement in their own companies.

 

The GCC is a cross-industry community to connect the energy industry to resources and best practices. It’s a neutral platform for dialogue and actions to address gender equality and building an inclusive culture in the full value chain.

 

To take advantage of this exclusive opportunity, become a Pink Petro Corporate Member.

Our second ever GRIT awards are fast approaching (October 3rdhave you registered to watch yet?), and the results are in. Through this process, we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to have GRIT.

 

Register here to watch the livestream.

 

The first time we hosted these awards back in March, we reviewed everything from the nominations to the final applications. Moving forward, we’ve changed things up. And in doing so, some interesting pieces of information have come to light. But first, let’s walk you through the process. Because receiving a GRIT award is actually a little tougher than you might think.

 

HOW IT ALL GOES DOWN

 

Just as you might expect, we put out our initial call for nominations. People get excited, and our inboxes fill up. We love it! We see all sorts of nominations come in: bosses recommending employees, colleagues recommending each other, members of the community recognizing incredible individuals, and we even see some people throwing their own names into the hat. We collect them all, and we marinate in their awesomeness, reviewing each candidate closely here in house.

 

Our editorial team deliberates and we decide which candidates become finalists by evaluating the nomination letters and candidate’s CV/resume.

 

Once we have our selection of finalists, we strip everything. The only thing that gets passed along to our external panel of judges is an encrypted application to avoid any possible bias.

 

We remove any qualifying information such as name, company, photographs, LinkedIn profiles, and gender data. And at this stage, the application the nominee completes carries all of the weight. Now, the only category in which any qualifying data is known is the male champions category for obvious reasons.

 

Let us introduce you to our judges.

 

How Melody Meyer became an energy industry rock star

 

Tracee Bently

 Executive Director, Colorado Petroleum Council

 

Jay Copan

Senior Vice President at American Gas Association

 


Paula Glover

President and CEO, American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE)

 

Melody Meyer 

Non-Executive Director at British Petroleum, AbbVie, and NOV; Sr

Advisor at Cairn India; Trinity University Trustee; NBR Board

 

Our external panel of judges then take those blind applications and determines an overall score for each candidate which determines our winners.

 

WHAT WE'VE LEARNED

 

We discovered there is a wide spectrum when it comes to how open people are in sharing their truths.

 

Judge Paula Glover commented;

There was a level of authenticity in that you could see how their personal stories and issues that go on at home, impact their work life. I also really appreciated that nominees were willing to be honest about areas where they fell short and recognized that everything is a learning experience.”  

 

But what became overwhelmingly obvious is that most struggle with owning our stories. There is an incredible imbalance between how someone else will boast about our pluckiness and how we present the same stories.

 

Ultimately? We tend to sell ourselves short.

 

That's taught us we need to do more to help everyone speak their truths, to own their stories, and to be authentic.

 

Humans struggle bragging about themselves. The nomination letters for our candidates were filled with powerful language about how strength, bravery and resilience. But when it came to the applications, candidates were quick to downplay their grit and undersell themselves.  We get it. It’s unsettling to do a deep dive and share pressure and struggles.

 

It’s uncomfortable to talk about these topics.  It’s even less comfortable to grip on to the gritty stuff that really makes us who we are. But that’s what the GRIT Awards are all about. The spirit of GRIT isn’t about whether or not someone is a rockstar (we all are). It’s about the people who can be open about their failures and experiences and be able to tell these stories and rise from them.

 

Join us for the livestream on October 3rd; Register now!

This week in our series Profiles in GRIT, we introduce you to Nooshin Yazhari, the president and CEO of Optimum Consultancy Services.

 

Nooshin, who was honored with a GRIT Award at our ceremony back in March, has an incredible story: She’s an immigrant entrepreneur who has made the impossible possible!

 

Being a young woman with no capital and no connections in a traditional business environment resulted in lots of rejections and no’s initially. However, I felt I only had one option and that was to push forward,” Nooshin recalls.

 

Nooshin founded her technology startup, Optimum, to provide innovative and practical technology solutions to the local and national communities.  Even though the Houston’s Oil & Gas market and overall economy was hurting during the initial years of the company, Optimum still managed to grow stronger and larger every year, meeting and exceeding its revenue and annual goals.

 

Now, she employs a team of talented professionals and counts several Fortune 500 companies and government agencies among her list of clients. Her experiences have given her valuable perspective and shaped her approach to work and life, and we are thrilled to share her story with you.

 

Read on for more about Nooshin.

 

PINK PETRO: What’s the biggest challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?

 

NOOSHIN: Being an immigrant woman, who didn’t speak much English initially, imposed a lot of challenges in my professional life when I first landed in the U.S. Although I had a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from a top technology university in middle east and had successfully founded and sold an IT company back in Turkey, the first job I landed in the U.S. was a cashier at Walmart.

 

That was when I quickly realized that most people vastly underestimate the intellectual potential of people from the poor, working class of the society. They assume a certain IQ and intellectual level with the people below their social rank and treat a cashier just as a lesser person. During my short time working as a cashier, however, I met so many amazing, intellectual men and women who were working hard at jobs below their potential because of difficult life circumstances.

 

But I didn’t come all the way to the U.S. to be a cashier for the rest of my life. So, I started applying for professional jobs, taking phone interviews from ladies’ restrooms during my lunch breaks. I got many rejections due to not being fluent in English and not having any prior work history in the U.S. Finally, the founder of a small, startup IT company decided to extend me a helping hand. He told me that he didn’t mind my English because he could see my talent with IT and programming. He said that one can always learn a new language in a couple of months, but nobody can teach someone “talent” and “passion”. To this day, I still appreciate what he did for me: the risky decision of hiring a 20-something-year-old girl who didn’t speak the language and putting her on some important projects and in a client facing role. I worked as hard as I could and became a superstar programmer at his company because I couldn’t allow myself to disappoint him!

 

That job changed my life. After few months of working at that company, I got admitted to graduate school to pursue my master’s in software engineering at SMU, Dallas, and started working full time during the day and went to school at nights. Until I was finally able to make one of my biggest dreams come true: starting and growing an IT company.

 

Now, it’s my turn to extend a helping hand! I work hard to help other women to have a better life and achieve their career goals through my business and volunteering work.

 

PP: What’s one mistake you made and what did you learn from it?

 

NY: Owning a small business means facing the risk of making mistakes and facing failure almost every day. There are many decisions that must be made quickly, and sometimes, the option to know all the facts and pros/cons just doesn’t exist. It is also difficult to stay calm and not panic when problems arise, and the consequences of failing are too much to deal with.

 

During my early years as a business owner, I sometimes made decisions out of the fear of failure or losing a business opportunity. Later, I learned that decisions out of desperation or fear never lead to winning at the end. Now, this is one of my favorite quotes: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” - Nelson Mandela

 

PP: What’s been the most rewarding part of your career?

 

NY: Founding and growing my company in the US, which I started with only a few dollars as the starting equity. I still remember the look on the banker’s face when he asked me, passionately, how much money I’d like to deposit into my brand-new business account and I handed him $25.

 

This was also around the time when Houston’s oil and gas market crashed, and corporations started canceling projects and stopped spending. People looked at me with compassion when I told them that I’m starting a brand-new company in such a depressed market. This was also when I realized the world of business, especially in the energy industry, seem to be male-dominated, and survival in this market depends on many vital factors — especially being connected to an exclusive network of business movers and shakers, which not surprisingly, wasn’t immediately accessible to an immigrant woman like me. All the odds were against me.

I felt I only had one option, and that was to push forward. I stopped thinking about the capital funds that I didn’t have and the people I didn’t know; rather I started meeting new people and making new connections who appreciated my passion and capabilities and weren’t concerned about where I was from. I also started finding creative ways to do business with little money.

 

After having my share of failures, bruises, and wins, I was finally able to significantly grow the company’s size and revenue and on-board and retain multiple clients, including some Fortune 500 corporations as well as local and state government agencies.

 

I’m proud of this journey and the fact that Optimum has created jobs for a number of professional women, men, and college students.  

 

I have a passion for founding businesses that support technology, innovation, and digital transformation to help advance our local and national communities. I believe the world is a better place with more humanity + technology!

 

We will be celebrating our next class of GRIT Award winners on Oct. 3. Join us — in person in Houston or for the livestream

 

We’ve been talking a lot lately about celebrating energy’s leaders. Our GRIT Awards, coming up next month, provide an opportunity to recognize those who are challenging, shaping and advancing the industry as a whole.

 

But a core part of our mission at Pink Petro is also to help our members harness their potential as leaders and powerful decision makers. And we have a great opportunity to do just that through our partnership with Rice University.

 

Rice University is bringing back its popular on line learning experience, Leadership and Decision Making in the Energy Industry. Classes begin October 2nd, and will continue for 15 weeks. You can access the insights, strategies, and information any time, anywhere, from any device — making it a valuable tool for our global workforce. You're busy building your career. So our partnership with Rice University is designed to make it easier for you to continue your education on your own time and in your own way.

Click here to register and USE THE CODE PETRO18 to get the course for $950.

Taught by Charles D. Mcconnell, the Executive Director of the Energy and Environmental Initiative at Rice University, the course reveals the effective decision making framework in the context of value chains and scenario planning within three major energy markets: oil & gas, petrochemicals, and electric power.

 

After completing Unit 1: Decision Making in the Energy Industry, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the idea of the global grand energy challenge
  2. Describe the structure of our three major energy markets
  3. Apply the three pillars of decision making to each of these markets
  4. Describe a balanced Decision Making Framework

After completing Unit 2: Value Chains in the Energy Industry, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the concept of value chains
  2. Apply that concept to our three major energy markets

After completing Unit 3: Scenario Analysis in the Energy Industry, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the concept of scenario planning
  2. Describe how scenario planning is applied to each of our three major markets through understanding insights provided in dynamic interviews with energy industry leaders

 

Sounds pretty good, right?

It’s been seventeen years since 9/11. A horrific event in the history of our world. We woke that morning to a world that felt safe, and by the end of the day, we all knew life would never be the same. We faced Ground Zero, and we had to rise.

 

Where were you?  I was working for Enron.  The first plane hit and I was listening into a conference call.  The line went dead and honestly no one thought anything of it.  It wasn't until we flipped on CNN to see what had happened on the trade floor that we realized our lives would be forever changed.  I saw the second plane hit live.  A colleague of mine Michelle got out, just in time never to return to New York or a skyscraper.  

 

Well before the social era, it was with 9/11 that our country and the world began to witness the atrocities of black swan events.  And it’s no different today. Thanks to social media, we are seeing more and more the proliferation of disasters of varying degrees. Wars, corporate scandals, natural disasters, #MeToo, the list could go on and on.

 

The anniversary of this monumental moment in our history got me thinking.

 

The rise a disaster demands requires courage, determination, and tenacity: GRIT.  Without warning, these events swoop into our lives and wreak havoc. And we have no choice but to roll up our sleeves, take a deep breath or two, and face the challenging road ahead.

 

In the process, we grow and change, and we prepare ourselves to be stronger for the future.  

 

Here in the energy industry, we are no strangers to the growth that comes from face-down moments. And because of that, we have loads of grit. And that’s what it’s all about.

 

Next month we honor unsung heroes at our GRIT awards.  But this isn’t just about recognizing success.  In fact its really less about the titles that come with the jobs — it’s about celebrating the rise. It’s about owning our stories of failure and how despite our falls, we find a way to rise to the next level.  

 

9/11 rattled us. We suffered great loss. But in its wake, the world banded together, faced the wreckage and rebuilt. We witnessed heroism in action, men and women stepping up cloaked in nothing but bravery.

 

And it’s in moments like these: 9/11, our own industry moments, or our private moments as people that we flex our grit muscles.

 

Today and every day, we honor the GRIT of our 9/11 heroes.

 

 

Katie Mehnert, Founder Pink Petro

We are pleased to announce the upcoming REACTION 26 webcast taking place on 2 October 2018. Register now.

Getting up to speed on the new mobility

The automotive industry is speeding toward a new era marked by electric-powered vehicles, autonomous vehicles and shared mobility. Even as global sales tick downward,1 individual vehicles will be used more intensively, spending less time parked and more time on the road, transporting people and goods in a growing number of ways. For automotive chemical companies in particular, the new mobility will mean a dramatic shift in product portfolios, clients, end users and business models to address an industry ecosystem that’s becoming larger, more dynamic and far more interconnected.

Join Charlie Simpson, Partner and Head of Mobility 2030, Global Strategy Group, KPMG in the UK and Christoph Domke, Director of Mobility 2030, Global Strategy Group, KPMG in the UK, who will be discussing these issues. To read Charlie and Christoph’s article, please click here and REACTION 26 Magazine can be read here.

Participants are eligible to earn one CPE credit for this audio webcast.

After registering for this webcast, via the links above, you will receive details on how to access the webcast. The webcast will last approximately 60 minutes including a question and answer period.

Not a member of the KPMG Global Chemicals Institute? Register today! You will receive upcoming webcast information and further insights from KPMG’s Global Chemicals Institute.

 

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- August 23, 2018 — Today, Experience Energy, the global careers site that connects energy companies with diverse talent, announced the finalists for the GRIT Awards, a first-of-its-kind awards program that debuted earlier this year at HERWorld Energy Forum. The winners will be announced as part of a half-day conference at the Norris Center in Houston on Oct. 3 that will be broadcast live  to viewers around the world.

 

The GRIT Awards, sponsored by NES Global Talent, were created to recognize women leaders in energy, and the men who advocate for their progress. For this class of honorees, more than 150 applications poured in from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. On Oct. 3, Experience Energy, a Pink Petro company, will announce the winners, selected during by a panel of industry judges.

 

The first GRIT Awards ceremony was held earlier this year, during Pink Petro’s annual HERWorld Energy Forum. More than 30 women and men were part of that inaugural class of winners, and the ceremony drew more than 74,000 viewers from around the world.

 

“Given the success of our first year, we knew there was a need to honor energy’s unsung heroes.  Those people deserve to be honored for all they do, and the impact they’re having on our unsung industry,” said Katie Mehnert, founder of Experience Energy and Pink Petro. “That’s what the GRIT Awards are all about.”

 

The finalists were nominated for recognition in four different categories: entrepreneurs, individuals, teams and male champions.  Below is a full list of GRIT Award finalists. The winners will be announced live on Oct. 3:  

 

  • Afton Sterling, Regulatory Manager, SWN
  • Alaina Sajatovic, Product Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Allison Selman, Integrity Management & Decommissioning Manager, Atteris
  • Andrea Reynolds, General Manager, Shell
  • Andrea Wu, Principal Consultant,  RS Energy Group
  • Angela Knight, Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Baker Hughes, a GE Company
  • Brenda Donnelly, Vice President - Production Excellence at Shell Deepwater
  • C. Susan Howes, Vice President of Engineering, Subsurface Consultants & Associates, LLC
  • Carlos Pineda, Vice President Completions Solutions for the U.S, Stage Completions Inc.
  • Cassandra Corley, Director, Information Technology MidCon, ConocoPhillips
  • Cherie Fuller, Vice President, Retail Power Market Management, EDF Energy Services
  • Chesley Russo, Manager of LNG Plant Support Services, Bechtel
  • Cindy Pollard, Director of Public Affairs, Aera Energy LLC
  • Deanna Jones, VP Human Resources & Administrative Services, Marathon Oil
  • Dionne Auguste, Operations Manager, NES Global Talent
  • Donatella Banchi, Sr Director Program Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Elizabeth Rogo, CEO/Founder, Tsavo Oilfield Services Ltd
  • Dr. Greg Powers, Vice President of Technology, Halliburton
  • Heather Eason, Founder and CEO, Select Power Systems LLC
  • Hugh Connett, Vice President, Gas Commercialization, Chevron
  • Jaime Butler, Vice President of Permian, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Jan Kulmann, Sr. EHSR Manager, Noble Energy
  • Janette Marx, CEO, Airswift
  • Jessica Hernandez, Lead Manufacturing Specialist, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Joann Christensen, Engineering Technology Manager, Aera Energy LLC
  • Johanna Hoyt, Geologist III, Aera Energy LLC
  • Jorge Haiek, IT Supervisor, Aera Energy LLC
  • Julie Munn-Sims, Principal, KPMG
  • Kara Byrne, Sr Proposal Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Karen McKee, Senior Vice President, Exxon Mobil
  • Katherine Culbert, CEO and Co-Founder, K and K Process
  • Kathy Lehne, CEO, Sun Coast Resources
  • Krista Caldwell, Mobility Manager, Worley Parsons
  • Kristie McLin, Petroleum Geochemistry and Basin Modeling Manager, ConocoPhillips
  • Lily Thomas, Lead Commodity Management specialist, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Lindsay Sander, Principal, Sander Resources
  • Maitri Erwin, Manager - NV, South America, CNOOC Nexen Inc
  • Maria O'Connell, Vice President of Quality, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Mary Van Domelen, President, Van Domelen International, LLC
  • Michele Harradence, Sr. Vice President, Gas Transmission & Midstream Operations, Enbridge
  • Michele McNichol, CEO, Arion Blue LLC
  • Monica Suman Krishnan, Technology and Deployment Manager, Chevron
  • Muhammad Imran Khan, Mari Petroleum Company Limited, Pakistan
  • Mystie Barrett, Process Specialist, Aera Energy LLC
  • Noor Alenezi, Lead Engineer, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • PaigePR Team: Paige Donnell, Kristen Quinn, Natasha Wilson, Megan Anderson
  • Pam Darwin, Vice President Africa, ExxonMobil
  • Patricia Conrad, Senior Customer Service Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Rachelle Kernen, Geologist, PhD Candidate and BP Intern
  • Rebecca Hofmann, Leader - Management Systems & Blockchain Strategy & Innovation, Equinor
  • Sarah Jane Walker, Senior Integration Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Shanta Eaden, Director, Global IT PMO, CPI, Weatherford
  • Sophia Washington, Vice President, IT Solution Delivery, EDF Energy Services
  • Valerie Wilson, Senior Technical Advisor, AIG

  

In addition to highlighting the winners, the GRIT Awards experience will feature keynote addresses from Geeta Thakorlal, president of INTECSEA, and Crystal Washington, a technology expert, author and futurist. The GRIT Awards will also invite a panel of experts to discuss the insights gained from the first-ever Energy Diversity & Inclusion Index, a survey Experience Energy released earlier this summer to get a gauge on the state of inclusion in energy.

 

NES Global Talent, a sponsor for the GRIT Awards, was drawn to the opportunity to honor these leaders, but also to generate thought-provoking conversations and ideas.

 

“The industry is working to build the workforce of tomorrow, built on diversity, inclusion and innovation. Part of that transformation means pulling together the brightest minds and recognizing those who are changing the industry from within. The GRIT Awards accomplishes all those things,” said  Vicki Codd, marketing director for NES Global Talent. “And we are thrilled to be involved.”

 

To sponsor or purchase tickets, click here.

 

For media inquiries, contact Mary Johnson at mary@pinkpetro.com.

 

About Pink Petro and Experience Energy:  Pink Petro is the leading global community and social enterprise aimed at creating the new future and ending the gender gap in energy. Using social technology, its mission is to elevate and connect individuals, companies, and industry to create an inclusive workforce and supply chain. The community has a presence in 120 countries in nearly 500 companies across energy in oil and natural gas, LNG, renewables, and nuclear. Experience Energy is the destination careers site for diverse talent in energy.  For more information, visit www.pinkpetro.com and www.experience.energy   

Skyler ObregonThis week in our series Profiles in GRIT, we introduce you to Skyler Obregon, Regional Compliance Counsel, U.S. and Canada, for Weatherford International, one of the world's largest multinational oilfield service companies, providing innovative solutions, technology and services to the oil and gas industry. Weatherford is also a Pink Petro member company.

 

In addition to her work in compliance, she recently founded Women of Weatherford (a.k.a. WoW) to support the company’s female employees around the world. The network formally launched earlier this year and has already built a membership of more than 200 women.

 

We spoke with Skyler about a variety of experiences she’s had throughout her career and her personal motto: “Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.”

 

We couldn’t agree more.

 

Read below for more from our conversation with Skyler.

 

PINK PETRO: What’s the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?

SKYLER OBREGON: The biggest challenge that I have faced in my career as an attorney was negotiating a master service agreement with a Fortune 100 client. As a junior attorney, I was tasked with renegotiating contract terms, and I was petrified. I had only been practicing law for two years, and the opposing counsel was a seasoned attorney with 30 years under his belt.

 

To prepare for these negotiations, I studied prior contracts and meticulously crafted my arguments. I knew the contract backward and forward and formed a negotiation strategy by anticipating what my counterparty might argue. 

 

When facing a tough challenge, there is always an element of uncertainty and fear. I kept a fortune cookie message aptly taped to my laptop, which said, “Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.”

 

I used that message as my motto. The challenge was great, and we reached an agreement. Overall, it was an incredible learning experience, and the opportunity made me face my fears. 

 

PP: What’s one mistake you made, and what did you learn from it? 

SO: When I graduated from law school in 2011, the market was saturated with young attorneys at a time when many companies were not hiring. Like most ambitious attorneys, I approached many large Houston-based law firms for an entry-level position, only to be repeatedly rejected.

 

I decided to take an unpaid internship with Federal Judge Melinda Harmon until the right position came along. During that time, I was approached by my father to join his oil and gas practice in Tyler, Texas. Judge Harmon started her career at Exxon and encouraged me, as a woman, to enter the oil and gas field.

 

With limited options and the opportunity to grow a relationship with my father, I decided to accept the job. During the year I worked for my father, I had broad exposure to oil and gas operators and service companies. My father was a solo practitioner who had grand ideas for me (his only child) eventually taking over his 35-year old oil and gas practice. It was a great idea, but only in theory, and after several months of traveling every week between Houston and Tyler and living with my father and stepmother, it became clear that taking over the business was not in the cards.

 

Looking back, instead of staying in Houston and trying to wait out the market, I took the easy way out by working for my father — the path of least resistance. To me, this was a bit of a misstep in my career. 

 

However, what I learned was this: Everything happens for a reason. I started reconnecting with people I met while in law school, one of those being the senior legal counsel for operations at Weatherford. And due to the experience I gained working for my father, I was able to intelligently discuss the oil and gas business and convey my interest and passion for the industry. Had I not had the exposure to oil and gas through my father’s firm, I am not sure that I would have been offered the position at Weatherford and I would certainly not be where I am today.  

 

PP: What’s been the most rewarding part of your career?

SO: I have had the pleasure of working for Weatherford for more than five years. However, like many industries, I saw a lack of women in the workplace and in leadership positions outside of our corporate office. Many women felt siloed, and there was not a formal support network within the organization.

 

After attending a Women of Energy event, I was inspired and decided that Weatherford needed a women's network to focus on women-driven initiatives and to provide a safe space to learn and communicate. My creation was Women of Weatherford or, more appropriately "WoW." This grassroots movement literally started with me walking into colleagues' offices and asking if they would be interested in establishing such a network. After gaining some traction with others in the office, I drafted bylaws and a WoW mission statement: "To engage, support, empower and inspire women in order to foster professional growth, advancement and leadership within Weatherford."

 

The timing was great as Weatherford was in the process of formalizing an enterprise-wide Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) program. About a year after starting the grassroots network, Weatherford launched a global D&I campaign and used the blueprint I established to launch three additional networks, Young Professionals, LGBTQ and Veterans. Together, we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable bringing their best selves to work.  

 

I am incredibly excited about WoW’s advocacy efforts, which include pushing for a formal maternity and adoption leave policy, nursing rooms in Weatherford facilities, recruitment of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through our internship program and changes to our recruiting process. WoW is proud to have also launched an internal website that provides resources, articles and podcasts centered on career development, self-care and work-life balance for women.  

 

PP: Who’s been a “gritty” role model for you and why?

SO: I am going to be cliché and say my mother, but for good reason. I am an only child, raised by a single mother. As a child, I had several health issues that unfortunately landed me in the hospital time and time again. My mother worked as a real estate agent. Although she worked long hours and late nights, she never missed a dance recital, ice-skating competition or tucking me into bed. 

 

In the late 1990s, she moved out of real estate and into energy, taking a job at Enron Corporation. In 2001, Enron started to crumble, and by the end of the year, my mother joined thousands of fellow employees who packed up their personal belongings and closed their office doors. To add insult to injury, in 2001, Houston was devastated by Tropical Storm Allison. We sustained two feet of water in our house and lost most of our items on the first floor.

 

My mother was unemployed for the first time in her career, and our house was literally under water. However, she did not miss a beat. She accepted a position at Baker Hughes, provided consulting services to Triad Communication in Washington, D.C., and started writing for the Houston Chronicle. She worked three jobs, sacrificing her personal life, to make sure that we were financially stable. During this time, she worked with the media and other organizations to advocate and ensure her fellow employees at Enron received proper severance packages. She consulted on the movie "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" by providing the producers with contacts to interview. She truly demonstrates all the characteristics of a great and "gritty" role model by being resilient, innovative, resourceful and compassionate.

 

We will be celebrating our next class of GRIT Award winners on Oct. 3. Join us — in person in Houston or for the livestream

 

The results are in, and we are not surprised to find so many of our wonderful supporters selected as honorees for the 2018 Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business.

 

The Women Who Mean Business awards honor Houston-area powerhouse businesswomen who have been carefully selected by the Houston Business Journal and its panel of industry experts. These deserving ladies have earned this recognition based on their career achievements, contributions to their company and city success, community involvement, and their leadership.

 

As a proud partner to Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business, we are pleased to congratulate these supporters of Pink Petro!

 

 Misty Rowe, cementing technology portfolio manager of Halliburton and Pink Petro advisory board member, has been selected as one of the twelve women to watch.

 

Christina Ibrahim with Weatherford, Sara Ortwein with XTO Energy, Tandra Jackson with KPMG US, Michele McNichol with Arion,  and Starlee Sykes with BP have all been named as outstanding leaders in energy.

 

We are so proud of all the strong female business leaders who have made this list, and we’re especially pumped for the ladies in our favorite industry—the energy leaders.

 

REGISTER TODAY receive 15% off the standard ticket price, please use the code: pinkpetro18

Anadarko stakeholder relations teamThe GRIT Awards is committed to honoring energy’s unsung heroes — the women, men and teams doing the heads-down gritty work of building a new future for energy.

At our first-ever GRIT Awards ceremony back in March, one of the teams we honored was the Colorado Stakeholder Relations team at Anadarko, one of the world’s largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies. Anadarko recently joined Pink Petro as a corporate member. With operations in Colorado, Texas and worldwide, the company is committed to developing, acquiring and exploring for oil and natural gas resources vital to the world’s health and welfare responsibly.

It’s also committed to doing that work in collaboration with the communities surrounding its areas of operations. That’s where the Stakeholder Relations team comes in: Its priority is to communicate with and listen to residents in communities where oil and natural gas development and neighborhoods coexist.

It’s not an easy job as the team strives to do whatever it can to help minimize the inconvenience our world-class operations have on the community when operations and urban expansion coincide.  The role has become vital to how Anadarko operates in the U.S. and beyond.

We spoke with members of the Anadarko Stakeholder Relations team — eight dedicated servant leaders — about how they work and why they love what they do.

PINK PETRO: Give us a look at the role Stakeholder Relations play in Anadarko’s Colorado area of operations.

The Stakeholder Relations team strives to regularly meet citizens with a sense of empathy and understanding to try to find common ground and build trust. They listen with respect and compassion. They attend community events on evenings, weekends and holidays to gain a better understanding of the community's values and build relationships. They answer the phone without hesitation when a stakeholder calls with an issue and tirelessly try to find solutions that will improve the experience of living near one of the nation’s most important oil and natural gas producing regions. When a solution can’t be found, they remain a resource for community members. They do all of this because they care deeply about the residents who live in the communities where we operate and are unwavering in their commitment to resolving the conflict that arises when oil and natural gas development occurs in urban areas.

 

PP: What’s one mistake you made and what did you learn from it?

When we first stepped out into the community to establish our social license to operate, the Stakeholder Relations team quickly learned that our efforts would need to go beyond a traditional communications campaign and that tailoring our operations to a growing urban setting was going to be key to changing public sentiment. However, in the beginning one of the mistakes we made was not challenging the internal status quo hard enough during the planning phase for new well development to ensure efficient communication was occurring across our organization. From land to drilling to completions and midstream construction, everyone needed to be informed at every step. We learned it is important to speak up and be persistent when presenting our understanding of the community’s concerns and the need to optimize the plan and improve the compatibility of our operations with the communities. Open and constructive debate leads to better solutions.

 

PP: What’s been the most rewarding part of your career?

As a Stakeholder Relations representative, you often meet with or speak to members of the community who are upset with the current circumstances relating to oil and natural gas operations. These stakeholders often direct their frustrations at our representatives. The most rewarding part of being a member of this team is seeing how the strategies employed to overcome this dynamic, such as active listening and empathy, can help to garner trust and build lasting relationships with residents.

 

One example of this is a resident with whom the team has a four-year relationship. The citizen initially called the Anadarko Colorado Response Line very upset at the prospect of having her home sandwiched by two large-scale oil and gas developments. By actively listening, investing the time to understand her issues, and doing what we could to lessen the impact of these temporary operations on her day-to-day life, we were able to build a meaningful relationship with this resident. She has even become a community advocate for Anadarko, often sharing her story about how much the team helped her and encouraging residents who are frustrated with oil and natural gas operations near their homes to reach out.

 

PP: Who’s been a “gritty” role model for you and why?

Our biggest role models are the men and women working in the field who recognize that it is essential to treat the community with respect. They were doing stakeholder relations long before the Stakeholder Relations team was established. These men and women take time during their day to say hello to a landowner or meet with a concerned citizen and share information. They know the importance of balancing the needs of the people who live near our operations and those of the company.

 

Our job is to support them and to work with them to ensure they are able to develop the resources all of us need every day to sustain modern life, while also addressing the needs and concerns of residents living near operations.

 

PP: Which community service activities/organizations have you been associated with and in what capacity?

Anadarko’s Stakeholder Relations team is regularly involved in finding unique opportunities to align values and build meaningful, long-term partnerships with the communities where we operate. 

 

One of the hallmark community partnerships the Stakeholder Relations team is responsible for is the Mead High School Energy Academy, a unique program designed to immerse students in all facets of the energy industry; from engineering, math and science to data management, welding and pipefitting. In addition to securing financial and in-kind contributions for the program each year, the Stakeholder Relations team was heavily involved in the ideation and development of the program and continues to be actively engaged as the program grows.

 

Additionally, the Stakeholder Relations team is actively engaged in the community in the following ways:

  • Supporting municipal community events such as festivals and holiday celebrations
  • Filling and delivering backpacks with much needed school supplies to students in need
  • Collaborating with local law enforcement to provide gifts for families in need during the holidays
  • Working with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for veterans and their families
  • Serving meals to residents in need
  • Serving on local nonprofit boards
  • Restoring local trails and outdoor recreation areas

Attend the GRIT Awards on October 3 -- www.thegritawards.com 

Geeta ThakorlalGeeta Thakorlal is the president of INTECSEA, leader of the Advisian Front End Hydrocarbons & Chemicals global business as part of the WorleyParsons group, a Pink Petro member and a keynote speaker at our upcoming GRIT Awards.

 

As of today, Geeta is also a member of the Group Leadership Team at WorleyParsons.

 

The appointment represents yet another milestone in a career filled with them. We profiled Geeta earlier this month when she shared the story of her first experience in the offshore sector, back in 1988 after the Piper Alpha accident in the North Sea. Geeta was part of a UK team that provided expert advice on the incident.

 

Now, as she joins the Group Leadership Team at WorleyParsons, Geeta becomes part of an exciting statistic within the company: 30% of the women in the company’s sponsorship program have made significant moves this year. Also noteworthy is the fact that women account for roughly 21% of employees at WorleyParsons and about 26% of the leadership teams within the company.

 

“I am honored to join this incredible team of leaders at WorleyParsons and look forward to contributing to the growth of our organization. It’s also an honor to be part of a company committed to developing the talented women within the organization into the next generation of leaders,” Geeta told us.

 

Geeta remains committed to the advancement of women in leadership and has been recognized for her contributions by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy in 2014, Consult Australia in 2015 and the Houston Business Journal, in the Women Who Mean Business in Energy category, in 2017.  Additionally, Geeta has also participated in the Chief Executive Women (CEW) networking group in Australia and is the Vice President of Lean In Energy.

 

Our congratulations go out to Geeta, and we look forward to hearing more from this incredible woman live at the GRIT Awards on Oct. 3!

Allison Lami SawyerAllison Lami Sawyer’s career is a study in the value of calculated risk.

 

Before the age of 30, Allison, a speaker at HERWorld18 earlier this year, abandoned her plan to start a company in nanoscale physics to co-found another disruptive business, Rebellion Photonics, which uses technology to help major oil and gas companies bring leak rates down significantly — in some cases by 90 percent within one quarter.

 

She built the business into a $5 million company with nearly 40 employees and then embarked on yet another adventure in unknown territory: politics. A political rookie, Allison is currently running for office in the Texas House of Representatives.

 

She’s also helping other women embrace calculated risks of their own: Two years ago, Allison co-founded StartHereNow, a startup weekend for women that focuses on early-stage women-led startups. The competition is part-incubator and part-pitch day, brainstorming session and hackathon and aims to create a collaborative environment for women to build impactful companies.

 

The next StartHereNow weekend will be held Sept. 29 – 30 in Houston. Up for grabs is a $10,000 grand prize.  

 

“We are excited that these prizes will help attract highly scalable, impactful businesses to the competition and also spotlighting the exciting things happening in the Texas startup environment,” Allison said in a statement.

 

StartHereNow is accepting applications for the competition (you can apply at the organization’s website), and it’s open to founders with startup ideas and team participants. Women who are interested in entrepreneurship or exploring startups are encouraged to join a team, and no prior startup or business experience is necessary.

 

The competition’s mission is to create a collaborative environment where women can bring to life ideas that they are passionate about and build companies that solve big problems. And Allison is proof that a little bit of risk can pay off in a very big way.

 

You can read more about Allison's career here. And to do your part to celebrate the gritty leaders in energy, register to attend the GRIT Awards on Oct. 3 in Houston! We'll be celebrating the industry's unsung heroes, and delving into the state of diversity and inclusion in energy and how technology will lead us forward. You don't want to miss it! 

We get this question a lot: What does it take to build a strong, inclusive company culture?

 

The answer is far from simple. Many companies try and fail to find the secret ingredient — free food, unlimited vacation time, open workspaces designed to foster collaboration. But in the course of all our work on culture and inclusion across a broad swath of energy companies, we have discovered three critical pieces that underpin every strong, successful company:

 

Mentorship. Environment. And networks.

 

Lean In EnergyWe’ve spent the past month talking through each of these elements. Last week, our focus was the importance of mentorship — specifically on the work we are doing through Lean In Energy, the nonprofit organization we founded in collaboration with Sheryl Sandberg’s global Lean In organization. 

 

In our story on the Women of Weatherford — the women’s networking organization taking shape within Weatherford International — we talked through the value of networks in advancing your career. We followed that up with a Coach’s Corner conversation with two executives from ConocoPhillips about how to leverage both internal and external networks — and why it’s important to have both.

 

TechSpaceAnd finally, we talked through environment and why space matters in building a strong culture — but not in the ways we usually think. It’s not about style or design (although that doesn’t hurt); it’s about bringing people together in a way that creates connection. Space builds an ecosystem of support, whether that’s within a single company or at a coworking space that plays host to entrepreneurs, small businesses and freelancers alike.

 

We also dig into these core elements in the Energy Diversity & Inclusion Index, the survey Experience Energy launched earlier this summer to gain first-of-its-kind insight into the state of inclusion in energy. We’ll be digging into the results during a panel discussion at the GRIT Awards on Oct. 3, so now is your last chance to fill out the survey and make your voice heard.   

 

Click here to take the survey.

 

And don’t forget to register for the GRIT Awards to hear the results of the Energy Diversity & Inclusion Index revealed live!

This piece originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle Gray Matters on August 24 2018

 

 

It's been a year since we met Harvey.

 

He was the monster that battered our city, dropped more than 50 inches of rain, flooded thousands of Texans, claimed at least 82 lives and cost billions.

 

It's also been a year since we came face to face with another monster named Harvey — Weinstein, the media mogul outed six weeks after the hurricane hit as an alleged purveyor of widespread sexual misconduct.

On their surface, these two Harveys appear to have little more than a name in common. But in this case, the hurricane and the man were more alike than they were different. They were two destructive forces that converged last fall and changed the course of my life and the lives of so many others.

Consider this a tale of two Harveys — and my journey through both.

I spent the first two decades of my career in energy, working for industry giants. I know the business well, and I love it. We talk a lot about technology these days, but innovation doesn't happen without energy. Energy powers the world. It's become a basic human necessity — worthy of Maslow coming back to life and revising his now-famous hierarchy of needs. First food, water, shelter and safety. Then, power.

We forget that — until a hurricane hits and threatens all the comforts of modern life.

When Harvey first descended on our city, our home was dry, fully charged, well lit. We had food, water, shelter, safety and power. We even had Facebook.

Then, late on Sunday, Aug. 27, the Army Corps of Engineers began controlled releases of the west side dams — an act of mercy for many neighborhoods across Houston, but one that came with a price. My neighborhood was forcefully submerged. My home took on several feet of water (which made us lucky — many homes experienced much worse). The notice we had was too late, and our cars were inoperable. My family — my 6-year-old daughter, my husband and our dog — was rescued by men we didn't know who showed up at our door with a boat. Later, I found out we lost our office, too.

I didn't realize in that moment that I would spend the next year of my life terrified of rain —worried like hell that, once it started, it wouldn't stop. That I was now facing the prospect of rebuilding the life I had quite clearly taken for granted. That I would slip so deep into the storm and what it took that I would wonder if I'd ever bounce back.

I had lost my power, and I didn't know how hard that would be.

I've always been resilient. My mantra before Harvey now seems prescient: "Never waste a good crisis," I would say, with a smile. Because with crisis comes opportunity.

That's true, no matter how large the crisis. I've learned that now. But when Harvey hit, all I could think of was the irony in me, the woman who'd always championed the silver lining, getting hit with the storm of the century.

Then, six weeks later, another Harvey hit: the New York Times broke the story of how the media giant — the man credited with making so many actors stars — had allegedly spent his career engaging in sexual harassment and abuse. It was big news, but bigger than that one story was the movement it inspired.

#MeToo began to take shape across social media, and women everywhere began sharing stories of the attacks they've suffered over the years.

Many of those women are famous; many of the men they outed are, too. But that wasn't the powerful part about #MeToo. The hashtag simplified the act of coming out, clearing a path for women and men — regardless of platform or star power — to come together and illustrate the extent of the harassment epidemic in our country and beyond.

I was one of those women, but the ability to share my story wasn't what I took from #MeToo. I run a business that advocates for the progress of women in my industry, but I didn't home in on #MeToo as a platform. What I saw in the movement was a very different way to handle a hurricane — and an inspiring way to regain power.

Rebuilding your self-worth and confidence is a humbling experience for anyone who has experienced trauma or loss. And loss is deeply personal. As Maslow said, the need for physical and psychological safety is paramount.

But #MeToo gave women everywhere an opportunity to restore their power. They didn't have to wallow in victimhood; they could take a stand — with hundreds of thousands of others around the world. And they could see the impact. Titans of industry have fallen because of two tiny words. That's not switching on a light; that's a power surge.

The same happened in the aftermath of the hurricane. Support, in the form of millions of dollars and thousands of people hours, poured in from around the world in the wake of the storm. Neighbors opened their doors to the displaced and homeless. A stranger in a boat motored up to my door.

It's been a long year. Some are back, but not the same, and many are still just getting started. Just as power is restored home by home, neighborhood by neighborhood, those who suffered at the hands of the storm are coming back — slowly but surely, and even stronger than before. This is what it means to be #HoustonStrong.

Looking back at all this, I've realized something: We've all got our own hurricanes to battle. And we've all got a choice in how we come back from it. We can linger in the pain and destruction, or we can find a way forward. We can isolate ourselves, or we can let others in and build communities of support. We can waste the crisis, or we can find opportunity in it.

I think you know what I choose.

Originally published in the Houston Chronicle on August 24th, 2018:  My year of two Harveys: #MeTOO and #HoustonStrong

If you’re attending a conference in the coming weeks, here are a few simple ideas to help you stay energised - both physically and mentally- over the course of the event.

 

Stay hydrated

Whether you’ve got an early morning flight to catch for a conference or are connecting with peers over a coffee during a session break, there is a tendency to drink A LOT of caffeine during this time. When you travel and attend events it’s important to remember to drink plenty of water to help you stay alert and focused. No matter where I am, I always try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day. A tip I’ve found useful is to carry your own water bottle. You can take this (empty) through airport security and refill it once you’re through.

 

Pick healthy food options 

One of the things conferences are notorious for are pastries! If possible, try and opt for healthier choices such as a yoghurt smoothie or a piece of fruit. Better yet, you could always bring your own snacks or a packet of mixed nuts. If presented with a vast array of food from the lunch buffet, try and only select meats, vegetables and salads. Avoid the more heavy carb options such as bread, pasta, cakes etc. This will help you feel less groggy for the next session!

 

Have a plan

Plan which sessions or talks you want to attend ahead of the event. During the break, write down 10 things you learned from that talk and then try and connect it to the work you are currently doing within your company. This will help you retain the information you just learned.

 

Have good shoes!

Usually at conferences you tend to do a lot of walking either around the exhibit hall or walking from session to session therefore it’s important you invest in some comfy shoes. I would not recommend getting new shoes and wearing them for the first time at a conference as you risk having aching toes and sore feet while you break them in.

 

Get a workout in

Personally, the best time for me to workout is in the morning. I feel more focused and I am generally more prepared for the day ahead. During conferences or conventions it might not be feasible to do this as the fitness centre might be overcrowded with people thinking the same as you! To counter act this you could go for a run outside or bring some transportable gym equipment from home, for example, resistance bands or a skipping rope. Alternatively, try and get to the gym during an off-peak period either after the conference or 20 minutes during lunch.

 

Step outside

Finally, make sure you find some time to step outside of the conference building and get some fresh air. Sometimes the oxygen may be limited within a venue and the lighting may make you feel mentally sluggish. By stepping outside for a few minutes, you’re getting more oxygen resulting in better brain functioning as well as improving your concentration skills so you’re ready to take on the next session!

 

 

Have a great event!

 

Beri is a health and fitness enthusiast and qualified personal trainer. She helps the busy and successful career woman who travels learn how to fully optimise herself in mindset and fitness, and how to develop a healthy body and attitude. She is based and lives in London.

Follow Beri on Instagram @berifit or email helloberifit@gmail.com