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2017

Carmen Segovia has quite a few “firsts” under her belt. For example, she’s a first-generation Mexican American. She’s also the first member of her family to go to college.

 

Needless to say, she’s comfortable with forging her own path—which has brought her to her current role of Advanced Information Technology Business Analyst at Marathon Oil.

 

We caught up with Segovia to find out more about how she made her way to Marathon, as well as her best advice for other women who are hoping to make names for themselves in the oil and gas industry.

Getting Her Start

Unlike many people, Segovia didn’t discover the oil and gas industry after exploring her career options—in fact, it was a field she pretty much always knew she’d work in. “Born and raised in Houston, the oil industry was all I ever heard about,” she explains, “So, when the time came, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

 

With that in mind, Segovia pursued a degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston. While in school, she was involved with the Management Information Systems Student Organization (MISSO), which introduced her to Marathon Oil.

 

After being interested in what the company had to offer, Segovia applied for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund that Marathon sponsored, and was then brought in to interview for their internship program.

Climbing the Ladder

Segovia landed the Marathon Oil internship. But her drive didn’t stop there. She knew she needed to maximize that opportunity to set herself up for success once she graduated.

 

“My time as an intern only solidified the desire to work for Marathon full-time, so I made sure that I made connections and went above and beyond,” she says.

 

So, Segovia did just that. Her driven attitude not only meant she got to return for a second internship, but she also continued working there while she finished up her bachelor’s degree.

 

All of that hard work and commitment paid off, as Segovia landed a full-time job with Marathon following her graduation—after having already worked with the company for about two years.

A Day in the Life 

In her current role as an Advanced Information Technology Business Analyst, Segovia supports Marathon Oil’s SharePoint environment—Marathon’s enterprise-wide collaborative platform.

 

Doing so involves various responsibilities. “Some days are constant meetings with internal clients, ensuring that their business needs are being met, while other days are managing and completing projects and/or project work,” she says.

 

But it’s that very variety that keeps Segovia interested in her work. “With technology always changing, my days are never the same, which is what I like about my job,” she adds.

Life at Marathon

While Segovia loves her job, she feels just as confident that she found the right fit at Marathon. “I really enjoyed the company culture at Marathon when I started,” she explains. “The emphasis on the community, the flexibility, but—best of all—the people.”

 

Since then, she’s continued to find aspects of the company that she admires. One is the emphasis on flexibility for employees. “Whether you have a large family with kids and need to leave early for a school emergency or are single—like me—and need to leave early for a class if going back to school, or to take a test for a certification, there is always that flexibility,” she adds.

 

But, beyond that, it’s Marathon’s culture of inclusivity that she finds especially appealing.

 

“Marathon has different groups that target specific audiences,” she continues. “The MRO Women’s Network, for example, allows all women at Marathon to build connections with different women at all levels throughout the organization.”

Moving Forward

Looking toward the future, Segovia is excited to continue advancing in her career—all with the support of Marathon behind her.

 

And as a woman in an otherwise male-dominated field, she has some encouraging advice for other women who are looking to make waves in the oil and gas industry. “Be resilient and learn to adapt to change,” she says, “This is a great industry however, one must be ready to adjust when things aren’t going so well.”

 

When it comes to the very best career advice she’s ever received? Segovia recites a sentiment that it’s clear she built her entire career on: “Only you drive your career,” she concludes, “Always look for and take advantage of new opportunities that may come your way.”

Resilience.

 

It wasn’t supposed to be the theme of HERWorld Connect, which we hosted last week at the Hotel Derek in Houston thanks in large part to our sponsors, Merrill Lynch and BP. We were supposed to talk about how each woman is her own greatest asset.

 

But we realized, in the wake of such a devastating hurricane season, that part of being your own best asset is being able to bounce back, no matter what life throws your way.

 

Part of that ability lies in being prepared financially. So Susi Knight, assistant vice president and financial advisor with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, talked about health, wealth and purpose and the importance of determining what you want your wealth to do for you. We don’t like to talk about money, but we need it, particularly when disasters like Harvey come our way.

 

And then there’s the importance of solid coping strategies and a willingness to learn as we go. Our incredible panelists spoke to that piece, unpacking the challenges they’ve faced, how they survived (literally, in some cases) and what they’ve learned as a result.

 

Life challenges

 

Suzette ColtonSuzette Colson, head of settlements – NAGP at BP, talked about how she has spent her life conquering fear.

 

“As a child, I was very fearful. I was scared of everything,” Colson said. “I went to college and got that damn accounting degree. You know, I don’t even know if it was something I wanted to do but other people wanted me to do it.”  

 

Then, at the age of 28, she decided to give it all up.

 

“I bought a sailboat with my boyfriend. I had no experience sailing before, and then we went and sailed in the Bahamas for nine months,” Colson said. “It was one of those things that was super important to me because I decided not to be afraid.”

 

Twenty years later, Colson was diagnosed with triple negative stage 2 breast cancer. She was just 48 years old.

 

“I was so scared again. But again, I came back to how I felt when I decided not to be fearful,” she said.

 

Emily Fletty, the former director of talent management at Direct Energy, talked about a time in her career when she was working for an energy company that went through three reorganizations in the span of 18 months.

 

“My boss had been forced out. My CEO, who was a very inspirational leader, had left the organization,” Fletty said.

It was looking like Fletty’s job could be next.

“People talk about work-life balance, and I don’t think there is such a thing. There’s just life. Sometimes one takes priority over the other, and you just try to go where the need is at the moment. But I don’t think it’s possible to be so stressed at work all the time and then come home and be your best self,” Fletty said. “The stress started to get to be too much for me. I knew my role was likely to be eliminated, so I decided to leave that company.”

Jennifer Hohman, the director of information technology at ConocoPhillips, talked about a near-death experience that started when she got a fever that lasted nine days.

 

It never broke. She was rushed to the hospital. Her blood pressure crashed — twice — and she was put into a coma.

 

“I was dying,” Hohman said. “My husband remembered I had gotten bit by a flea and told my doctor … Come to find out I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, an extremely rare disease that can be fatal.”

Hohman survived, but recovering kept her home for eight weeks.

 

“That’s hell, by the way, for a working woman. Daytime TV sucks,” she said.

 

How They Cope

 

Colson survived her brush with death, too — in part because she learned how to focus on life after treatment.

 

“That was the big thing I kept thinking about, especially as I was going through treatment: that this pain will go away, and I’m going to need to remodel my bathroom. It helps you get through it to focus on other things,” Colson said. “It’s going to change. It’s not going to be the way you feel it is right now, no matter what you may be going through.”

 

Fletty ended up taking three months off after she left the energy company, which wasn’t easy for her.

 

“I have a high need for security,” she said. “The first thing I did was I redid my budget. And I broke up with White House, Black Market.”

 

“It was sad. We both cried, but we’ve all moved on,” she said as the crowd laughed. “And my daughter and I have spent a lot of quality time together, but we did a lot of things that required physical activity. So just taking care of myself physically, which I had not made time for during this period of stress and turmoil.”

 

Hohman's illness helped her learn to lean on others. It was hard. When friends would call and offer help, she’d still decline.

 

“Usually you’re so independent as a woman that you’re just like, ‘No I’ve got it all covered.’ And a friend stopped me and she said, ‘You know, it’s not just about you having to rely on other people. It makes them feel good, too,’” she said. “So my coping strategy was to try to pull myself back and let others just take care of me.”

 

Advice

 

Now, Hohman’s advice to others is to slow down. And listen.

 

“I was forced to slow down. I had no choice,” she said. “I wanted to go back to work after four weeks because I felt mentally like I could. My daughter told me, ‘No, you need a therapist, and you may have PTSD so you’re going back in eight.’”

 

True to her budget-conscious coping strategy, Fletty advised saving over spending in the face of a challenging situation.

 

“Save your money because that does give you so many more options that you won't have if you don’t,” she said.

 

And Colson reminded everyone that tomorrow is not promised, so cherish the present.

 

“Through my experiences, I’ve learned life can be very short. You never know what’s going to happen, so there’s a lot of people that plan for the future,” she said. “I do plan for the future, but not at the expense of the present. We tend to not live in the present, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”  

Too often, we measure loss on a large scale, by the billions of dollars in damage or the millions of people affected. But that doesn’t mean that we need billions to be able to help. Sometimes impact comes down to making sure a woman has a decent suit to wear into work every day. 

 

Not just one but two groups of women in Houston have launched efforts to provide professional clothing to those impacted by the storm.

 

So, if you needed proof that the women of Houston are an amazing bunch, there you have it.

 

HelpProfessionalWomen.com

Mission: "We want to make sure that all women who need it, will have professional attire to be able to look their best at the office."

Donations: These will be collected through Oct. 13. Any items donated after that will be donated to the Houston Bar Association Clothing Drive.

Shopping: Need clothes? You can request clothing online here. You can also shop in person on Saturday, Sept. 30 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 4265 San Felipe St., 12th Floor, Houston, TX, 77027 (Whitney Bank building, visitor parking entrance off Mid Lane). No appointment necessary!

For more information or to make a donation, click here.

 

RenewingHopeAfterHarvey.com

Mission: "Hundreds of women from around this city have joined together to clean out their closets and donate NEW & "gently used" clothing, shoes, hand-bags, and jewelry in the hopes of giving another woman hope to continue on and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey."

Donations: There are multiple donation centers around Houston. You can check out the group’s website for location information or to become a donation center yourself.

Shopping: The group will host a shopping day for the women of Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at Cotton Ranch Events, 5443 Katy Hockley Cut Off, Katy, TX. No matter what your career path or level of expertise, any woman needing to rebuild their wardrobe is invited. 

 

As a special treat, Marilynn Barber, a business wear style expert and author of “Dress Like You Mean Business”, will be on site at Cotton Ranch to help women select and coordinate wardrobe pieces so you leave with a coherent collection you can build on.  

For more information or to make a donation, click here.

We’ve all got items in our closet we’ve been meaning to donate. Now’s the time. The women of Houston need it more now than ever.

Hurricane Harvey and Pink PetroI haven’t seen that sky in days. It’s been all rain. So much rain. But here it is.

 

Many energy families in Houston are dealing with massive losses right now. Since the start of the storm, Pink Petro has leveraged our wide network of resources to connect people to what they need: rescues, meals, and shelter. We will continue to as recovery efforts begin.

 

But no matter what level of catastrophe our community suffers — and this has been by all accounts unprecedented — we will rebuild. Because that’s what communities do

 

That doesn’t mean this will be easy. My heart breaks when I think about what we’ve all collectively lost — the Houston police officer killed on his way to help flood victims, the family of six that drowned escaping the storm, the homes and billions of dollars in damage and energy infrastructure that's waterlogged. The heart of the energy industry in this country and in the world is hurting, bad.

 

Then I’m reminded, by the outpouring of support and resources, that we are not alone.  But we will need a lot more help from those who can help -- here in the USA but to all of you in the 120+ countries in our community.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Our friends at Women's Energy Network have set up a disaster relief fund through their foundation or donate below. They will match up to $20,000 raised through this fund, to the Red Cross.  Please share this with your networks so we can make a real significant impact. 

 

PINK PETRO STATUS

The Pink Petro headquarters and its employees were impacted and will continue to be impacted for a significant time.  However the company is continuing to move forward.   Please stay connected on our members app and on social media --- the Pink Petro community remains in tact.

 

Our story isn’t over yet.  A new day is here.  We will rebuild, together.

 

 

Katie Walthall Mehnert

CEO and Founder, Pink Petro & Experience Energy