2017: Our Year in Review, and what a year it was!

Blog Post created by katie.mehnert Champion on Dec 18, 2017

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: 2017 has been one hell of a year.


Now that we’ve come to the end of it, we’re taking a look back at the highs and the lows. And the good news? When you take a step back and soak it all in, turns out 2017 was pretty incredible. It changed our world, both personally and professionally, and set us up for even more amazing experiences in 2018.


So here it is, our 2017 in review:


HERWorld17HERWorld17: Our second annual global energy conference drew more than 7,500 attendees — both live and on-demand — in 25 locations around the world. We hosted 50 awesome speakers, including: Jeffrey Hayzlett, the former CMO of Kodak; Gloria Feldt, founder of Take the Lead; Sarah Sandberg with Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Beth Powell with New Pig Energy; Susan Morrice CEO of Belize Energy; and Josh Levs, the global expert on modern dads at work. Our theme was Lean In, All In, Join In. And in the words of Ally, my daughter and “Ninjaneer,” it was epic! 


Experience Energy: This year marked the launch of Experience Energy, the only global careers platform for women in energy. The industry needed a way to access a high-quality and diverse pool of talent, and many of you were begging for it long before we launched. Women in energy needed a way to find compelling career opportunities in the industry. We brought all that together with a platform that not only unites impressive women with coveted jobs (like this one and this one and this one currently up for grabs), but also provides content to help you grow your career and increase your impact. And there’s only going to be more of that in 2018!


HendersonBeer, guns and babes in energy: I took a powerful stance this year on the proliferation of beer, guns and babes in images and marketing tied to energy. Particularly against Dan Henderson, CEO of Henderson Rig, who used all three to market a big after-party during #OTC2017. Quite simply: It’s offensive, rude, lewd and does nothing to brand our industry. It diminishes women and the work they do and the NextGen and it sends a message to the public that we’re who they think we are: greedy good ol’ boys who shoot guns and don’t care about our planet. You, our community, put the full force of your support behind me, and our voices were heard, loud and clear.


We're leaning into to energy in a big way: This was the year we launched on a wider scale, Lean In Energy, the global mentoring organization we created in partnership with Lean In, from concept to reality. And you all have fully embraced the opportunity: A thousand of our members have signed up to join or create Lean In circles around the world. We have filed our paperwork to turn Lean In Energy into a 501c3 organization. We’ve launched a fundraising campaign — which kicked off with a matching donation from Linda Ibrahim and her company, Vantage Drilling — to raise $100,000 for Lean In Energy in 2018.  Topping off a great year, it was great to meet with Sheryl Sandberg to talk more about how we can change things for our daughters and sons.  We're connecting to the bigger discussion around women in business, and that's something you can be proud of!


Harvey: The 2017 hurricane season wreaked havoc on so many across the U.S. and beyond. It tested us and challenged us to find the GRIT to persevere, even when things were looking bleak. And it reminded us to lend a hand where we could. Pink Petro joined efforts to provide professional clothing to women in need. We worked to give out  Instapots to victims of the storm. And we stayed open — even when it was tempting to shut down and hide from the world — because that’s what you do when things get tough. You stand your ground, rally and fight for a new normal.


Suzette ColsonHERWorld Connect:  Sometimes, though, you just need a little help from your friends. At HERWorld Connect in September, that’s what we got. We brought together some amazing women in energy to share stories of resilience — inspirational words when we needed them most. One of our favorites comes from BP’s Suzette Colson: “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. 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.”  


Resilience on the road: In the fall, I got to take the message of resilience on the road, with speaking engagements at Shell in The Hague and in at the Women in Energy conference in Bakersfield, California. I got to tell the sea of women and men in the audience that, when we embrace adversity, we can emerge stronger and more resilient. Resilience is a key skill to the game of work and life.


Pink Petro grows: This has been a big year for Pink Petro. We’ve grown 300 percent, despite all the challenges this year has thrown our way, and we’ve grown our team exponentially. Michelle Peavy joined Pink Petro as our Director of ‘Cool’ Careers — running our Experience Energy careers site and offering end-to-end recruiting services to companies looking for diverse talent. Veronica Frantz is now our Director of Membership — basically the engine keeping Pink Petro running, day in and day out. And Mary Johnson is Pink Petro’s new director of content — the one helping us tell the stories of our amazing members, their companies and industry. The hires were strategic, as push toward our overarching mission to bust the gender gap and create a new, inclusive future for energy.  


#MeToo: Just, wow. This grassroots movement has taken down some of the biggest names in business and is empowering women across the U.S. and beyond. It’s showing the world the value of an inclusive, transparent culture, and we love it. “We have to build a culture in business and in life that supports speaking up — not just as it relates to harassment and assault but about anything unsafe, unethical or unacceptable,” I wrote in a post on LinkedIn. “Yes, it’s the right thing to do, but also, the survival of our businesses depends on it."


Jen WelterHERWorld18 speakers announced: Preparation for HERWorld18 is in full swing, and we’ve already booked two amazing keynotes: Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL, and Melody Meyer, a member of the board of BP and AbbVie. Our theme is equally epic: We’re going to be talking about The New Energy Playbook — GRIT, which stands for Growth, Resilience, Innovation and Transition. Get excited, and get registered!


HERWorld Celebrate: At the end of a year like this, you’ve got to gather your friends, raise a glass and toast — that you made it through, that you’re beyond blessed and that the future is beyond exciting. That’s what we did on Dec. 7 at our new headquarters, TechSpace Houston. This community came together, shared some professional development insight, got a little silly and shared our collective wins — and as you can tell from this post, there were A LOT.


So it turns out 2017 wasn’t such a bad year — and that’s because of you. You energize us and motivate us and inspire us every day. Thank you for that. We hope to repay the favor in 2018.