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Posted on behalf of KPMG, one of our generous sponsors: 


The KPMG Global Energy Institute is pleased to invite you to our next Webcast: Winning the race for the customer.

The agenda topics include:

  • Customer focus in the utility industry
  • Improving customer experience
  • Operating consistently 
  • The connected experience imperative

Course objective: Following this webcast, participants should be able to provide an overview of winning the race for the customer and how utilities can provide individualized and enhanced services for residential consumers while still balancing service experience and expectations in a way that optimizes revenues.

Speakers for the webcast include: 

  • Jonathan D. White, Managing Director, Strategy, KPMG LLP
  • Jeffrey J. Mango, Customer Experience Lead, KPMG LLP
  • Martin Wells, Partner, CORPS Customer, Energy and Natural Resources, KPMG (U.K.)
  • David Conway, Director, TechS Nunwood


For more information and to register, click here

Melissa Stiegler in woman Engineer magazinePink Petro member and Emerson executive Melissa Stiegler was part of a feature article in the latest issue of Woman Engineer magazine.


In the article, Melissa, the director of global wireless product management for Emerson Automation Solutions, recalls a time in her life when she considered giving up on the engineering track.


“There’s no way to get around the fact that electrical engineering is a really hard program. There were times in college where I didn’t know if I would graduate, and it was hard to imagine a life as an electrical engineer,” Melissa told the magazine.


“What really turned things around for me was getting a co-op job at Emerson and getting hands-on experience. It showed me that I could do the real-life work of an electrical engineer, even if I didn’t love the coursework.”


Now she’s trying to pay that forward.


“I’m in charge of making sure our engineers are working on the right projects to solve our customers toughest challenges,” Melissa said. “I love working with our teams to solve problems. I believe the work we’re doing is really changing the industry, and, at the end of the day, making our customers safer. Being a part of this innovation makes me very happy to come to work every day.”


Congrats to Melissa on the recognition!


We’re always looking to highlight the achievements of our members. If you’ve been recognized in some way, let us know! Email me at


Just days before Women’s History Month comes to an end, two oil giants issued big announcements in the world of women and energy.


First, BP announced the appointment of the first-ever female head of its Americas business. Then, on Monday, news broke that Shell is naming a woman to lead its U.S. arm


We are beyond thrilled for these accomplished women — and for the companies that have chosen to elevate them. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Companies that embrace inclusion — especially at the top — are stronger and more profitable than their less diverse counterparts. In today’s global economic climate, we can’t afford anything less.


As our founder, Katie Mehnert, told the Houston Business Journal after the news broke: "There are a lot of things happening in this state around women in business. Companies are getting pressure from investors, stakeholders and, quite frankly, their workforces. Nobody wants to work where they don't feel included or valued."


So, who are these women?


Susan DioSusan Dio is the new chair and president of BP America Inc. She’s a 33-year veteran of BP and heritage companies and has worked in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Prior to her new role, she was the CEO of BP Shipping, where she oversaw the “review and reset” of strategy and operations, as well as the ongoing renewal of the fleet, according to the Houston Business Journal.  


“Susan’s breadth of operational and commercial experience gained with BP around the world — including leading our global shipping business, running a major refinery, and managing a chemical plant — make her ideally suited for the key role of representing BP in the U.S.,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said in a statement.


Gretchen WatkinsAt Shell, Gretchen Watkins is set to become president of the company’s U.S. arm. She comes to Shell after serving as both COO and CEO of Maersk Oil. She left that company in September, after Maersk Oil was acquired by Total, according to World Oil.


“This has been a difficult decision for me,” Watkins said in a statement at the time she left Maersk Oil. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way Maersk Oil has successfully navigated what I believe will come to be judged as historically challenging conditions for the industry, emerging as a high performing business. I remain firmly committed to leading the safe and successful delivery of our business performance until deal closure, alongside overseeing a smooth pre-integration process, as we take the business into new ownership."


In addition to BP and Shell, CGG, a geoscience company serving the global oil and gas industry, announced it was appointing a female CEO:  Sophie Zurquiyah joined CGG in 2013 after 22 years in the oilfield services industry, working for Schlumberger in global executive positions ranging from business, operations, functional to technology.


Together we are better

Posted by katie.mehnert Champion Mar 21, 2018

Last week, two bold, incisive female reporters from Bloomberg published a story on some of energy’s biggest events of the year.


They attended parts of CERAWeek in Houston. Then they attended HERWorld18. And they documented their experiences in a story that shines a light on the persistent gender gap in energy.


To those two reporters, I want to thank you — for being brave enough to tackle a big issue in a powerful industry. For being thoughtful enough to notice we need more voices and that all voices matter.  


I also want to thank the members of the Pink Petro community. I’ve always known this community is unrivaled in its passion, connection and support, and I’ve been inundated with phone calls and emails reminding me just how powerful we are when we come together. You have shown me that you stand behind everything we do, and you have reminded me why we do it.


I don’t think I’ll ever understand why changing the statistics around women in energy has to be so hard. 


That’s not to say I don’t understand change is a struggle. As all of you know, my family was hit hard by Harvey — as so many of our families were. That storm forced us to embrace a new normal, and I fought that new normal, hard. I cried for the things I’d lost, for what I’d have to rebuild. And I fumed when I thought of all the missteps that led us to this epic natural disaster.


But in a crisis, there’s no time for any of that. I had to wipe away my tears, stiffen my spine and get to work — because this city needed help, and all hands on deck. It was a crisis, and — like it or not — crisis puts our values in stark relief and our shortcomings on full display.


Energy, too, is in a state of crisis. Not the crisis of years past, but a crisis of talent and culture. We’re facing a talent shortage, like competing industries, as the bulk of our industry veterans approach retirement. We need innovative people and new ideas to fill those gaps in a fast-moving world. And we need a culture that will embrace transparency, authenticity and inclusion to keep those people where they are.


While I’m grateful to Bloomberg for seeing the value in HERWorld and Pink Petro, I also know the value CERAWeek and its organizers bring to the industry. We don’t have to live in a world where its one or the other. The new world order for capitalism is collaboration.  We are both committed to making this industry better and stronger. So let’s support each other at every step of the way.


Together we are better.  Now, let’s all get back to that work.

Gapingvoid agony of changeAt HERWorld18, we turned the energy gender gap on its head.


In an industry where women comprise about 20 percent of the workforce, most energy conferences have a similar percentage of female speakers. At HERWorld18, we too had a roughly 80/20 breakdown.


82 percent of our speakers were women. 18 percent were male.


One of our goals as an organization is to elevate the women in this industry. But we also want men to have a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation.


So we asked one of our male speakers — Jason Korman, CEO of culture design firm Gapingvoid — what he thought of the HERWorld18 experience, both as an industry outsider and a member of the gender minority.


Jason Korman headshotPink Petro: So what was it like, being a male speaker at a women’s conference?


Jason: Absolute hands down best part: No lines in the men’s rooms.


Many, if not most, of our stakeholders in the work that we do at Gapingvoid are female. So for me, it felt like a usual day at the office.


Why are our stakeholders very often female? First off, women are more empathetic. They care more. They have higher EQs, and I think they care about things that lots of guys don’t care about.


So when it comes to culture and the execution of it, sure there are a number of men who certainly are leaders in that area. But they are, in many ways, not the usual model.


PP: As a guy who specializes in helping companies embrace and adopt change, what’s energy’s prognosis for the future? How likely are we to make the cultural shifts necessary to thrive?


Jason: Here’s the thing about energy: There’s huge economic impact. Civilization is driven by it. So as long as everyone’s making some money, it doesn’t feel like there’s a huge incentive to change. The status quo is just fine. So the question is, where will change come from?


It reminds me a lot of the railroad business. In the late 1800s, the railroads ruled the world. The guys that owned the railroads were the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs of their time, and right under their noses came Henry Ford and automobiles. And within a generation, the entire playing field had changed.


I just wonder, with oil and gas, is it going to be a replay of the railroads? Will they be like so many other industries that, before they knew it, were out of business? What impact would a 20 or 30 percent reduction in demand have on economics, if and when alternative energy really hits stride?


The culture conversation might only start after a disruptive event.


Gapingvoid culture and chaosPP: Let’s talk about culture. Why is culture having a moment right now? What’s at stake in the culture conversation?  


Jason: This thing called ‘culture’ popped up because people are desperately seeking more connection and more meaning in what they do every day. That’s why you’ve seen the huge groundswell around entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, you get personal sovereignty and you get to see real impact from your work. There are so many industries where you turn up every day and never see benefit of your contribution.


What we see is this new approach to what work means and giving people a new relationship to it. And people are more than happy to deeply commit to something they see as worthwhile.


A compounding factor is that technology has made the world a much more transparent place, so companies that don’t treat their people well or connect their people to meaningful work can develop a reputation of being really bad employers. The only way to  fix that is to change the culture. So, you have leaders now who are understanding that if you want to hire great people and keep them, the way you’re going to do that is by making your business an attractive place to work. It’s not about the money.


Then the question becomes, ‘How do you do that?’ And then it starts to get interesting. 

1. Schwarzenegger plans to sue big oil for ‘First Degree Murder’.


At a live recording of "POLITICO’s Off Message" podcast on Sunday, the former California governor announced he’s in talks with several private law firms and preparing a public push to sue big oil for knowingly “killing” people by producing and selling fossil fuels as an energy source. 


“This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that,” Schwarzenegger said. “The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.”


“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me, it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” he said. “Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”


2. Corpus Christi expected to be fastest growing U.S. oil export hub.


The surge in U.S. oil production has Corpus Christi set to become one of the largest U.S. export hubs in the coming years.  With increased pipeline takeaway capacity, and a port expansion to accommodate larger vessels position the Texas port of Corpus Christi could see the most volume growth through 2023, stated analysts at Wood Mackenzie.


According to John Coleman, Wood Mackenzie’s Senior Analyst North American Crude Oil Markets, Corpus Christi will surpass 1 million bpd of exports by 2020, and those exports could double to 2 million bpd by 2023 as the United States vies to become a major player on the global crude oil market.


3. Technology is the rage at CERAWeek.


Liam Denning of Bloomberg Gadfly noted that the seats were all taken at the technology sessions during CERAWeek.  For an industry that has always lagged when it comes to technology, this is an indication that automation, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, Big Data, robotics and other new technology are finally making their way into the oil business.  Denning said, “Last year, getting a seat at them was easy. This time, it often paid to get there early just to nab a standing spot.”


Generally speaking, oil and gas is behind the curve when it comes to digitalization, trailing behind many other industries. This means there’s a ton of potential in the industry for improvement. The IEA said last year that the oil and gas industry could save roughly 10% to 20% on production costs by adopting a suite of data analytics and digitalization technologies.

KPMG Global Chemicals Institute is pleased to announce the launch of the twenty-fifth edition of REACTION Magazine, KPMG’s signature publication for the chemicals and performance technologies industry, which you can download here.


This edition takes a look at the progress chemical companies have made to close the gender gap, explores the growth of the Indian chemicals market and investigates the consolidation of the paints and coatings sector.


Chemical companies find new opportunities with gender equality

Research has proven that companies with better gender balance in leadership positions are more successful. Companies in which women make up 15 percent of management are 50 percent more profitable than those with less than 10 percent.7 However, the chemical industry - similar to most other industries - has a long way to go to achieve gender equality. We’re delighted to be joined by a number of senior female leaders from the industry including: Heidi Alderman, Senior Vice President, Intermediates, NA, BASF, Keri Lynn Fleming, Chief Human Resources Officer, Benjamin Moore & Co., Gloria Diana Glang, Vice President, Head of Advanced Surface Solutions, Business Unit Additives, Clariant Plastics & Coatings AG and Regina Mayor, Global Sector Head of Energy & Natural Resources, KPMG in the US to discuss what can be done to improve gender equality in the chemical industry. Please click here to read more.


Pro-growth environment pays off for Indian chemical companies

India is steadily moving up the ranks as a global economic power and a business magnet for investment. Key drivers for success in the chemical sector include proximity to strong growth markets, greater ease in doing business, and the continued development of petroleum, chemicals and petrochemical investment regions (PCPIRs). Backed by one of the strongest GDP growth rates in the world, the future looks bright for the Indian chemical industry. Please click here to read more.


Paints and coatings players seek more growth through consolidation

Like most of today’s chemical industry, the paints and coatings sector is going through a period of major consolidations to support growth, increase efficiencies and gain greater leverage with suppliers and customers.41 In 2017, Sherwin-Williams, a leading US paint maker, agreed to pay a record US$11.3 billion for its rival Valspar42, and PPG made repeated attempts to acquire AkzoNobel before ending its pursuit.43 More deals are expected in 2018.44 The question is whether consolidation will remain a viable growth strategy for this sector in the face of volatile prices, anti-monopoly laws, nationalistic concerns, and other factors worldwide. Please click here to read more.

To register for KPMG’s Global Chemicals Institute enabling you to automatically receive future editions of Reaction, as well as invitations to upcoming chemical industry Webcasts, please click here.

*Sources can be found on

Laura Noble cartoonLaura Noble is a fighter.


A literal fighter.


She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do — her whole family does — and can fell an opponent with a swift swipe of the leg and break wooden boards with her bare hands.


But she has also built her career as a fighter — an attorney who cut her teeth in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and now runs her own employment law firm, The Noble Law Firm, in North Carolina. In that role, she has the opportunity to help individuals experiencing problems at work and companies looking to improve their workplace culture.


I’m really looking for people to walk the walk,” says Laura, a speaker at HERWorld Energy Forum in Houston on March 8. “If everyone is saying the time is up, let’s actually look at the laws that prohibit this conduct and let’s write them in a standard that we can all agree upon.


Laura’s first job out of law school put her in the fray from day one. She joined the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor long before Brooklyn’s renaissance and rebirth as a hipster enclave.


“You just couldn’t beat it for intensity and excitement and relevance. You’re in the greatest city every day in the courtroom with amazing lawyers and judges and legal minds – and high crime,” she recalls.


It was a great job, but it was a 24-hour job. And as Laura considered starting a family, she decided to look for another job. She ended up at a civil litigation firm in New York — and found herself struggling with the exact opposite of workplace intensity.


“I was bored to tears. Going from literally sitting right in front of the cop car and being in the New York Post to, ‘Here’s this stack of documents to review’ — I just couldn’t do it,” she recalls.


So she left and joined Covenant House, a nonprofit in New York working with homeless and runaway youths.


“It was great — although ironically I was the first executive-level woman in the company to get pregnant and have a child, and it seemed that they did not know what to do with me back in the ‘90s,” she says.


Plus, it was another job that required her to work nights and weekends — which kept her far from her goal of having time for her family.


Laura decided to leave the workforce entirely for the next seven years, while she had her three children and shepherded them through to elementary school. When she decided to return to work, she was faced with the problem so many women experience: How do you work your way back into employment after an extended break?


“I was somewhat unmarketable at that point: ‘She’s a litigator. She’s had these high-profile jobs, and then she was a stay-at-home mom?’ So I started my own law firm,” Laura says.


It’s been a decade since she made that choice, and she’s been fortunate to build a business doing what she loves.


Employment law had this great combination of all my interests — business, entrepreneurship , civil rights and discrimination issues particularly workplace issues for women and pregnancy discrimination. It just seemed like the perfect fit for me,” Laura says.


She built the firm with the help of a mentor — another powerhouse female attorney and one of the best employment lawyers in the state of North Carolina who agreed to help Laura in those early days with insight and guidance, plus a few projects.   


Now, she employs a team of 10, including other attorneys and support staff. And she’s got more than a few wins under her belt. Her clients run the gamut — from wait staff employees fighting abuse and stolen wages to executive-level women battling pay and gender discrimination. Earlier this year, she represented two women who were whistleblowers on illegal wage practices in a case that went all the way to a jury trial. Laura and her team won the case on all counts.


Laura has also become an advocate for changing the laws to provide legal protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. Many states have no laws on the books that prohibit sexual harassment, and Laura is looking to conduct a 50-state survey to analyze where each state stands when it comes to these laws.


“What is encouraging is that there’s more and more and more talk. I feel like we are that drop in the bucket that is going to eventually overflow and change laws,” she says.


It’s also a matter of changing corporate culture, she says.


There are plenty of standards and practices for effective policies and procedures. They’re out there. We help people with them all the time, and if there’s a will to change, it will happen,” she says.

Danielle Hunter cartoonWhen Danielle Hunter was charged with helping lead the Chapter 11 financial restructuring of C&J Energy Services in 2016, she said it often felt like a fight for survival.


It was one of the hardest things I have ever been through,” Danielle says. “It required intense physical, mental and emotional fortitude to achieve the right outcome for C&J and our stakeholders.”


Danielle — executive vice president, general counsel and chief risk and compliance officer of C&J Energy Services, a leading Houston-based provider of U.S. onshore well services for oil and gas exploration and production companies — is proud to have helped see more than 4,500 employees keep their jobs by helping to guide C&J through the historic industry downturn and a successful financial restructuring.  C&J Energy Services emerged from Chapter 11 in January 2017 strongly positioned for long-term success and ready to take advantage of broadening opportunities as the market began to recover — just in time for the company's 20th anniversary.


After graduating from Tulane University Law School in 2006, Danielle worked as a judicial clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Tucker Melancon in the Western District of Louisiana. She then joined Vinson & Elkins as an associate in the corporate group in 2007.


She came to C&J Energy Services in 2011 and served as the vice president of compliance and assistant general counsel. In July 2011, the then 400-person company went public. After handling many acquisitions and strategic transactions and implementing governance and compliance policies and training programs, among other initiatives and responsibilities, Danielle was promoted to her current position in 2016 at the age of 34, becoming one of the youngest general counsels for a public company in the industry and the first female executive officer at C&J Energy Services.


With a “battlefield” promotion, she took on the role of general counsel during one of the most challenging times for the energy industry, and the darkest time in C&J’s history.  C&J Energy Services had taken on significant debt to finance a transformative merger transaction that was negotiated during an industry high but closed as the commodity process deteriorated rapidly during the industry downturn.


Just one month after her unexpected promotion and the shake-up of the former executive management team, C&J Energy Services filed for Chapter 11.  C&J Energy Services emerged financially stable just six months later, in January 2017, having eliminated nearly $1.5 billion of debt and expense.


We emerged right as the market was starting to turn, and while we still had many internal and external challenges to face, we were well positioned to take advantage of the recovery,” Danielle recalls.


During the first half of 2017, among other corporate objectives, Danielle helped complete the reorganized company’s initial public offering with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.


As general counsel, Danielle now leads a team of 11 other professionals (including nine attorneys) with responsibility for providing critical, solutions-oriented and results-focused guidance on the legal, risk and compliance aspects of the business, balancing the dual imperatives of company performance and corporate integrity.


An admitted and happy workaholic and obsessive foodie, Danielle enjoys Houston’s thriving restaurant scene, a hobby she tries to balance with a workout routine now mostly consisting of yoga and Pilates. She used to be an avid runner.


Danielle serves as an executive sponsor and advisory board member of C&J Energy Services Women’s Initiative, of which she is also a founding member.  


“I have often seen women struggle with a lack of confidence in their own abilities — women who are given a certain role and an opportunity to step into something bigger, but they struggle with how to own it,” she says.

Angie Gildea cartoonThe best advice Angie Gildea was given in her career was to focus on building value for the company she works for.  


Angie — an Upstream expert at KPMG and one of our speakers at HERWorld Energy Forum on March 8 — took this advice to heart and learned quickly how to understand what the companies she worked for valued and how to be “in the mix.”


This value creation has allowed Angie to spend 20 years serving global energy companies, become highly regarded as a leading expert in the Upstream sector and still have time to spend with her two young children.


As a woman working in consulting, value creation has allowed me to have the right model for a work-life balance,” she says. 


By bringing value to the table, Angie was able to work part-time while her oldest child was young - without missing a beat. Her clients trusted and counted on her input.


And they were willing to work within her time constraints during this period of her life. As a single mom, value has been instrumental for Angie throughout her career.

Getting started in oil & gas


While Angie’s best known for her expertise in the Upstream sector, she got her start in Downstream. Her first job in the oil and gas industry was with Downstream consolidation between Shell, Texaco, and Saudi Aramco to form Equilon and Equiva Trading.


In this role, Angie helped prepare the newly formed company for the impending Y2K, back when businesses were concerned that the year 2000 would wreak havoc on computer systems everywhere. She thoroughly loved working with the trading organization and refineries and learning more about the downstream business.


Angie then spent time in Upstream working with companies like BP and Chevron on their digital oilfield programs. Her favorite aspect of those projects was spending time in the field where she had the opportunity to work with both onshore and offshore assets. 


In total, Angie spent 16 years in the energy sector of management consulting at Accenture. Now, at KPMG, she serves as a principal in the Energy Practice, global lead partner for Chevron and America’s lead for the ENRC sector. 


Talking GRIT


On the subject of GRIT — growth, resilience, innovation, and transition — which is our theme for HERWorld this year, Angie believes it takes all those elements to find success in the energy industry. To her, GRIT defines those who are naturally curious and want to solve problems. They have passion, persistence and determination.


In today’s world, where there is so much competition beginning at early ages in life, she feels that GRIT and empathy are the two key factors that will set young people up for success in life.

Globalization and women in the Industry


Angie is energized by the industry’s movement towards globalization over the past 20 years. Since the mid-90s, the landscape has been changing. The transition into the dot-com era was the start of business being done differently. 


Globalization has allowed companies to employ workforces across the world. The mid-2000s brought about the digital oilfield and new technology that was a true game changer.


As for women in energy, Angie is excited about their steady progression. She believes that right now is an exciting time for women. And she is extremely grateful for trailblazers like Melody Meyer (another HERWorld18 speaker!), Janeen Judah, Claire Farley, and other influential women leaders in the industry. Angie recently attended an event honoring these influential women.


It was a good reminder of how much they did to pave the way for the rest of us. Now we have so many more opportunities in the energy sector, she says. 

Colleen Layman cartoonThe moment Colleen Layman dropped out of college was the moment her career began.


She was living in Pennsylvania and decided to press pause on her education. She needed a job, and her dad knew someone who offered to help — the security guard at a local power plant in Pennsylvania.


She had the technical skills necessary for the job — she spent her childhood working on cars with her dad — and she passed the requisite tests.


“And the next thing I knew, I was an operator at a coal-burning power plant,” says Colleen, now the senior vice president and director of professional engineering services with HDR, an architecture and engineering firm headquartered in Omaha, Neb., and a speaker at HERWorld Energy Forum in Houston on March 8.


She was the plant’s first female employee, and throughout her career, she’s grown accustomed to being one of very few women in the industry. As a result, she’s become deeply committed to supporting mentorship among women in energy — first on the board of the Society of Women Engineers and now on the board of Lean In Energy, the nonprofit Pink Petro created in partnership with Sheryl Sandberg’s global Lean In organization to provide mentorship opportunities to women across the industry.


“This is an industry that has given me so much, and I’ve been lucky to have great male mentors. But I want women to have the choice of female mentors, too,” she says. “These are tough cookies. These are strong women, and they need those role models to look up to. You have to see her to be her.” 


Colleen spent four years working for the plant. In that time, she also finished her engineering degree. That allowed her to move into an engineering position, designing power plants and building combined-cycle, gas-powered power plants with what is now Worley Parsons.


The job put her out in the field, solving problems on site. After a few years, she earned a site assignment as resident engineer building two coal-burning power plants in South Carolina.


“It was the most incredible experience of my life,” she recalls. “It taught me a lot about being an engineer, but it also taught me a lot about being a person.”


It also taught her to stand up — not to the men who comprised the majority of her colleagues, but to the handful of female pipe fitters and welders who had a habit of ridiculing her day after day.


“It was really cold one day, and I didn’t have my jacket with me. I found this pink hoodie. This was really vibrant pink. So I was walking around, and these women said, ‘Oh honey, this is a construction site. We don’t wear pink on a construction site.’ And I said, ‘Sweetie, I’m management. I can wear whatever I want.’ And that was the day I learned to speak up,” Colleen recalls.


The guys on her crew cheered for her — and started buying her pink everything to show their support.


Now pink is kind of my signature color,” she says. 


Once that project wrapped, Colleen went to work for Bechtel Power in Frederick, Md., managing the firm’s water treatment engineering group.


“I got to see the power industry around the world. I built projects in Russia and South America and India,” she recalls. “It was challenging but I learned a lot from it.”


More than five years ago now, Colleen left Bechtel and joined HDR, starting in the firm’s power sector and eventually landing a promotion to manage all the private sector technical resources and a team of 1,200.


“The power industry is in a time of dramatic change. We’re shutting down all of the coal-fired power plants. We stopped building nuclear power plants. We’re in the middle of a renewables renaissance,” Colleen says.


“Honestly, I think it’s a lot of the women helping push that change forward,” she adds. “Women want to do good. Inherently in our brains when we choose careers, we want to do something that we can be proud of, that can improve the world in some way.

Aimee Blaine cartoonAimee Blaine’s life is a study in resilience.


Now senior vice president, technical for Aera Energy in Bakersfield, Calif., her career got off to a strong start. She joined Mobil as a drilling engineer fresh out of Louisiana State University, then moved to reservoir engineering. By the time she was 31, she was a technology manager for Aera, which had been formed during the merger of the California assets of Mobil and Shell.


Then, in 2004, two years into her management role, Aimee was diagnosed with cancer — Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.


Her son was a year and a half old at the time. Her career was on the right track. She had a loving husband with a fulfilling career of his own. And now, cancer.


But Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is highly curable. Her chances of survival were good. She dug in and signed up for 13 weeks of straight chemo as part of an aggressive, then-new treatment plan at Stanford.


I said, ‘I want to get this done. It’s 85 percent curable. I’m going to work through it and be done,’” she recalls.


Aimee, a speaker on our Resilience panel at HERWorld18 in Houston on March 8, had no idea that she was in for the toughest battle of her life.


When she began treatment, she was diagnosed at stage 2. She relapsed the fall after she finished treatment and was diagnosed at stage 4. Her only option was a bone marrow transplant — and taking a year off from work.


The transplant saved her life, but it didn’t cure her. And complications from the surgery left her with a very rare disease called bone marrow necrosis, which meant her bone marrow was dying.


“That really compromised me. After that, my immune system never really rebounded. It took years,” Aimee says. “When I talked to my doctor about going back to work, she said, ‘Are you crazy? Not only is your cancer back, but you have something that is killing your bone marrow that we can’t even really figure out.’”


Her career was off the table — at least for the time being.


It was at this point I realized, ‘forget about my career. My career is over. I’ve got to figure out how to get healthy and focus on my child,” Aimee recalls.


For the next few years, Aimee suffered multiple relapses. Then, five years after her diagnosis, she was accepted into a clinical trial at Stanford and started taking the then-experimental drug that would save her life.


She had 13 tumors when the trial began. Now, she’s cancer-free.


“I finished the trial at the end of 2010, beginning of 2011. And my doctor said, ‘I think you’re OK.’ And I said, ‘So what am I supposed to do now? I’ve lived my life for the past seven years not knowing what the next year was going to bring. And my career was non-existent. I just cut it off because that was just the way I had to deal with things,’” Aimee recalls.


“She gave me the confidence that we know how to deal with this and what works for me now. She said, ‘You do what you want to do; don’t worry about this,’” Aimee says.


So she called Aera and asked for a job. Aera said yes.


That’s my story. Some people called me crazy for going back to work. I think I’m fortunate that I work for such a terrific company that they gave me another chance,” Aimee says.


Now, as she looks back on her cancer journey, she sees parallels between the resilience required to battle an illness, and the resilience the industry needs to thrive in a rapidly shifting reality.


When you’re resilient, you’re able to overcome things because you can see the other side. You have a vision for it, and you stay true to that,” Aimee says. “The oil industry has gone through a downturn, and I see that it’s refreshing right now. There are a lot of new opportunities out there. There are a lot of exciting things that our company is doing right now.”

Carol Battershell cartoonCarol Battershell is principal deputy director in the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, one of the Agency’s most senior executives. At the DOE, she has led multibillion-dollar technical programs. She ran the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy field operations office, which at its peak was responsible for approximately $7 billion of grants, research and construction. And she was a key contributor on two multi-agency energy policy reviews.


Suffice it say, she’s kind of a big deal.


That’s why we’re thrilled Carol will speak at HERWorld Energy Forum in Houston on March 8 (Get your tickets here!). Until then, read our interview below to learn a little bit more about this incredible woman in energy.


Q: Tell me about your first job in energy. How did you get interested in this sector?


I started as an environmental engineer in a refinery in my home state of Ohio. I came into energy through my interest in the environment: There were summers when we couldn’t swim in Lake Erie because it was too polluted). I have stayed in energy for 35 years because energy is the most fascinating area I have every encountered — essential to our way of life, impacts GDP, big part of geopolitics, highly technical, related to national security.


Q: Tell me about your role now? How has your career brought you to this position?  


I am the deputy of the Policy Office in the Department of Energy. I worked 25 years in industry in conventional and alternative energy. I saw how the lack of regulatory certainty and policies that really understood the industry could hurt companies. Now I work on “all of the above” energy policy for the U.S.


Q: Our theme for HERWorld — and really for 2018 as a whole — is about GRIT: growth, resilience, innovation and transition. What does GRIT mean for you?


I have been thinking a lot recently about the word “resilient” and energy. The people working in energy need to be adaptive and resilient as technology advances and energy discoveries continually change the comparative prices and geography of the primary energy portfolio. This also relates to energy infrastructure, which needs to be reliable and resilient as it is exposed to extreme weather and cyber threats.


Q: What excites you about energy now? And what are the biggest challenges the industry is facing, in your view?


I am usually excited about the biggest challenge so same answer for both. I am energized to be working on understanding digitization opportunities for the industry, as well as the cyber security threats they pose.


Q: What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?


As a leader, you should learn and adapt to how each of your staff needs to be managed and motivated. You should not expect all of your team to adapt to the one management style you prefer.


Q: What’s been the biggest personal challenge you’ve faced in your career?


I change jobs frequently. I find people know you for what you are doing right now. I have started over with nearly a blank slate again and again in new cities, new countries, new functions and new sectors. Learning a brand new job takes effort and determination; but I really enjoy that learning. Re-establishing a track record and credibility for expertise and competence, however, is very challenging (especially when you are female).


Q: What are your thoughts on the state of women in energy now, in 2018? What excites you about our progress, and what continues to hold women back?


I am excited about the progress I have seen over my 35-year career. There are many more women in the energy field, which shows an improvement. And just the presence of more women, for me, improves the work environment. An area I see for further progress is bringing more men into helping and seeing that issues like diversity and work-life balance are important for them, too.


Q: Tell us something about who you are outside your career. Any driving passions that define you?


I think I am an explorer.  I love the world — how the cultures, landscapes and animals vary. I have visited over 40 countries. And over the last several years, I have started exploring a new part of the world — under the sea. I am leaving in mid-March for a week with whales, giant mantas and sharks.

Tauseef Salma cartoonDespite her passion for work and a Ph.D. from Rice University, Tauseef Salma had a difficult time finding her first job in energy. Many offers turned elusive in the absence of having permanent residency at the time of graduation.


While at Rice, Tauseef studied the ability of genetically engineered bacteria to degrade hydrocarbons in the presence of surface active agents. A similar concept was later used to disperse the oil during the massive spill in 2010.


“Being an international student, the odds of finding a job were limited,” she says. “Most companies hired primarily U.S. citizens or permanent residents.”


Tauseef, a speaker at HERWorld Energy Forum in Houston on March 8, landed a post-doctoral fellowship at Oklahoma University, where she spent the next five months. Her position at OU began just three days after submitting her thesis at Rice, and she was responsible for the evaluation of proppant placement and real-time monitoring of proppant flowback from the fractures using fiber optics — a stimulation procedure now commonly referred to as “fracking”.


When Tauseef arrived at her new job, she realized quickly that it was going to be a humbling experience. The task was daunting and the team she was working with had an experienced staff of technologists and technicians with over 30 years of oil and gas experience. Tauseef had to define the experimental protocols that this seasoned team was expected to follow.


I had the least amount of hands-on experience, yet I was responsible for leading the research because of my formal education,” she says.


Plus, only three months into the role, she was informed that her research funding was coming to an end. But Tauseef harnessed the power of her team to design experiments — and, ultimately, developed her own confidence in the process.


Within just five months, through a collaborative effort, Tauseef was able to present her results at an SPE conference in San Antonio and submit a proposal for future research.


A longstanding career at Baker Hughes


As her time at OU began to wind down, Tauseef came across a job at Baker Petrolite. The timing was ideal for her to make the move. She completed her studies at OU and then joined Baker Petrolite as a senior development engineer in the production chemicals business in November of 1997.


The next two years brought a downturn in oil. So Tauseef worked harder than ever to create and demonstrate value for her company.  Over the span of next 20 years, she had the opportunity to travel across the world to multiple countries, many remote oil fields and offshore operations. Her first big break came in 2009, when she was selected to be the first chief engineer of Baker Hughes at the enterprise level. This step offered the opportunity to develop and implement strategies at the enterprise level, build influence and develop a very large professional network.


Two and a half years after serving as the first chief engineer and setting up a common design review process and reducing the risk in design in the technology investments, Tauseef was asked to lead the departments of sustaining and testing engineering for drilling and evaluation. Coming with a production background with her strengths in commercializing new technologies and process, she was able to work with a team of 140 engineers and technologists in drilling and evaluation, to deliver a new product revenue of $150 million in less than one year and a team that was recognized for their above-and-beyond contribution.


After a very successful turnaround in the drilling and evaluation world, she was then offered the opportunity to lead the P&L for Trinidad, which encompassed the Caribbean market. To date, the Trinidad team has maintained excellence in health, safety and environment (HSE) for five consecutive years. The Trinidad team won performance excellence for three years in her tenure as well as delivered its record year with 50 percent year-over-year growth in 2015 with perfect HSE. (Perfect HSE means no accidents, no recordables and no harm to the environment.)


After the Halliburton acquisition was called off in May of 2016, Tauseef was appointed to be the first female vice president of technology for Baker Hughes in over 115 years. After the merger with GE, she is now the vice president of global chemicals at Baker Hughes.  


“I have come full circle over my 20 years of tenure, with 11 different roles at Baker Hughes. I am now responsible for the global chemicals business at Baker Hughes in its entirety,” she says.


Tauseef cites several key factors that helped her reach her current level of success: A strong commitment to execution, organizational agility to overcome difficult challenges, sharing her wins with the team, a passion to learn and teach, being an early adopter and an agent of change, self-reflection and the willingness to maintain optimism and faith in the face of adversity.


When asked her thoughts about GRIT: growth, resilience, innovation, and transition – our theme for HERWorld — Tauseef says she firmly believes innovation will enable the transition of the energy industry into its next phase, which will, in turn, enable growth.


“For existing companies large and small, the key to success and a competitive advantage will come from the ability to be an employer of choice, speed of innovation and attracting new talent with new skills to develop resilience,” she says.


The Future of the Energy Industry


Tauseef is excited about the future of the industry. She believes that the key challenge (and opportunity) will be its ability to adapt to new developments in analytics, predictive controls, artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and manufacturing space.


She feels that women in the industry are still on a tentative path.


“While focus on diversity and growth cycle enabled filling the pipeline with a higher number of females in 2011-2013, recent reviews of the percentage of women in management roles remain similar to the low values encountered in the tech sector. Women reaching executive ranks remain in the single digits range at an organizational level,” she says.

However, Tauseef is hopeful about the future.


The most recent downturn has enabled the C-Suite to be filled with a generation of leaders in both the public and private sector — people who are more open to and better champions of diversity in leadership and workforce,” she says.

With U.S. crude production on the rise and the U.S. the verge of becoming the world’s largest oil producer – overtaking typical powerhouses such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, the idea of U.S. energy independence is on everyone’s mind and a topic of many conversations lately.  The idea of U.S. energy independence isn’t a new idea.  Nixon declared war on foreign oil in the 70’s.  In 2006 George W. Bush said the U.S. is, “addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.”  And it’s easy to see that Donald Trump is keeping to his promise to open the floodgates for US oil.  So, this brings up a couple good questions…


Is U.S. energy independence a good idea?


Well, on the surface, the thought seems like a good idea.  The U.S. imports over 60% of their oil from questionable locations around the globe, exposing our economy and politics to numerous world pressures, stresses and problems.  Our large imports also increase and our already massive trade imbalance, while simultaneously filling the pockets of countries like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela—not necessarily America’s list of best friends.  So, when you think about it, energy independence sounds like a pretty good way to move away from all those troubles.  Right?  Maybe… but maybe not.


First of all, currently the U.S. doesn’t have a “real” substitute for the oceans of oil we import.  Yes, American drilling is increasing in 2018 to levels we haven’t seen in years, but at this point, can that really replace what we are importing.  I don’t feel like we’re quite there yet.


“Well, Renewable energy is up and coming and can help offset the need for foreign oil, right?”


Not really.  Even if we had fleets of superefficient cars, solar panels on every roof, and wind turbines on every hilltop, we’d need decades to replace the current oil infrastructure – and that would take lots of energy in the process – AKA oil.  Somewhat ironically… to build the energy economy that we want, we would need to lean heavily on the current energy economy that we have.  However, this doesn’t stop the renewable lobbyists like wind and solar from pushing their agenda to get subsidies and advance their own sectors by playing on the fears of Americans being dependent on foreign oil. 


So, let’s return to our first question...  Is U.S. energy independence a good idea?  Yes, but it’s not as clear-cut as people would like you to believe. 


The better question might be, “do we have energy security?”  Regardless of where our energy is coming from, do we know we have a secure source of it long into the future?  That’s the answer we want to say YES to!  If we can get it cheaper by importing it, why not as long as it’s a secure source?  Let them use up their oil before we use up ours!  But we should also be Rolling out new technology as soon as possible because it takes so long for it to take hold. 

Colette Honorable cartoonThe word “grit” means a lot to Colette Honorable, the former commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and a speaker at HERWorld Energy Forum on March 8.


Originally from Arkansas — and still bearing a slight trace of a Southern drawl — she introduces herself as a “grit”: a girl raised in the South.


But she’s also a prime example of another kind of GRIT, with a career built on the four themes of our third annual forum: growth, resilience, innovation and, above all, transition.


The short version of Colette’s story goes something like this: She’s a lawyer by trade — now a partner in the energy practice at Reed Smith in Washington, D.C. — who worked in the public sector for a number of years. She worked for elected officials and public officials, and eventually became one of the latter in Arkansas. She led a national nonprofit supporting state utility regulators, and eventually got a call from the White House to come run the FERC.


But the fascinating part of Colette’s story is in the details.


For one, she wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill attorney. She was driven to the law — and her alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law — by a passion for public interest. She helped women who were being abused get out of their marriages. She represented those who were injured and unable to work secure social security disability benefits. She advocated for children and the elderly. 


It was a very powerful thing to use this new law degree to help people when they needed it most,” Colette says. “I just wanted to try to save the world. As a new lawyer, it was inspiring. It was humbling. I felt so many things about that role and just proud to be in a position to help other people.”


As her legal career progressed, Colette took on a variety of roles, including serving as chief of staff for the Arkansas attorney general’s office, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners — the first African-American to hold that position in the organization’s 125-year history.


“In all of that work, I had to learn how to work well with people with whom at times I did not agree. I had to lean on what I learned in the South — treating people with respect and being pleasant and professional even when I abhorred the position someone took,” Colette says. “It was very good to learn how to be civil while being strong.


Then, in August of 2014, she got a call from the White House, with a request from the Obama administration to serve as commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissionan independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil.


A month later, her husband and partner of nearly 30 years died suddenly and unexpectedly, the tragic result of complications from a routine medical procedure.


Colette had accepted the FERC nomination, but now she was unsure. The move to Washington had been a family decision. Now she was a single parent, with a teenage daughter to consider.


In the end, though, it became family decision once again. Her mother had recently retired and offered to join Colette and her daughter in D.C. full time.


We’re three generations of fearless Southern women living together under the same roof,” Colette says with a laugh.


“I have found the strength to not only overcome and persevere but now to reinvent myself. And I think, as women, it’s important that I share that story because other women go through challenges, and they don’t need to just see someone sitting in an ivory tower,” she continues. “When you see what people have overcome, that is how we help one another.”


Colette went on to serve as commissioner of the FERC for two and a half years, from 2015 to June 2017.


“Our role is to oversee the electric system — the grid — and we addressed and made decisions on matters concerning millions and billions of dollars,” she explains. “So the stakes are high. The system is complex. Our ability to work well with state regulators was important, and our ability to serve well and serve the industry well was important — in ways only energy geeks would appreciate.”


In 2017, when her term came to an end, she learned that both sides of the political aisle would support her pursuit of a second term. But in the end, she declined.


“There were a number of ways that job allowed me to see not only things in this country, but in the world that I would have never imagined,” she says. “I also realized a greater potential for myself and my family by having had these opportunities.”


And it was time for her to start exploring that potential.


Colette joined the D.C. office of Reed Smith and is now part of the firm’s Energy and Natural Resources Group.


“I knew Reed Smith would be home for me because they value relationships. They value diversity and inclusion, and my mentor at the firm, Kyri Evagora,  said, ‘We want you to come here and just be you. That’s all we want,’” Colette recalls. “That’s important for women in particular to work in a place where they’re comfortable, where they can be their best and authentic self and where they can be supported in their work.”


Since she joined the firm, she has volunteered to serve as co-chair of Reed Smith’s women’s initiative, called WINRS — an extension of a deep commitment to supporting women. Colette created an international mentoring program for women a few years ago — the Women in Energy Mentoring Program — that pairs mid-level professional women with leaders in energy.


“I’m grateful to have had opportunities when people saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and I think we have an obligation as women to tap that in each other,” Colette says. “I’ve had to learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable because that’s how we grow.

Dawn Lima cartoonDawn Lima — a mother of three boys — knows how important flexibility can be at work.


“I am supportive of adjustable work hours, job sharing and telecommuting opportunities, and am proud that by being where I am in my career, I am able to help facilitate that kind of culture,” she says.


Dawn, director of subsurface and development for Bonanza Creek Energy in Denver, Colorado, helped to develop part-time opportunities for her team within the $1.2 billion energy exploration and production company to promote the adoption of better work-life balance.


As a chemical and materials engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in oil and gas, Dawn, a speaker at HERWorld Energy Forum in Denver on March 8, leads an integrated team of petroleum engineers and geologists in enhancing the results of wells and solving issues concerning the recovery of the subsurface for Bonanza Creek.


For Dawn, working in the male-dominated field of oil and gas has never felt unusual.


“I attended the Royal Military College of Canada,” she says. “While I was studying to become a chemicals and materials engineer, I also was training to become a commissioned Air Force officer.


Her work took her to many countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, she says.


“These were places where gender roles and the attitudes toward women were very different than in North America,” Dawn says. “I certainly faced adversity but always handled it by maintaining a high level of professionalism and competency in my role.”


By doing its job well, however, Dawn says the industry now faces a challenging economic environment.


“Our horizontal wells and other technologies are so efficient that we have been able to produce a lot more oil and gas,” she said. “That becomes a problem when there is a lot of product on the market and the demand for said product has not kept up with the pace of supply.”


There has also been a lot of negative press surrounding oil and gas, which makes it more difficult to attract college graduates into traditional energy companies, she says.


“We now are not only competing for talent with other companies in the industry, but also outside of oil and gas,” she says.


Dawn says that while alternative energies continue to be developed, fossil fuel will still need to be utilized as a low-cost and reliable energy option.


Additionally, the oil and gas industry continues to lag behind other industries when it comes to facilitating and promoting healthy work-life balances, Dawn says.


“Many times, men in senior-level positions will ask, ‘What happened to the women?’ because women have somewhat disappeared from sight at the senior-level,” Dawn says. “That’s because if a mother, for example, wants to work part-time to raise her children, we don’t have a lot of options for her to do so without completely leaving the profession. And if women must choose between working full-time and spending time with their families, they often simply choose to quit and figure it out later, burdened by those gaps in their resumes and experience.”


Dawn herself said she was faced with this dilemma when a few effective and successful team members — both women and men — went through life changes that required them to work part-time.


I worked hard to help establish part-time programs within the company to be able to continue supporting these top-performing employees,” she says. “Our industry needs to transition and overcome the stigma that part-time employees lack ambition or do not want to continue to grow in their careers.”


For Dawn, balance and flexibility have meant traveling to more than 40 countries — 30 before her 30th birthday — and serving on the advisory board at her children’s school and the board for the Women in Oil and Gas Association.


I want be a positive force for change, making sure that young women understand that engineering also is for them,” she says. “There will always be challenges to overcome; therefore, it is imperative that women find and operate with a professional community of like-minded individuals to further develop their careers.”


It’s also important to understand that the path to success doesn’t have to end at the C-suite, Dawn says.


“Sometimes, I think that because I have as much experience as I do, women with less experience don’t feel that I face the same challenges or have the same needs as they do. We are more alike than they think, and there are so many different paths for us to follow,” she says.