Mary Johnson

Profiles in GRIT: Tameka Ramsey of ConocoPhillips on role models, mistakes and words to live by

Blog Post created by Mary Johnson on May 1, 2018

Tameka RamseyThis week, we continue our series Profiles in GRIT.

 

This is our opportunity to highlight the winners of our first-ever GRIT Awards back in March at HERWorld Energy Forum. They are the difference-makers in energy — the industry leaders who embody growth, resilience, innovation and transition in a transparent world.

 

Now we'd like you to meet Tameka Ramsey, manager of global compliance and ethics at ConocoPhillips. Early in her career, she learned the importance of asking for what you want so you can get where you want to go. Now, she’s committed to helping others achieve the same goal.

 

Get to know more about Tameka below!

 

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

 

TAMEKA RAMSEY: Spending my days trying to do the right thing. I am humbled by the fact that my company has entrusted me to uphold our culture of integrity, prevent organizational misconduct and to protect those who could be harmed by it.  

 

Each day I get to live out a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that has guided both my personal and professional life: “The time is always right to do what is right.”   

 

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

 

TR: My mother. She is the queen of just get it done. Her favorite saying is, “Lick your wounds and keep moving.” I love her for this! She was a single mother, and I saw her resilience daily as she worked to move us forward socioeconomically. Many days and nights of work paved the way for me to get a better education than she did and to see places she has never dreamed of. My mother is the grittiest woman I know, and I live every day to make her proud.

 

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

TR: My first job after undergraduate study was at a large pharmaceutical company. I was hired to be an analytical chemist supporting research and development. I had no idea that it took 15 years for a drug to go from conception to production. Yikes! Immediate disengagement set in.

 

While attending a company event, I ran into a senior scientist, who was also an alumnus from my university. He asked me how things were going. With glossed-over eyes, I admitted to him that I was very unhappy. He invited me to schedule an appointment to discuss. I went to see him, and he sat with me and helped me draft talking points for communicating with my manager and human resources. This preparation empowered me to effectively communicate my concerns and my continued commitment to adding value to the company. Shortly thereafter, I was offered an opportunity to lead a diversity STEM recruiting initiative in the human resources department. I never returned to a technical role.

 

I learned several things from this time in my life. First, identify people you can trust and reach out for help when needed. I suffered for over a year in that role and allowed fear to discourage me from engaging others. Now I keep an established circle of mentors and supporters that I can call on for support when making decisions and providing accountability for career goals. In addition, I learned that mentoring is critical to building strong people, professions and organizations. I am currently a mentor and provide coaching to executives. This small commitment has given me monumental returns. Lastly, I learned that when accepting a new role, it is imperative that you thoroughly understand what the job entails prior to accepting. This bit of pre-work can save lots of time and stress in the long run.

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