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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 -- 

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 


Hurricane Harvey made landfall one year ago.


It was a strong storm, but together, we are stronger.


In this fireside chat, Sheryl Sandberg, co-founder of, speaks with Pink Petro Founder/CEO Katie Mehnert about the #HarveyHeroes. Sheryl had the opportunity to meet with many of these heroes who used social media to connect, rescue, and provide relief in the midst of the perilous storm. "That is community resilience - and we know we build it each and every day in ourselves and eash other," she said.


Sheryl Sandberg on Hurricane Harvey

We held the first GRIT Awards back in March because we identified a profound need to honor the unsung heroes of energy — the leaders in our industry who are committed to growth, resilience, innovation and transition.


We are bringing them back on Oct. 3 because we recognize there are many more women and men worthy of this honor.


But the GRIT Awards are about so much more than handing out awards. It’s a full-on experience — another opportunity for us to bring this community together and share ideas, information and insight.


That’s why we’ve put together a half-day’s worth of thought-provoking content to stimulate conversation and create more opportunities for connection.


Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve got in store for you (get your tickets here!):


Doors open at 9 a.m. for registration and networking. Then, we’re going to kick off our day with a keynote address from futurist Crystal Washington.


 Crystal Washington, Futurist KeynoteCrystal is a technology and social media expert, an author and, yes, a futurist (you can read our full profile on her here), and she’ll be digging into the current state of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the impact technology will have on its future. As part of that, she’ll talk through how technology doesn’t necessarily eliminate bias and the ways to combat that. She’ll also highlight the technology that should be on your radar, how to leverage it and what is coming soon that could change the game for women and men in energy.


 Demystifying the Data Panel featuring Jason Korman of gapingvoid, Vicki Codd of NES Global Talent & Katie Mehnert of Pink Petro & Experience EnergyAfter lunch, we will invite a panel of experts to the stage to delve into the details of several recent studies into the state of inclusion in energy. That includes our first-ever Energy Diversity and Inclusion Index survey (which you can take part in here), which we launched to gauge industry sentiment around current diversity efforts. NES Global Talent also conducted a survey focused on women in energy and how they feel about what their companies and our industry have to offer. And PESA studied the in-flow and out-flow of female talent in energy and identified actions organizations can take to get more women into leadership roles. Our discussion will dig into all those numbers and break down what they could mean for inclusion in industry. Our experts will also take the discussion out into the audience, engaging other leaders in the room to talk through what surprised them, what didn’t and what actions the data has inspired. All that will come with one final challenge — to commit to doing something with what everyone learned when they get back to the office.



Geeta Thakorlal, President of INTECSEA and VP of Lean In Energy. GRIT Keynote speakerThen, we’ll invite our second keynote speaker to the stage. Geeta Thakorlal is the president of INTECSEA. (You can read more about her incredible career here.) Her work in the offshore sector began in the aftermath of the world’s deadliest offshore rig accident and then progressed over the years to her current role as president of the leading offshore engineering consultancy, and as managing director of the company's Global Front End Hydrocarbons and Chemicals group, which is part of the WorleyParsons Group. She understands how diversity and inclusion in energy has evolved over the years, and she’s acutely aware of the role technology and innovation must play as we move forward as an industry.


Last, but certainly not least, we will close out our day by honoring our GRIT Award winners — the women and men you nominated for the game-changing work they do, day in and day out. This will be your chance to find out who made the cut — LIVE in Houston or .  


This is an experience you don’t want to miss — both for the opportunity to honor a humble and deserving group of energy leaders and the chance to deepen your insight into the state of energy and innovation now and in the future.


Click here to register today!

Last December, we announced big plans ahead for Lean In Energy.


Since then, a small army of volunteers have been putting together something very special. It’s a group comprised of engineers, senior VPs, geologists, women and men from all different backgrounds with a passion for mentorship and a desire to be a part of something bigger.  And the energy value chain is huge -- from oil and gas to renewables, and its vast supply and services chain, women in energy, transport and infrastructure power our world.  


Like Erika Tolar, an executive with FedEx Services and Lean In Energy’s director of mentoring, who views Lean In Energy as a vehicle to build a highly talented cross-functional group of women mentors and leaders that will help everyone involved reach their goals. 


“Mentors are connectors,” Erika said. “They connect you with others who can help take you to another level in your career or personal life.”


That’s the ultimate mission of the organization: to empower women in energy to achieve their ambitions global scale. Soon, Lean In Energy will deploy new technology to facilitate that mission. 


“Lean In Energy will soon have the ability to connect women across the world in real time. You can meet with a mentor locally or virtually to discuss an issue or a particular topic.  The technology will enable mentorship matching enabling the community to scale," Erika explains.


Working alongside her is Alyssa Volk, the global mentoring chair for Lean In Energy. In addition to her role as an oilfield services commercial manager at Baker Hughes. a GE Company, Alyssa is helping Erika bring the technology aspect of mentoring to life at Lean In Energy.


“Sharing information and experiences worldwide from a variety of perspectives is at the heart of mentoring,” she said. “New technology will expand the boundaries of the mentor/mentee relationship, producing a global organization operating in real time," said Alyssa.


Alyssa believes that this will give mentees the ability to seek knowledge and guidance from mentors in a quick and targeted way and take mentoring to the next level.


Earlier this year, Lean In Energy applied to become a 5013c non-profit. And, as an affiliate of LeanIn.Org, the global mentorship organization co-founded by Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In Energy’s goals are closely aligned with the principles of Lean In — which is all about empowering women.


Mentoring circles help women connect, take the lead in their professional and personal lives and counteract gender bias.


But tackling issues such as gender bias shouldn’t be entirely on the shoulders of women. It is important for men to be involved, as well.


One of the male board members at Lean In Energy is Paul McIntyre. He has witnessed firsthand the powerful impact that mixed-gender mentoring relationships can have.


Paul is the global head of Human Resources at Worley Parsons, which implemented mentorship and sponsorship programs designed to continuously develop talented women in the organization while proactively advocating for them as candidates for roles in the organization. Both women and men are involved in the process.


“The more that we develop a perspective of diversity and inclusion for all, regardless of gender, the more we develop awareness amongst men about how women might think of things around the workplace and why,” Paul said. “And this sets men up to be really strong allies.”


It also brings to light a new perspective for women. Paul has seen many occasions where females are more hesitant to apply for a new position in the workplace because they feel they’re not qualified, whereas men move forward and apply whether they have all the skills or not.


However, he has found that women, whose mentors encourage them to apply and proactively advocate for their candidacies, often end up landing these roles despite their initial hesitations.


Mentorship and sponsorship are critical elements to success and growth, and Lean In Energy is on a mission to help women connect through both. With new technology, fresh ideas and an inclusive group of diverse people (women and men) working to make it happen, we are creating a community of support that is accessible to you at any stage in your career.  


"When the door knocks and nearly 1,500 women are raising their hands to mentor or be mentored, the only way to respond to that very good problem is with technology.  After all, Sheryl (Sandberg) says if you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, get on.  Big thanks to Alyssa, Erika, Paul and the entire team for making this happen," said Katie Mehnert Founder of Lean In Energy and CEO of Pink Petro.


Stay tuned for a special announcement on how you can apply to be a part of the movement.  Go to to sign up to hear more coming in September and at the 2018 Experience Energy GRIT Awards.




Crystal WashingtonCrystal Washington knew the value of social media for corporate America early on. But when she approached her boss about utilizing it, he said to her, “You’re cute and you make us a s***load of money. Stick to what you know.”


She didn’t. And six months later she launched her own digital marketing firm.


Despite her former boss’s remark, Crystal followed her instinct and began working with small mom-and-pop companies. She recognized that social media allowed businesses, for the first time in history, to have a brand conversation directly with the consumer.


Crystal showed these companies how to utilize social media to promote their businesses. Soon, larger companies began reaching out, and as her business grew, people began asking her to speak at meetings and events.


Today, she is a marketing strategist, futurist, author and keynote speaker. She has worked with companies such as Google, GE and British Airways, as well as with businesses in the energy sector, and she will be a keynote speaker at our GRIT Awards celebration on Oct. 3. (Click here to register — you can attend in person or watch live !)


Given her broad range of experience, Crystal brings a unique perspective to the industry, and she sees enormous potential in the future of technology and energy.


Social media tools create more transparency at companies and can cause them to rightfully rethink women and minorities in the industry. Movements like #MeToo are making people second guess their actions,” she says.


The hope is all of that is leading us toward a more inclusive — and productive — culture.


And how effective we are in reaching that goal hinges on GRIT (growth, resilience, innovation, and transition), which Crystal likens to a game of Super Mario Bros.


“It’s having the vision and the tenacity to carry out the work needed to bring a goal into reality no matter what is thrown your way,” she explains. “Super Mario has a goal. He’s trying to get somewhere, and no matter what happens, he keeps pointing in that direction. That’s grit.”


As a futurist, Crystal’s favorite word in the acronym GRIT is innovation. Innovation will impact energy, she says. It already has with companies like Pink Petro, which is pushing women in energy forward.


But with innovation comes new challenges. Take for example, artificial intelligence.


“AI has been proven to carry bias. Looking at HR functions turning to AI, machine-learning algorithms pick up the bias of the person entering the data. For example, at some companies when AI sees women or female while reading resumes, it automatically loops them in with softer jobs, while it associates men with leadership skills,” she said.


While more women in programming will help, the impact won’t be seen for at least another five years.


Crystal’s advice to women in the energy industry is to “leverage technology yet be watchful of the potholes to make sure that we are not falling in them.”


Another challenge when it comes to innovation is the shift toward transparency as the new normal. Social media plays a huge role in that, and Crystal says energy companies can leverage those platforms to tell their stories and spread their message. It’s all about embracing the possibilities.  


And that’s where the real excitement lies for women in energy moving forward. Crystal says now is a key growth period. More corporations are intentionally extending offers to women. At the same time, as with any paradigm shift, there will always be those who fight it. And the energy industry is no exception.


“Women do face challenges,” she said. “But I believe that using strategic actions rather than emotions will help women tactically bypass those who resist change.”


She’s also a big believer in the power of saying “no.”


“Women are socialized to say yes because we are nice. We are afraid to say no,” she explains


But saying “no” helps to draw boundaries, and it keeps you from becoming sidetracked. And if we’re going to move forward, we’ve got to stay focused on the path ahead.

TechSpace main areaWhy waste a good crisis?  We didn't. 


When Hurricane Harvey hit the city of Houston one year ago, Pink Petro HQ was in its path.


Our space wasn’t flooded, but the building that housed that space was so badly damaged, we couldn’t go back. 


Thanks to the incredible outpouring of support from the Houston community — we found our way to TechSpace, a bright, modern coworking space in the Energy Corridor. 


Site Manager Bobby Spoden provided our team a space immediately.  And we soon learned that TechSpace ethos falls in perfect alignment with our mission at Pink Petro and Experience Energy: It’s built around connection, collaboration and, mostly importantly, disruption.


TechSpace flex spaceCoworking is changing the way we work, and if you aren’t already familiar with the concept, here’s a primer: Coworking spaces are communal offices, with wide open spaces where individuals can snag a desk and set up shop for the day, as well as dedicated offices where companies can house entire teams. They aren’t just home to the so-called “gig-ers” — members of the freelance economy formerly relegated to coffee shops and home offices. They are home to big companies and small companies, startups and small to mid-sized businesses.TechSpace Bayou City


The concept is upending the commercial real estate market for a lot of reasons. From a cost standpoint, coworking spaces are typically far more reasonable than an office lease, and the terms far more "flexible". Many coworking spaces only require you to commit for one month at a time. Compare that to the two- to three-year leases you’ll find at traditional office spaces.


But more than that, they are building communities (you know we love that) and thriving business ecosystems, where businesses support one another and collaborate. It’s the kind of place where you’ll meet someone grabbing coffee (which is free, by the way), and an hour later, you’re partnering on a project.


And we're always meeting new businesses that can help ours grow and thrive.


It happens. Just ask Bobby. He has worked with Pink Petro as we outgrew our first space and spilled across the hall into a substantially bigger one (and as TechSpace has become a proud Pink Petro member and sponsor). And he understands the inherent challenges in disrupting an old-school industry — and the power.


"People inherently want to be around other people. When you take that idea and put it in a business atmosphere, the outcome is amazing," Bobby explains. "You create a collaborative ecosystem with amenities and services that give small to large companies the flexibility to grow and manage their core business in a business professional atmosphere, just not one they aren't use to — yet!"


That ecosystem is vital when it comes to the future of work, says Jason Korman, co-founder and CEO of the culture design firm Gapingvoid.


TechSpace boothsWhile people constantly clamor for the ability to work from home, Jason said that trend is a disadvantage for both the individual worker and the team as a whole.


Social capital matters a great deal in being effective, and remote work heavily imapcts the quality and quality of interactions,” Jason explains. “In fact, remote working puts the Allen Curve on steroids.”  


The Allen Curve refers to a 1979 study that concluded that the level of collaboration of engineers declines dramatically the further apart they sit. It only took 200 feet of office to significantly impair collaboration, Jason says.


“I’d bet that technology has made up for a bit of that, but we do consistently find that remote workers are not as aligned with organizations as their counterparts at HQ,” he says.


Here in Houston, coworking wasn’t a slam-dunk concept from day one. There were skeptics — those who wondered why anyone would pay to work in a communal space when they could camp out on their couches for free.


We encountered something similar when we built Pink Petro and Experience Energy. We knew our big idea — to bust the gender gap in energy — was going to challenge the status quo. We also knew that status quo needed to be challenged and that we couldn’t do it alone. We wanted to build a strong, thriving community to join us on this wild ride and work together to transform the energy industry as we knew it.


We are beyond grateful for TechSpace — not only for giving us space during our time of need but for also getting who we are and what we do.


"I remember when I walked into Techspace.  I was in borrowed clothing, flip flops and had fished out my laptop from my (still) flooded home. Hurricane Harvey was a real pain for me personally and professionally but little did I know then that Techspace was an amazing start to a journey that speaks volumes to where we are as a company today," says Katie Mehnert, Founder of Pink Petro. 


We are so proud to have Techspace a part of that journey.  We're kindred spirits in our push for industry transformations, and now that we’ve joined forces? Well, there’s no telling what we can do.


Come by and visit us!

The KPMG Global Chemicals Institute is pleased to announce the launch of the twenty-sixth 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 getting up to speed on the new mobility, provides an update on Brexit and investigates new deals for Japanese chemical companies.


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. Please click here to read more.


Brexit update

The clock is ticking for Brexit. The UK has voted to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019, and a third of UK-based companies are now actively organizing or planning to move some of their operations out of the country because of regulatory uncertainty and other factors.15 Almost half of these companies are in the chemical industry.16 Certainly the potential disruption caused by Brexit cannot be denied. At the same time, the UK exit from the EU can serve as a catalyst for needed change in the chemical industry, impelling companies to introduce new efficiencies, renegotiate contracts and question long-held assumptions about the best way to do business in today’s global economy. Please click here to read more.


New deals for Japanese chemical companies

Japanese chemical companies showed strong performance in 2017, driven by export growth focused on technologically advanced materials.21 It is also recognized that strong performance was driven by temporary high utilization of facilities caused by a global shortage of petrochemical products.

However, the nation’s chemical industry faces serious challenges ahead, from low-growth domestic markets to increased competition in ethylene and ethylene derivatives from North America and the Middle East. In response, a growing number of Japanese chemical companies are undertaking overseas expansions or acquisitions. Looking to the future, the Japanese players might consider European chemical companies as a model for transitioning to a more consolidated industry focused on specialty products. Please click here to read more.

To learn more about KPMG’s Global Chemicals Institute, please visit and to subscribe for future editions of REACTION Magazine, please click here.

*Sources can be found on

Sylvia GarciaThis week in our series Profiles in GRIT, we are chatting with Sylvia Garcia, the business development and consultant services manager for Oilfield Production Consultants (OPC), a global technical services consultancy company specializing in upstream exploration and production.


In addition to her role at OPC, Sylvia is in her second year as president of the Society of Professional Women in Petroleum (SPWP).  She is also currently serving on the board of directors for Scout’s Honor Rescue.


We honored Sylvia this past March at the first-ever GRIT awards for her strength and courage in the face of some really difficult challenges. Now we’re sharing more of her story with you.


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


SYLVIA GARCIA: In 2016, I lost my husband, Randy, to a rare and aggressive cancer. He was only 45. Randy was my soul mate. And while I knew the loss would impact me personally, I wasn’t prepared for how it would affect my professional and community service roles.


Tasks that used to be routine, like work activities and technical presentations, were now challenging. I didn't want to interact with people. Staying focused was even difficult.


For example, when I had to run my first meeting after becoming the president of SPWP, I felt apprehensive about it. Randy was my support, my sounding board, and my cheerleader. He would have said, “You got this!” if he were here. So I had to find that voice inside of me that would give me that confidence. I also learned to reach out and accept the support of the empowering women in SPWP.


I’d love to say that I have completely conquered this challenge, but I don’t believe that has happened yet. However, Randy left me with his amazing love and memories. With these things — as well as grit, faith, supportive colleagues, family and friends, I will overcome this difficult challenge. Facing life/death challenges really changes your perspective on everything. I hope people can learn to cherish those closest to them and don’t sweat the small stuff. My answer to this question would have been very different prior to 2016.


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


SG: In my senior year of high school, I began a long term career with the Houston Business Journal. When I decided to change careers, I was not very good at negotiating my salary since I hadn’t job searched before. In fact, my first position after leaving the Houston Business Journal paid less than what I had been making. I told myself that was OK since I didn’t have “experience” in recruitment.


What I came to realize is that I did have the skills and talent to be successful at it – more successful than those that did have the “direct experience.” There was a big lesson here to not underestimate the value I bring to the table. So the lesson I learned is, don’t be afraid to ask for the salary that you are worth. This has been a great lesson going forward in my career.

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


SG: I’ve spent many years in management. The most rewarding part has been helping women and men find and develop their strengths for success. I care about the people I work with and lead by example. I’m not afraid of being in the trenches or finding creative solutions. I find it rewarding to help others create comfortable and fulfilling careers for themselves that benefit and enhance their lives and their families.


When people that I have managed say things like “I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for you,” or “You saw something in me no one else did,” it is extremely rewarding. I believe that we have a responsibility to make a positive impact on others, no matter how small we think it may be.


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


SG: There have been many gritty role models throughout my career and life. However, the “grittiest” would have to be my late husband, Randy. He was an amazing person and the love of my life. But the GRIT part comes from how he conducted himself during the hardest, darkest times.


He was diagnosed with a Stage 4 cancer in 2013, and he took it all in stride. In fact, he continued to work despite his four- to five-hour chemo treatments four days a week. He beat cancer in early 2015 and was closely monitored. In 2016, spots were found on his liver at a follow-up ultrasound. After extensive and repeated testing, he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer that had already metastasized from his colon to his liver.


When the oncologist went over the biopsy results with us, he said this was as bad as cancer gets. The prognosis was grim. Randy showed his grit by saying, “OK, guess we have our work cut out. What do we do next?” He responded well to a chemo regimen and survived for another year whereas most people only make it three months at most.


Not only did he stay alive longer than expected, we traveled to Belize, Islamorada, Crested Butte and other places to fly fish. We caught tarpon, bonefish, rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat and more. His oncologist, medical team, co-workers, family and friends could not believe his passion for life and positive, can-do attitude. Randy was the epitome of GRIT.

At a women in energy conference three years ago, Skyler Obregon, who was honored with a GRIT Award back in March, had an idea.


Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, gave the keynote address and spoke about the importance of mentorship, sponsorship and networks in building up women in the industry. It got her thinking: Weatherford should create something like this.  


So that’s what she did: Obregon, U.S. and Canada Compliance Counsel for Weatherford, joined forces with Shanta Eaden, Director of Global IT Project Management Office and the company’s Diverse and Inclusive (D&I) Program Chair, to create Women of Weatherford, an internal network better known as WOW.



But they didn’t want to build it in a vacuum. The WOW network officially launched in April 2018 — with a keynote address from our founder and CEO, Katie Mehnert — and as the network has taken shape, the WOW Co-Chairs have engaged other internal networks at Weatherford, as well as external networks including other companies and even customers to collect best practices and understand other D&I considerations, all while building key partnerships.  


“We all need to work together to narrow the gender gap and widen the female candidate pool and diversity in general. You look around, and a lot of people look the same. And that’s not acceptable. It should be a joint effort in the industry,” Skyler says.


“It’s got to be global,” Shanta adds. “We started off really thinking about how we can support each other globally,” she continued. “The culture is completely different across the globe. How do we take the core values that we stand on and build upon those around the world?”


It all starts with connections.


Leveraging networks


Skyler experienced the value of a powerful network firsthand during her tenure at Weatherford, an international oil and gas company with operations in over 90 countries around the world.


She started with the company more than six years ago, working in operations. Then, a few years ago, she gained an interest in compliance. She had a strong internal network and had built a relationship with the chief compliance officer, so she approached her and made the ask.


“I was incredibly humbled that this leader appreciated my work ethic and dedication,” Skyler says. “But it was because I continued to reach out that she gave me that opportunity.” This is a great reminder to advocate for yourself and others in order to expand horizons.


Shanta has had similar experiences tapping into her networks. She has challenged herself to take on speaking engagements — an unnerving experience for a self-proclaimed introvert — but that has opened up doors time and again.


“Now I know I have people I can call on for key projects, or if I’m hiring for key candidates or just need a sounding board,” Shanta says.


Those personal experiences have helped build the foundation for WOW. The founders have seen the power of a strong network, and they want to build a program that will help others do the same.


“We wanted to focus on what would be important for our colleagues and our Company,” Shanta says. “At the heart of it, our goal is to inspire, support, engage and empower the women of Weatherford.”


Taking action


That goal is coming to life in a variety of forms.


For one, WOW, which has attracted more than 200 members thus far and hosts monthly touchpoints. Each meeting features a different speaker, providing a diversity of thought and practical insights on career progression.


The meetings also allow all levels of the organization to interact with C-suite executives and senior managers. This helps early to mid-career professionals know who to engage as they look to move through the ranks. It also introduces those C-suite executives to the talent coming up in the organization. These conversations also allow a great opportunity to ask questions and learn from one another’s experiences, regardless of title or tenure. The executive sponsors have been incredibly supportive.


“Our monthly WOW Connect sessions also enable us to reach our colleagues in the field and get them engaged in the conversation,” Skyler says. “We envision empowering other countries to have their own get-togethers and their own speaking topics that are relevant and meaningful to their teams.”


WOW is also working with HR and corporate leaders within Weatherford to institute blind resume reviews, statistically shown to decrease unconscious bias, and to build maternity rooms in all Weatherford facilities.


“How do we continue to create a fully inclusive and diverse environment? We do that through these structured programs and strategy items and investments that need to be made within the fabric of who we are,” Shanta says. “It’s all about creating connections with people where we can support each other when the time comes.”


Help along the way


True to the goals of WOW, Shanta and Skyler aren’t trying to do this alone. They recognize there’s a lot to be learned from those who have gone before — and those who are building alongside them.


The WOW leadership has a monthly touchpoint with the other D&I networks within Weatherford, which includes veterans, LGBTQ and young professionals groups.


“We lean on the other networks to make sure we’re following best practices and collecting lessons learned, as well,” Skyler explains. “We are all in this journey together, as One Weatherford, and are learning so much from one another.”


And the organization is partnering with another initiative within Weatherford — Weatherford WISE: Worldwide Initiative Supporting Education — to work on getting girls interested in STEM as early as elementary school.


“I’m glad to see how our industry is embracing the importance of diverse and inclusive workspaces,” Skyler says. “We still have a lot of room to grow, but we are definitely making strides and have an incredible support system both within and outside of our organization.”  


“That’s why we partner with organizations like Pink Petro. We must continue to drive the discussion and topics and actions to make the difference,” Shanta says.

Geeta ThakorlalWhen we first approached Geeta Thakorlal about speaking at the Experience Energy GRIT Awards in October, she was instantly drawn to the concept. After all, she’s always believed it takes grit and resilience to be successful in business and in life.


Then we told Geeta that GRIT was an acronym for growth, resilience, innovation and transition.


“How clever!” she said. “It encompasses all the elements that one needs for the future of energy and the future of women in industry.”


As the president of INTECSEA, a leading offshore engineering consultancy, and managing director of the company's Global Front End Hydrocarbons and Chemicals group, as part of the WorleyParsons Group, Geeta has certainly demonstrated GRIT throughout her career.


Working on the world’s deadliest offshore rig accident

Geeta’s introduction to the offshore sector came in 1988 after the Piper Alpha accident in the North Sea, which unfortunately took the lives of 167 people. Geeta was part of a UK team that provided expert advice on the incident.

Geeta found that she had a great interest in this area and continued to work in offshore upstream. After her experience in the UK, she was offered a position closer to home in Australia with Worley Parsons. She worked with the company for three years and then spent the next 15 years working in front-end consulting and engineering for another firm.


During this time, she gained a wide range of experience and was promoted from department manager to operations manager and then regional director. As she progressed in her career, Geeta gained a wealth of understanding about global hydrocarbons markets, strategy development and implementation, client relationship management, operations management and leading culturally diverse teams.  


In 2011, Geeta returned to WorleyParsons to lead specialist technical consulting teams in Australia and Southeast Asia. This leadership role expanded, and Geeta was promoted to senior vice president for INTECSEA in New Zealand and Australia. She became the president of INTECSEA in 2016 and now oversees all global operations from her Houston office. She has recently been appointed to lead WorleyParsons Global Front-End Hydrocarbons and Chemicals group.


Innovation and transition in the energy industry

As a leader in the industry, Geeta is excited about the innovation and transition that she sees across many different fronts.


“It’s happening much faster than I expected,” she said. “Especially in the fossil fuel industry where companies are working to find a balance between meeting the changing needs of the world and achieving sustainability.”


One new aspect that is appearing in everything we do centers around the impact that digital technology is having on the industry. And while the energy sector may not be advancing as rapidly as other industries, Geeta believes it is important to progress with technology, yet balance this progress and new thinking with experience and knowledge management.


“We need to focus on how to adapt to the future and determine what skill sets the industry needs, as well as how the industry handles cultural differences, inclusion and diversity,” she said.


Be curious, and be yourself

Geeta’s advice to others in the industry is to always to approach what you do with a sense of curiosity.


“Learn to ask questions and stretch yourself. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because you will make mistakes. But you can ask for help,” she says.


Other aspects include being your authentic self. “Don’t try to be someone else”, she said. “People always have a way of discovering an individual’s true colors.  You want your brand to accelerate you, rather than the lack thereof being a hindrance.”


This curiosity and GRIT have gotten Geeta far. Working in an industry with a large opportunity for diversity has not slowed her down. While some companies are more progressive than others, Geeta believes now is a good time for women to be involved, grow and make their mark in the energy industry.


Women have come a long way in the industry,” she said. “While it doesn’t always seem like there are that many working in the energy sector, the number of women is increasing gradually.”


As a leader in international oil and gas, Geeta has seen more open dialogue and attention to women — not just in the U.S., but also in Europe, India and the Middle East. Social media has allowed people on a global scale to connect, access information and share ideas for progression. And all that has made Geeta excited to be a part of the industry right now — both as a leader and as an individual.

Mother holding a baby's handIt’s 1995. My son is less than 12 months old, has already been hospitalized countless times for pneumonia and, now,  infected by Clostridium, a bacterium that is life-threatening for an infant. No medicine is helping him, and the medical staff is preparing me for the loss of a life unless a solution is found.


Earlier that day, I decide to distract myself from this painful thought with a magazine when a tiny column catches my attention. It told a seemingly unrelated story about combating clostridium in cows by using feces as the main ingredient suggesting that perhaps one day this could be a promising treatment for humans.


I call in the pediatrician. The solution, I saw, was clearly in the poop.


“Check out this research done on cows and you will see it! They take poop from a healthy cow, mix it with salt water and flush it up you know where. Let’s do this on Benjamin!”


The pediatrician's jaw dropped, eyes wide open, looking at me as if I had said something utterly disgusting, unethical and that I obviously had lost it.


“Mrs. Hausken, we are under no circumstances doing that. I understand you’re bringing up crazy ideas considering the difficult situation. But this is reckless and it cannot be done.”


That first “crazy” thought was my intuition speaking — the small voice that needs no evidence or convincing.  However, in the “upper division” (ie. my head), I heard a very different message that tempted me to keep quiet: They are doctors, Rita. They would have known if this were possible. You will look like a nutcase. Who are you to know what’s best?”


The real question is, who are you NOT to?


Does this battle between two voices sound familiar?


Coaching women to gain more influence in male-dominated industries, it certainly is a known challenge for me, and the brilliant women I see, time and again, unknowingly shut down their most powerful creative powers: intuition and instinct.


Beyond external judgement and perceived limitation, there is an even more dangerous guard keeper. The compelling head voice giving us all the reasons why what we are about to say is irrelevant, that others have much better ideas than us.


As women, it is often the inner critic that is our worst enemy.


While the pediatrician was hesitant and had to consult with others, ultimately he listened to my emotional reasoning. Why? Because I spoke up.


“Dr. ___, I ask you to do one thing before you make your decision. Please contact this professor in Bergen, tell him what is happening with Benjamin, and ask him what he thinks about testing the treatment out on my son. If for nothing else than to comfort me, please consider it."


I could understand his perspective. In a field where getting it right is truly life or death, he also had fear of looking like an idiot. And, in the end, he made the call and, with the help of the professor, decided there was nothing to lose, and all to win.


So we did it and, in a matter of hours, Benjamin was cured. Now, 20-plus years later, this procedure is recognized as an effective treatment for this contagious bacterium.



We all have “poop” we need to work through in our lives to get to life-changing solutions — whether it’s our boss, colleague, partner or our own perception of ourselves in the world.


What’s holding us back from being powerful leaders is our resistance to deal with the “poop”.


To notice it, talk about it and suggest doing something about it takes immense courage. It takes a deep dive into your gut feeling, getting clear on your core values, and living with clear intentions — in and outside the office.


The processing of cleaning up a few deadly Clostridiums — destructive organisms in our environment — can be a nasty treatment. To challenge the “poop” through fierce conversations and crazy ideas isn’t pleasant. It can, however, save your life.


So, take a moment and reflect: How is your environment? Is it infected with judgement of others and — most deadly — yourself?


Make a list of who in your world  is supporting you with healthy feedback, strong support and the belief that anything is possible. Consider to what extent you hold yourself back before anyone else falsely tells you it cannot be done.


For my son Benjamin, the poop was the environment that would either kill him or create a new future for him.  I believe the same goes for us as women with very different solutions to urgent global problems.



Creating a mindset of “How am I creating this?" is the most effective and efficient path to building the skills of speaking up, taking risks and trusting our female instincts to unlock innovations.


I believe the primal power we access when we fight for our children, is the same intuitive clarity we need to bring to our professional leadership — for the success of our organizations and humanity.


Motherly instinct is powerful. It brings out ideas and strengths that are usually hidden behind limiting beliefs such as “I’m not good enough." My vision is to inspire women to dare to lean into their most feminine powers and speak up with crazy ideas, regardless of what the inner critic or the external culture thinks of it. The world truly depends on it.


As you reflect on your most uncomfortable leadership challenges, consider these questions:


What radical, invasive procedure is needed to transform your most challenging relationships and nurture your organization back to health?


Keeping your thoughts and ideas to yourself does not serve the world.


Your ideas are key in creating a sustainable future, and pivotal to your personal success. No one on this planet can claim to have all the right answers.  Collectively, we are more likely to find them.


Rita Hausken is a leadership strategist and coach for women in energy. You can learn more about her work at her website,

Women have long battled the road to equal rights. 

Passed by the United States Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. This was a landmark win shifting our society towards equality.


In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act barred discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex.


A decade later, in 1974, the year before I was born, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibited discrimination in consumer credit practices on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance. 



Fast forward to 2018, and we're in the thick of a new revolution for women.  But in my generation and in my lifetime, I want this movement to be about equality for ALL women.

It's time we look beyond white women.  

I know.  You see me and think... she's a white, privileged educated woman.  And yes, that's true. I will never ever know what it means to be a black woman.  I have many .... many black friends, both female and male. 

What I am qualified to say is it's about time that Black women get their fair share.


Before I even give you the data, let's clear the air on the "meritocracy" argument.  Everything we do should be based on merit.  And I agree. I don't reward people for substandard work...and irrespective of race, there are people (men, women, black and white) who don't perform.  But to be brutally honest, Black women who do great work and have earned that merit, still don't get paid what they should. As a leader in many companies, I was a witness to this more than once and it's time for this to change.


August 7 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. 


That means Black women had to work all of 2017 and up to this day in 2018 to catch up with what white men earned in 2017 alone. On average, Black women are paid 38% less than white men and 21% less than white women. 


This is just unacceptable. 


The Black Equal Pay Day survey in partnership with Survey Monkey and the National Urban League found some very sobering statistics.  50% of Americans are not aware of the pay gaps between Black women and white women, and hiring managers are similarly.  Please take a moment to let these numbers sync in and then share them with someone who needs to know.



Even when you control for factors like education, experience, location and occupation, there's still a gap.



The pay gap starts early.  When presented with information that Black women on average are paid 38% less than white men, 72% of Americans think that's not fair.  



I'll repeat that stat: 72% of Americans think it's unfair.


I'll say it again.  It's not unfair.  It's unacceptable. 


There's just one key milestone in the women's movement I think worth mentioning, but it won't be the last.  On January 21, 2017, in response to numerous factors, activists around the USA organized a Women's March to advocate for women's rights.  Despite some ideological conflicts between event organizers over inclusion and diversity, the nationwide protest rapidly spread globally.  Upwards of 3 million turned out in the USA, marking it one of the largest and most peaceful protests in American history.


This OP-ED piece is about not about politics or party.  It's about the movement in support of inclusion.  It's about the society and culture we are shaping in unprecedented times.  Our sons, daughters, and the next generation deserve better.  It's about driving a more equal world, one where women -- white and Black women can be successful.



My question to you is what are you doing about it? 


Lean in, speak up, take action, and do your part to help Black women.  



Katie Mehnert is the Founder and CEO of Pink Petro and Experience Energy.  She's also Founder of Lean In Energy, a mentoring community that helps women in energy achieve their ambitions.  Lean In Energy matches mentors and mentees and brings mentoring and advocacy programs like Equal Pay Day, Black Equal Pay Day and Latina Equal Pay Day to the energy community.  Lean In Energy is an independent organization, affiliated with LeanIn.Org, which works closely with LeanIn.Org to further its mission and is licensed by LeanIn.Org to use the ‘Lean In’ name.


The full research and data may be found at