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We are pleased to announce the upcoming REACTION 26 webcast taking place on 2 October 2018. Register now.

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.

Join Charlie Simpson, Partner and Head of Mobility 2030, Global Strategy Group, KPMG in the UK and Christoph Domke, Director of Mobility 2030, Global Strategy Group, KPMG in the UK, who will be discussing these issues. To read Charlie and Christoph’s article, please click here and REACTION 26 Magazine can be read here.

Participants are eligible to earn one CPE credit for this audio webcast.

After registering for this webcast, via the links above, you will receive details on how to access the webcast. The webcast will last approximately 60 minutes including a question and answer period.

Not a member of the KPMG Global Chemicals Institute? Register today! You will receive upcoming webcast information and further insights from KPMG’s Global Chemicals Institute.


HOUSTON, TEXAS -- August 23, 2018 — Today, Experience Energy, the global careers site that connects energy companies with diverse talent, announced the finalists for the GRIT Awards, a first-of-its-kind awards program that debuted earlier this year at HERWorld Energy Forum. The winners will be announced as part of a half-day conference at the Norris Center in Houston on Oct. 3 that will be broadcast live  to viewers around the world.


The GRIT Awards, sponsored by NES Global Talent, were created to recognize women leaders in energy, and the men who advocate for their progress. For this class of honorees, more than 150 applications poured in from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. On Oct. 3, Experience Energy, a Pink Petro company, will announce the winners, selected during by a panel of industry judges.


The first GRIT Awards ceremony was held earlier this year, during Pink Petro’s annual HERWorld Energy Forum. More than 30 women and men were part of that inaugural class of winners, and the ceremony drew more than 74,000 viewers from around the world.


“Given the success of our first year, we knew there was a need to honor energy’s unsung heroes.  Those people deserve to be honored for all they do, and the impact they’re having on our unsung industry,” said Katie Mehnert, founder of Experience Energy and Pink Petro. “That’s what the GRIT Awards are all about.”


The finalists were nominated for recognition in four different categories: entrepreneurs, individuals, teams and male champions.  Below is a full list of GRIT Award finalists. The winners will be announced live on Oct. 3:  


  • Afton Sterling, Regulatory Manager, SWN
  • Alaina Sajatovic, Product Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Allison Selman, Integrity Management & Decommissioning Manager, Atteris
  • Andrea Reynolds, General Manager, Shell
  • Andrea Wu, Principal Consultant,  RS Energy Group
  • Angela Knight, Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Baker Hughes, a GE Company
  • Brenda Donnelly, Vice President - Production Excellence at Shell Deepwater
  • C. Susan Howes, Vice President of Engineering, Subsurface Consultants & Associates, LLC
  • Carlos Pineda, Vice President Completions Solutions for the U.S, Stage Completions Inc.
  • Cassandra Corley, Director, Information Technology MidCon, ConocoPhillips
  • Cherie Fuller, Vice President, Retail Power Market Management, EDF Energy Services
  • Chesley Russo, Manager of LNG Plant Support Services, Bechtel
  • Cindy Pollard, Director of Public Affairs, Aera Energy LLC
  • Deanna Jones, VP Human Resources & Administrative Services, Marathon Oil
  • Dionne Auguste, Operations Manager, NES Global Talent
  • Donatella Banchi, Sr Director Program Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Elizabeth Rogo, CEO/Founder, Tsavo Oilfield Services Ltd
  • Dr. Greg Powers, Vice President of Technology, Halliburton
  • Heather Eason, Founder and CEO, Select Power Systems LLC
  • Hugh Connett, Vice President, Gas Commercialization, Chevron
  • Jaime Butler, Vice President of Permian, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Jan Kulmann, Sr. EHSR Manager, Noble Energy
  • Janette Marx, CEO, Airswift
  • Jessica Hernandez, Lead Manufacturing Specialist, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Joann Christensen, Engineering Technology Manager, Aera Energy LLC
  • Johanna Hoyt, Geologist III, Aera Energy LLC
  • Jorge Haiek, IT Supervisor, Aera Energy LLC
  • Julie Munn-Sims, Principal, KPMG
  • Kara Byrne, Sr Proposal Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Karen McKee, Senior Vice President, Exxon Mobil
  • Katherine Culbert, CEO and Co-Founder, K and K Process
  • Kathy Lehne, CEO, Sun Coast Resources
  • Krista Caldwell, Mobility Manager, Worley Parsons
  • Kristie McLin, Petroleum Geochemistry and Basin Modeling Manager, ConocoPhillips
  • Lily Thomas, Lead Commodity Management specialist, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Lindsay Sander, Principal, Sander Resources
  • Maitri Erwin, Manager - NV, South America, CNOOC Nexen Inc
  • Maria O'Connell, Vice President of Quality, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Mary Van Domelen, President, Van Domelen International, LLC
  • Michele Harradence, Sr. Vice President, Gas Transmission & Midstream Operations, Enbridge
  • Michele McNichol, CEO, Arion Blue LLC
  • Monica Suman Krishnan, Technology and Deployment Manager, Chevron
  • Muhammad Imran Khan, Mari Petroleum Company Limited, Pakistan
  • Mystie Barrett, Process Specialist, Aera Energy LLC
  • Noor Alenezi, Lead Engineer, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • PaigePR Team: Paige Donnell, Kristen Quinn, Natasha Wilson, Megan Anderson
  • Pam Darwin, Vice President Africa, ExxonMobil
  • Patricia Conrad, Senior Customer Service Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Rachelle Kernen, Geologist, PhD Candidate and BP Intern
  • Rebecca Hofmann, Leader - Management Systems & Blockchain Strategy & Innovation, Equinor
  • Sarah Jane Walker, Senior Integration Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company
  • Shanta Eaden, Director, Global IT PMO, CPI, Weatherford
  • Sophia Washington, Vice President, IT Solution Delivery, EDF Energy Services
  • Valerie Wilson, Senior Technical Advisor, AIG


In addition to highlighting the winners, the GRIT Awards experience will feature keynote addresses from Geeta Thakorlal, president of INTECSEA, and Crystal Washington, a technology expert, author and futurist. The GRIT Awards will also invite a panel of experts to discuss the insights gained from the first-ever Energy Diversity & Inclusion Index, a survey Experience Energy released earlier this summer to get a gauge on the state of inclusion in energy.


NES Global Talent, a sponsor for the GRIT Awards, was drawn to the opportunity to honor these leaders, but also to generate thought-provoking conversations and ideas.


“The industry is working to build the workforce of tomorrow, built on diversity, inclusion and innovation. Part of that transformation means pulling together the brightest minds and recognizing those who are changing the industry from within. The GRIT Awards accomplishes all those things,” said  Vicki Codd, marketing director for NES Global Talent. “And we are thrilled to be involved.”


To sponsor or purchase tickets, click here.


For media inquiries, contact Mary Johnson at


About Pink Petro and Experience Energy:  Pink Petro is the leading global community and social enterprise aimed at creating the new future and ending the gender gap in energy. Using social technology, its mission is to elevate and connect individuals, companies, and industry to create an inclusive workforce and supply chain. The community has a presence in 120 countries in nearly 500 companies across energy in oil and natural gas, LNG, renewables, and nuclear. Experience Energy is the destination careers site for diverse talent in energy.  For more information, visit and   

Skyler ObregonThis week in our series Profiles in GRIT, we introduce you to Skyler Obregon, Regional Compliance Counsel, U.S. and Canada, for Weatherford International, one of the world's largest multinational oilfield service companies, providing innovative solutions, technology and services to the oil and gas industry. Weatherford is also a Pink Petro member company.


In addition to her work in compliance, she recently founded Women of Weatherford (a.k.a. WoW) to support the company’s female employees around the world. The network formally launched earlier this year and has already built a membership of more than 200 women.


We spoke with Skyler about a variety of experiences she’s had throughout her career and her personal motto: “Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.”


We couldn’t agree more.


Read below for more from our conversation with Skyler.


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

SKYLER OBREGON: The biggest challenge that I have faced in my career as an attorney was negotiating a master service agreement with a Fortune 100 client. As a junior attorney, I was tasked with renegotiating contract terms, and I was petrified. I had only been practicing law for two years, and the opposing counsel was a seasoned attorney with 30 years under his belt.


To prepare for these negotiations, I studied prior contracts and meticulously crafted my arguments. I knew the contract backward and forward and formed a negotiation strategy by anticipating what my counterparty might argue. 


When facing a tough challenge, there is always an element of uncertainty and fear. I kept a fortune cookie message aptly taped to my laptop, which said, “Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.”


I used that message as my motto. The challenge was great, and we reached an agreement. Overall, it was an incredible learning experience, and the opportunity made me face my fears. 


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

SO: When I graduated from law school in 2011, the market was saturated with young attorneys at a time when many companies were not hiring. Like most ambitious attorneys, I approached many large Houston-based law firms for an entry-level position, only to be repeatedly rejected.


I decided to take an unpaid internship with Federal Judge Melinda Harmon until the right position came along. During that time, I was approached by my father to join his oil and gas practice in Tyler, Texas. Judge Harmon started her career at Exxon and encouraged me, as a woman, to enter the oil and gas field.


With limited options and the opportunity to grow a relationship with my father, I decided to accept the job. During the year I worked for my father, I had broad exposure to oil and gas operators and service companies. My father was a solo practitioner who had grand ideas for me (his only child) eventually taking over his 35-year old oil and gas practice. It was a great idea, but only in theory, and after several months of traveling every week between Houston and Tyler and living with my father and stepmother, it became clear that taking over the business was not in the cards.


Looking back, instead of staying in Houston and trying to wait out the market, I took the easy way out by working for my father — the path of least resistance. To me, this was a bit of a misstep in my career. 


However, what I learned was this: Everything happens for a reason. I started reconnecting with people I met while in law school, one of those being the senior legal counsel for operations at Weatherford. And due to the experience I gained working for my father, I was able to intelligently discuss the oil and gas business and convey my interest and passion for the industry. Had I not had the exposure to oil and gas through my father’s firm, I am not sure that I would have been offered the position at Weatherford and I would certainly not be where I am today.  


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

SO: I have had the pleasure of working for Weatherford for more than five years. However, like many industries, I saw a lack of women in the workplace and in leadership positions outside of our corporate office. Many women felt siloed, and there was not a formal support network within the organization.


After attending a Women of Energy event, I was inspired and decided that Weatherford needed a women's network to focus on women-driven initiatives and to provide a safe space to learn and communicate. My creation was Women of Weatherford or, more appropriately "WoW." This grassroots movement literally started with me walking into colleagues' offices and asking if they would be interested in establishing such a network. After gaining some traction with others in the office, I drafted bylaws and a WoW mission statement: "To engage, support, empower and inspire women in order to foster professional growth, advancement and leadership within Weatherford."


The timing was great as Weatherford was in the process of formalizing an enterprise-wide Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) program. About a year after starting the grassroots network, Weatherford launched a global D&I campaign and used the blueprint I established to launch three additional networks, Young Professionals, LGBTQ and Veterans. Together, we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable bringing their best selves to work.  


I am incredibly excited about WoW’s advocacy efforts, which include pushing for a formal maternity and adoption leave policy, nursing rooms in Weatherford facilities, recruitment of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through our internship program and changes to our recruiting process. WoW is proud to have also launched an internal website that provides resources, articles and podcasts centered on career development, self-care and work-life balance for women.  


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

SO: I am going to be cliché and say my mother, but for good reason. I am an only child, raised by a single mother. As a child, I had several health issues that unfortunately landed me in the hospital time and time again. My mother worked as a real estate agent. Although she worked long hours and late nights, she never missed a dance recital, ice-skating competition or tucking me into bed. 


In the late 1990s, she moved out of real estate and into energy, taking a job at Enron Corporation. In 2001, Enron started to crumble, and by the end of the year, my mother joined thousands of fellow employees who packed up their personal belongings and closed their office doors. To add insult to injury, in 2001, Houston was devastated by Tropical Storm Allison. We sustained two feet of water in our house and lost most of our items on the first floor.


My mother was unemployed for the first time in her career, and our house was literally under water. However, she did not miss a beat. She accepted a position at Baker Hughes, provided consulting services to Triad Communication in Washington, D.C., and started writing for the Houston Chronicle. She worked three jobs, sacrificing her personal life, to make sure that we were financially stable. During this time, she worked with the media and other organizations to advocate and ensure her fellow employees at Enron received proper severance packages. She consulted on the movie "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" by providing the producers with contacts to interview. She truly demonstrates all the characteristics of a great and "gritty" role model by being resilient, innovative, resourceful and compassionate.


We will be celebrating our next class of GRIT Award winners on Oct. 3. Join us — in person in Houston or for the livestream


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!