Women Making Positive Impact on the Energy Industry
In January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg proclaimed, “Men still run the world…I’m not sure its going that well.”
Although I believe men in the workplace get a bad rap – in 15 years of working with every industry from oil and gas to healthcare to airlines – I have never personally felt a gender bias – but the numbers don’t lie. Women earn less than men, are promoted to executive positions less often than men, and yet, command more buying power (some stats say 70-80% of purchasing decisions are made by women).
So where is all of this going? To the simple fact that boardrooms are not reflective of the consumers they serve.
Earlier in March, I attended the first annual Pink Petro HERWorld Energy Forum, hosted by Halliburton. The event highlighted the impact women and diversity can have on companies in the energy industry, as well as what the future holds for the industry as oil prices start to regain stability. It was refreshing to know that many in the industry, women and MEN, are taking notice and making changes to attract and support more executive female representation.
Aside from women in leadership positions and diversity, innovation and taking a look at other industries as inspirations for change were also topics discussed by the speakers and panelists.
Below are a few sights and sounds from the event:
Pink Petro Founder and CEO Katie Mehnert welcomes the crowd, and advises to “never waste a good crisis.” Crises are how you learn and grow as a professional.
A spirited discussion regarding policy and educating the public around fossil fuels, titled “Our Role In Shaping Energy’s Future,” featured panelists from left to right: David Holt, President and CEO, Consumer Energy Alliance, Peggy Montana, Board Director and Former CEO, Shell Midstream LP, Eileen Campbell, Former Vice President of Global Public Policy, Marathon Oil, and ÛÒ via Skype on-screen – Alex Epstein, Director for The Center for Industrial Progress and author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. “When times are tough, the training, development and PR budgets get cut, but that’s where all of the education comes from,” commented Epstein.
The next generation of energy professionals, students from the Energy Institute High School in Houston discuss their career goals and desire to be a part of the energy industry. (From left to right: Kaleigh Davis (Class of ’17), Diana Prieto (Class of ’17), and Katie Mehnert as moderator)
Karen McCullough, motivational speaker, author and conference keynote speaker, energized the crowd with her light-hearted program called What’s Next, and encouraged attendees to “seek out people who are different from you and expand your opportunities.”
Companies in the oil and gas industry have an opportunity to change fast, but they “need creativity, need innovation and need efficiency.” The main message of a panel focused on workforce development, supplier diversity and the rise of Petropreneurship. Featured panelists from left to right were facilitator Paula Waggoner-Aguilar, President and CEO of The Energy CFO; Kimberly Wilson, Managing Director, TLP Search and Pink Petro Board Chairman; Janeen Judah, General Manager, Chevron and incoming 2017 President of the Society of Professional Engineers; Fred Whipple, Vice President of Diversity, Community and Workforce for Shell; Andrew Gaeckle, Director of Programming, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Journalists Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault discuss the fascinating life and business story of Leon Hess, founder of Hess Corporation. Their biography of the oil tycoon, entitled Hess: Lessons in Leadership From the Last Oil Baron, not only describes Hess’ business acumen, but his lesser talked about ability to “engender goodwill and loyalty from his employees” through incredible generosity and care for their well-being.
Pink Petro logo credit: OilOnline