Overcoming Challenges Through Persistence and Faith

Meet Patricia Guillory, the Chief Financial Officer of Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corp.

Gulf Copper provides services for the repair, conversion and refurbishment of offshore drilling rigs, construction and support vessels for the oil and gas industry, and provides marine surveying service internationally. It offers a full spectrum of services with diverse capabilities from strategically well-placed facilities along the Gulf of Mexico. They also happen to be the newest member of the Pink Petro community. And we couldn’t be more thrilled!

Patricia took her position at the age of 29, during a turbulent time with the company.

“At my interview, the owner explained that he could not promise the company would be able to commit to even my job being around in the next six months,” she recalls.

She made it through — with no small amount of persistence and faith. Here’s her story.

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

PG: The biggest challenge I have faced was taking control of Gulf Copper at the young age of 29. It was at a point in the company’s history when the financial and administration arms faced many challenges.

At my interview, the owner explained that he could not promise the company would be able to commit to even my job being around in the next six months. Employees were anxious at best, and many had low morale. The question for me was where to start on the impressive list of challenges — especially having been the first controller of this 40-plus-year-old organization hired after the bleeding had gone on for some time.

I overcame it with lots of prayers and leaning heavily on my faith. It was through prayer that I developed relationships with those in operations and administration. I also developed relationships with external resources and mentors. I overcame the anxiety of the job, asked many questions, answered many questions and worked excessive hours engaging others, attending meetings and making commitments.

In the end, we overcame these terrific trials and built our way back.

What’s one mistake you made and how did you learn from it?

PG: The one mistake I’ve made on numerous occasions is departing from my center and my faith to make decisions that do not fully consider the impact on others. An example of this is when I moved all the accounting staff from an operations site to the administration offices where I was located. It seemed practical, except it had not been too long since the assets were acquired. I failed to appreciate the full extent of everyone’s anxiety.

What became clear later is that having the groups in close proximity was helpful to merge the distinct company operating cultures within the two groups. A few years ago, we merged the locations and the two groups. Within a few months, nearly all of us agreed that the camaraderie and productivity levels were elevated. Over the years my faith in God has helped me realize that when I fall, I can get back up.

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

PG: The most rewarding part has been the mentorships developed (and still developing) with my team. Being able to share the experience with someone learning things they never believed they could master is rewarding.

Who’s been a “gritty” role model for you?

PG: My “gritty” role model is a business-savvy Harvard-educated gentleman who served on our audit committee for many years. He has seen us through some of our most turbulent times and has provided wisdom, knowledge, and strength. And he is always pushing me to take hold of the next challenge without waiver. He has provided constructive critiques at the most important times and always wants the very best for me. I truly appreciate his contributions to my life and the growth in my career.

Speaking up, Fighting Glass Ceilings and Giving Back

For Monica Baistrocchi, the Health, Safety, Environment and Service Quality (HSE&SQ) Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA) Region Manager for Halliburton, safety is her No. 1 priority. Monica, who was honored with a GRIT Award, oversees about 5,000 employees, both directly and indirectly, in the ESSA Region.

Monica’s mission, in her own words, is to “send every employee home safe every day through inspiring them to do the right thing and adopt safe behaviors when no one is watching!”

Read below for more from our conversation with Monica:

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

 MONICA BAISTROCCHI: In my previous role as Continental Europe Area Manager, we faced a dramatic increase in the number of vehicular accidents at work. Management called the HSE department for action and challenged me to get to ZERO recordable vehicle accidents.

So, I designed and implemented the Safe Driving Campaign, which involved all management levels and all employees in the area. We reduced the RVIR to ZERO in one year. It has been over four and a half years since we had a recordable vehicle incident in Continental Europe!

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

MB: I made the mistake of not speaking directly and openly to my manager about my career. This resulted in him choosing someone else to cover a role that I wanted. My Manager then changed, I had that conversation right away with my new Manager, and I was recently promoted to the role of HSE&SQ, ESSA Region Manager for Halliburton.

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

MB: The most rewarding part of my career was in 2013-2015 when I was nominated to participate in the BLD I-II-III training (Business Leadership Development) and PLEP (President Leadership Excellence Program).

Through the program, I was exposed to high-level education for executives and learned the functioning of a global company like Halliburton. I met the Halliburton Executive Committee and worked on team projects with the colleagues also that were selected for the same program together with me.

The company selects 20 to 30 high potential leaders per year for PLEP, and only five of them happened to be women during my class, so I was truly honored to be part of that program!

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

MB: My gritty role model worked at Halliburton for over 20 years and fought the “glass ceiling” for years. She would speak up, report misconducts, create alliances, expand her network, smile a lot, have fun and establish strong relationships with women around her. She was my role model!

EE: Which community service activities/organizations have you been associated with and in what capacity?

MB: I’ve been a Scout Leader for many years and learned that one of the most important things for a Leader is to serve others with joy, passion and care. To help them be safe and realize their potential gives me a sense of accomplishment.

I’m now a volunteer in the Caritas Community that helps poor women with little children in my hometown, and I have a mission as a safety manager: “Send every employee home safe every day through inspiring them to do the right thing and adopt safe behaviors when no one is watching!”.

GRIT Awards℠ & Best Energy Workplaces℠

The GRIT Awards honor difference makers in energy- women who lead and the men who champion their progress. Often unsung, these leaders are in the trenches making positive change happen regardless of what recognition may come their way. They take bold steps forward, advancing the sector.

Experience Energy launched the GRIT Awards in 2018 to overwhelming response. Hundreds of applications poured in from across the world. The ceremony attracted not only a live crowd of hundreds in Houston but also, more than 74,000 people online.

For more on how to nominate a person, team or company for our GRIT or Best Workplace Awards, go here.

‘There’s a reason you’re at the table: Don’t lose sight of that.’

There are far too few women in the energy sector. But some pioneers are helping blaze a path for more women to follow. One of them is Julie Munn-Sims, principal with KPMG and winner of a GRIT Award.  She has a crucial message for women in all fields: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge the norm. Don’t be afraid to think differently.”

“We can’t be afraid to speak up. You have to use your voice. And to that point, there’s a value you bring in your thought process… There’s a reason you’re at the table to begin with — and don’t lose sight of that.”

Munn-Sims leads the Financial Management Advisory practice for the Oil & Gas sector at KPMG. For more than 18 years, she has helped global companies transform, leading large-scale programs in finance, treasury, tax, import/export optimization, profitability and more.

Her career started with a decision some found surprising.

After growing up a “third-generation petrochemical child” in Oklahoma, the Panhandle, and Houston, she went to Baylor University. She ended up graduating with a whopping triple major in accounting, finance and economics. The energy sector was “in my DNA,” Munn-Sims says, so some people expected her to join the sector as a tax accountant. But she had a different idea. “I wanted to really do more of the problem solving,” she explained during a panel at the HERWorld Energy Forum.

Munn-Sims wanted to pursue a role “high enough to address all the different inputs and outputs,” including downstream, upstream and midstream. “Consulting enabled me to talk and work with different companies” across the value chain, she says.

In advance of the GRIT Awards, Munn-Sims was asked about the biggest challenge she has overcome. “It’s been about taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves, which appear like challenges, but end up as the most rewarding experiences,” she wrote.

For example, leaving a firm after 16 years to join KPMG “was a big decision that meant building a new network, building a new team and growing a practice of consulting professionals that I didn’t know. I had to rebrand myself in the market and build new business relationships.  There were many challenges including learning and adapting to a new culture and building a trusted relationship with my colleagues. As it turned out, it was the greatest opportunity.”

Asked about a mistake she learned from, Munn-Sims said that at one point when she was up for a promotion at another firm, “I was so focused on my own personal success that I lost sight of the visibility my career had for my team.”

A mentor told her, “This is a marathon, not a race. If you don’t take the time to find the right balance, your team that is watching you will believe that is the requirement for their success.  You have to think about the bigger picture.” “That really resonated with me,” Munn-Sims says. “I needed to focus on work/life balance, taking a breath, and enjoying the ride.”

The most rewarding part of her career, she says, has been helping fellow professionals grow “by developing a culture that promotes and encourages collaboration, teaming, diversity, and inclusion. Every leader should have a sense of stewardship and building a work environment that’s better for the next generation.”

Munn-Sims is also passionate about community service. She volunteers with several organizations including the United Way of Greater Houston, where she’s a member of the Women’s Initiative, Friendswood Education Foundation, and the Alpha Charity League with her sons.

GRIT Awards℠ & Best Energy Workplaces℠

The GRIT Awards honor difference makers in energy — women who lead and the men who champion their progress. Often unsung, these leaders are in the trenches making positive change happen regardless of what recognition may come their way. They take bold steps forward, advancing the sector.

Experience Energy launched the GRIT Awards in 2018 to overwhelming response. Hundreds of applications poured in from across the world. The ceremony attracted not only a live crowd of hundreds in Houston, but also more than 74,000 people online.

For more information and to nominate someone, visit https://experience.energy/grit-process/

Lindsay Sander on Overcoming Challenges and the Power of Positive Partnerships

This week on Profiles in GRIT, we are featuring Lindsay Sander, one of the winners from the 2018 GRIT Awards on October 3rd. Lindsay is the Principal of Sander Resources, L.L.C. in Austin, TX.

Sander Resources is a consulting firm that helps its clients address developments in state and federal policies that impact their businesses, and implement programs to comply with them. Sander Resources uses innovation and information to influence policy, drive business, manage risk, and ensure compliance.

Lindsay is originally from Edina, Minnesota. Moving to Texas and entering this industry has had its share of challenges for her, but she’s loving every minute of it. Here’s more of Lindsay’s story:

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

LS: Being underestimated, and there is nothing that I enjoy more. This occurs on a regular basis and has been the greatest challenge. It has likely benefitted me more than whatever specific challenge was facing our client or team. It has provided me with opportunities to demonstrate dedication, determination, hard work, problem-solving, and resolve. And it has resulted in great partnerships, wonderful friends, and a network of people who want to make a difference in moving issues and our industry forward. I truly hope people continue to underestimate me as it will only drive me to accomplish even greater things in the future.

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

LS: We took on a client with a CEO who had an oversized ego for the purpose of accomplishing a VERY difficult assignment. Despite successfully delivering what the client requested (a miraculous accomplishment with potentially fantastic outcomes), the CEO was uncooperative, unappreciative, and, ultimately, disrespectful to our team. The company is my life and the people who work for me are family. I will never tolerate poor treatment of either. It was a good, but hard lesson to learn: I realized that we are not looking to work with just “any” client; we are looking to partner with clients with whom we can do our best work.

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

LS: When clients are appreciative of the hard work and efforts of our team to accomplish their goals and make a difference.

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

LS:  I have been incredibly blessed to have a number of incredible people guide and mentor me. One of those is Alice Ratcliffe. She is a client who became a close friend. Alice pushes me to be a better person, take the higher road, and helps me navigate through some of the stickier issues – personally and professionally. Alice puts everything she has into what she does, loves her family, helps others and does it all with a smile on her face regardless of what has just happened in her world.

Dionne Auguste on Building a Personal Brand in a Foreign Land

This week on Profiles in GRIT, we meet Dionne Auguste. Dionne is the operations manager for NES Global Talent in Perth, Australia. NES is a workforce provider that provides staffing solutions across the Oil & Gas, Power, Infrastructure, Life Sciences, Manufacturing and Mining sectors globally. NES offers a diverse workforce and technical recruitment across major projects around the world. Dionne moved to Australia 6 years ago, she did not know anyone and moved without her friends and family, but through perseverance and grit, she overcame the challenges to build a successful career and a personal brand. She focused her efforts on networking and became involved in programs like a local lean in circle, Women in Oil and Gas Australia where she is a mentor. Today, she runs the lean in circles for her region and mentors other women and young professionals. It was a pleasure to honor Dionne at our 2nd annual GRIT Awards in October. And we’re excited to share more of her story with you.

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

DA: One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced both personally and professionally was moving from the UK to Australia. Not only was it a challenging personal transition, but I also had to learn the WA market, major projects and the technical aspects required for working in resources. When I made this move, I was about to turn 30. I was broke and trying to make a new life for myself away from my family and friends. The self-doubt I had during this time period was like nothing I had experienced before. I wanted to run away and go back home to my comfort zone. Fortunately, the thought of failing gave me the drive I needed to kickstart a new life and career. I knew I had to learn the market quickly so I began networking with professionals in the industry. I asked candidates and clients for their feedback and I looked after those who believed in me. In return, I was able to build a reputable personal brand in a competitive market.

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

DA: One of the biggest mistakes I made was underestimating how hard the move would be. I moved without much planning. It was very stressful, but I did it. I believed in myself and I worked hard to achieve success. I also had support from sponsors and mentors who I still seek advice from today.

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

DA: I love being a people manager and enjoy seeing success in others. One project that sticks out in my mind is the indigenous drive we did for a large LNG operator in Darwin. Their indigenous workforce was 0 and they wanted us to assist them in employing some indigenous candidates in their business. Darwin is a very remote location and it is difficult to source local candidates. However, we were able to provide a shortlist of 22 candidates of which 16 were from an indigenous background. The client put 12 of our candidates through their assessment day and employed 6, of which 3 were indigenous and 1 was female. This was an incredibly rewarding opportunity for me and NES Global Talent.

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

DA: Oprah Winfrey is one of my all-time role models. I come from a diverse background myself. My father was born in the Caribbean and my mother is from Scotland. So I can relate to some of the challenges Oprah has faced throughout her career. The strength which Oprah has shown to the world is phenomenal. She has touched the hearts of thousands of people and has not been afraid to bare her soul, emotions and imperfections. It has been inspiring to follow her career and what she has achieved.

Which community service activities/organizations have you been associated with and in what capacity?

  • DA:  Women in Oil and Gas Australia – This is a Lean In circle lead by Veena Mendaz who is a category manager for Chevron. I have been part of the membership since Veena founded the organization 5 years ago and I am now honored to be part of their mentoring program. I am currently mentoring a female project controls engineer.
  • Wirrapanda Foundation – This foundation is an indigenous non-profit organization. We work with the foundation to assist them in placing suitable candidates within the resources industry who have gone through their mentor program.
  • SCLAA – I have had a relationship with this organization for about 5 year. We regularly reach out to them when we are seeking young professionals within the supply chain industry who have completed their degrees and looking for their first full-time position in mining and oil and gas.
  • Leadership – I am the internal diversity rep for APAC at NES Global Talent and run our lean in circles across the region.
  • Pat Thomas Women’s Refuge – I regularly donate clothes, cosmetics and other items to this women’s refuge.
  • Women in Mining – I am currently a member of this organization and am in conversations with them to present at their sundowner later in the year.
  • Brightwater- I am a volunteer as part of their “Music Pharmacy Program” the program works with Dementia patients to engage them in music programs such as personal playlists, group sessions and harp playing.

Walking the walk: How Wood Mackenzie is driving industry change

Today, more companies are talking about the importance of inclusion.

But how many of them really walk the walk?

Pink Petro’s newest global member, Wood Mackenzie, does. And we are delighted to have them on board.

Woodmac, a Verisk company, is a research and consultancy business for the global energy, metals and mining, and chemicals industries.

“It’s not just about ensuring that the gender balance is equal, it’s about changing the culture. You’re not looking at gender, you’re looking at skills. And everybody benefits from that shift in culture.” 

Anthea Pitt, Director of Public Relations, Woodmac

She first learned about Pink Petro earlier this year when Amy Bowe, the director of upstream consulting at Woodmac, won a GRIT award in March. Prior to Amy’s nomination, neither of them were familiar with Pink Petro.

When Amy returned home from receiving her award in Houston, the two of them looked into Pink Petro further and felt that it was a fantastic organization for Woodmac to be a part of.

What led to this decision?

They loved the career development and mentoring work that Pink Petro does.

Anthea has worked in the industry as a journalist and communications adviser for the past 18 years and is fascinated by the energy sector. One of her big regrets is that she did not know that a career in geology was an option she could have pursued. “In the place I grew up, and at the time I grew up, women from my background weren’t encouraged to pursue further education, let alone a scientific career,” she says.

She is glad that there are fewer barriers these days for women to pursue careers in the energy industry.

The oil sector has traditionally been viewed as a male-dominated industry that isn’t particularly friendly towards women.  But, there are women working quietly and effectively in the background (and it can definitely feel like that at times). 

In fact, Wood Mackenzie has a team of incredibly knowledgeable, sharp women who are involved in everything from exploration and production to gas and LNG, refining and chemicals and power and renewables, to mining and metals. They are clever, diligent women at the top of their game.

Anthea is proud that Woodmac takes inclusion and diversity seriously. In fact, of the 1,382 employees worldwide, 534 are female.

Yes, joining Pink Petro is just one of the ways that Woodmac is “walking the walk.” With strong support from their parent company, Verisk, they’ve also implemented a number of initiatives for women including:

  • Imposter syndrome workshops recognize that all women suffer from imposter syndrome to some degree.
  • Gender working groups look to ensure that the company is balanced in its workplace, policies, and procedures.
  • Women in senior leadership positions including  HR, marketing, cross-research, and consulting roles within their teams and specialties.

Woodmac also emphasizes physical and mental health and well-being as a priority for all of its employees. And they promote gender balance. Within the workplace, at Woodmac there is an active awareness that you need a balance between work and your home life.

Woodmac recognizes women are no longer the exception. And that the company is actively working to be a part of that change in the industry. So, as Anthea and Amy dug deeper into discovering what Pink Petro was all about, membership seemed like a natural fit.

Anthea approached senior leadership at Woodmac to say, “this would be good for all the women working at the company, and particularly the younger women to help them ground themselves within the industry.” 

Woodmac agreed.

Through Pink Petro and Experience Energy, Woodmac employees can learn from women who have had to fight to get where they are and gain better knowledge and understanding of it.