Energy 2.0 is a manifesto we wrote with our partners at Gaping Void. We know we need more equality in the workplace. We need to take better place of our environment. And everyone wants to make money. Energy 2.0 is about equality, environment and economy. At the heart of it though are people.
Energy is about the talent that powers our world.
We believe business is better when we think deeply about who we are, where energy is going, and our impact on humanity. Experience Energy with us. Learn more about our careers platform, culture consulting, and download our e-book on Energy 2.0.
Meet Tameka Ramsey, manager of global compliance and ethics at ConocoPhillips.
Early in her career, she learned the importance of asking for what you want so you can get where you want to go. Now, she’s committed to helping others achieve the same goal.
Get to know more about Tameka below.
EXPERIENCE ENERGY: What’s been the most rewarding part of your career?
TAMEKA RAMSEY: Spending my days trying to do the right thing. I am humbled by the fact that my company has entrusted me to uphold our culture of integrity, prevent organizational misconduct and to protect those who could be harmed by it.
Each day I get to live out a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that has guided both my personal and professional life: “The time is always right to do what is right.”
EE: Who’s been a “gritty” role model for you and why?
TR: My mother. She is the queen of just get it done. Her favorite saying is, “Lick your wounds and keep moving.” I love her for this! She was a single mother, and I saw her resilience daily as she worked to move us forward socioeconomically. Many days and nights of work paved the way for me to get a better education than she did and to see places she has never dreamed of. My mother is the grittiest woman I know, and I live every day to make her proud.
EE: What’s one mistake you made and what did you learn from it?
TR: My first job after my undergraduate study was at a large pharmaceutical company. I was hired to be an analytical chemist supporting research and development. I had no idea that it took 15 years for a drug to go from conception to production. Yikes! Immediate disengagement set in.
While attending a company event, I ran into a senior scientist, who was also an alumnus from my university. He asked me how things were going. With glossed-over eyes, I admitted to him that I was very unhappy. He invited me to schedule an appointment to discuss. I went to see him, and he sat with me and helped me draft talking points for communicating with my manager and human resources.
This preparation empowered me to effectively communicate my concerns and my continued commitment to adding value to the company. Shortly thereafter, I was offered an opportunity to lead a diversity STEM recruiting initiative in the human resources department. I never returned to a technical role.
I learned several things from this time in my life.
First, identify people you can trust and reach out for help when needed. I suffered for over a year in that role and allowed fear to discourage me from engaging others. Now I keep an established circle of mentors and supporters that I can call on for support when making decisions and providing accountability for career goals.
In addition, I learned that mentoring is critical to building strong people, professions and organizations. I am currently a mentor and provide coaching to executives. This small commitment has given me monumental returns.
Lastly, I learned that when accepting a new role, it is imperative that you thoroughly understand what the job entails prior to accepting. This bit of pre-work can save lots of time and stress in the long run.
Do you know someone with GRIT?
Tameka is a difference-maker in energy — a leader who embodies growth, resilience, innovation and transition in a transparent world.
We’re on a mission to find the difference makers…the people, affinity groups and workplaces who are creating the new future for energy. Nominations are now open for the GRIT and Best Workplace Awards in energy. Nominate today!
Creator of The Great Rewrite, Leonard Brody is a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and best-selling author.
KPMG partnered with Brody and Forbes to bring The Great Rewrite to life on Forbes. Speaking on the sidelines of the KPMG GEC 2019, speaker Leonard Brody delivered a message of both the future of innovation and historical context called “The Great Rewrite.”
The bottom line?
“The Great Rewrite is not the argument that the world is changing and you should transform. It’s about understanding the historical context in which the transformation is happening,” he said. Without looking at how industries historically thrive and then often die, and approaching this exercise with great ‘humility’ about how your organization will live beyond you, is a recipe for irrelevance. “History is littered with companies that couldn’t adapt to change.”
A student of change
Brody knows about entrepreneurship from the bottom up.
He sold his live entertainment business and later joined a JV with the Creative Artists Agency called Creative Labs. “What we do is change management all day long at Creative Labs. There is truth in numbers.”
Brody is a big believer of looking at an industry’s own mortality.
His job recently, he said, was to “take this 55 year old company and take it, kicking and screaming, into the new era.” Although he says it is popular to think of the transformations and the current moment as completely unprecedented, this isn’t necessarily true. “It is in fact the fourth rewrite of the planet. It is trying to give executives at any level a framework they can look at the world and not just their industry.”
Unless companies understand the moment they inhabit, he said, they may be doomed to the trash bin of history. “False historical bias is the Achilles heel of most executives all over the world,” he said. Financial markets, for example, look at historical contexts that are “far too short.” Understanding mass scale shifts is easier, according to the Great Rewrite, when you understand how previous mass shifts have taken place over the past hundred years or more.
The challenge is that “most executives have a short historical context. They get blindsided by what they don’t know.” He uses the examples of how cars don’t depend on ownership anymore as an epitome of the American dream. Most people now lease. The auto industry had to adapt.
Cryptocurrency is another example of disruption that Brody uses. “The massive bomb here is Amazon, Google, and the five major players. They are already announcing their own currencies.”
Diversity and culture
So how does culture fit in, and how can women power this transformation? “Statistically you see,” said Brody, “women are better with change. Period. If you looked at the data and the willingness to deal with change, women do better.”
Acknowledging this is a gross overgeneralization, Brody says that boards and leadership should represent the diversity within their customer base – and that includes women.
“As you move to more technologically complex environments, they require machine to human and human to human interaction. Women are probably better stewards to that change, managing that change.”
“What is missing in the diversity argument,” said Brody, “is organizational diversity.” This means people from outside the legacy industry. “You need to introduce 30% of the people with startup experience. Then you can start to change the DNA. You should be spending 10 percent of everything you hold dear earmarked to the question ‘what does the world look like during our mortality’?”.
To make this more direct, companies need to benchmark this. From the top, boards need should be forcing 10 percent of revenue from new product lines.
The problem, says Brody, is an inherent resistance to the risk of failure.
“What happens with a board of directors, is companies don’t have a successful way to reward successful failure. Energy companies are what he calls legacies. “Companies in legacy sectors recognize you shouldn’t affect the core with something risky from day one. You have to create a ring-fenced environment from day one.”
“How do you enable people culturally to test and innovate things they may not have done in the day to day context of their jobs.” This means protecting these units from the vagaries of the market or the oil price. “You have to build a SWOT team to build this project. It requires a braveness from the board level.
You have to assume the world doesn’t need you.
Eventually you have to assume they won’t.” You need enable a core team, he said, to “enable people culturally to test and innovate things they may not have done in the day-to-day context of their jobs.” This is important, he said, from the top to the bottom of the organization. Hiring people at the beginning of their careers at the bottom, and strategic thinkers at the board level, is the secret sauce.
“It is hugely important for companies to get that cultural piece.” Fintech companies have been able to engrain the culture of innovation into traditional legacy industries. There has to be a structure to these collaborations. Buying new technologies and taking a wait-and-see approach won’t work, he said.
Technology alone will not save us
There is good and bad news, according to Brody. “Technology is an enabler and not a deliverer. It’s really about a human framework for change.” At the core of Brody’s premise is that “humans are the core currency of the new world.”
The good news, Brody says, is that “now, everyone has pretty deep clarity that there is a lot of change and this requires a response. But they don’t know what the response is yet.” What many struggle with, he said, is ”a macroeconomic, techno framework to understand this in a framework other than technology.”
So how can companies both innovate and keep the core business going?
By carving out laboratories of innovation, says Brody. To do this, a company has to emerge from its denial about its own eventual demise. “You have to be very clear and focused on understanding your own mortality as a business, and understand what the world looks like when you’re not needed.” To respond to disruption, “a bold response is required.” The toe-in-the-water period, he said, is over.
Companies in legacy industries such as energy, he said, need people with “entrepreneurial skillsets and mindset. You cannot train for that – you are either that or not. An organization needs both. The balance for management is to find the right balance between people who have entrepreneurial mindsets and organizational experience and those who don’t but have other skillsets.
For true entrepreneurs, “you need to build stuff and fail.” A lot.
Brody holds up Google “as a good model, for somebody to say: I have an idea. I need a budget. I want to test it. It has a 90 percent chance of failure but that ten percent is important. That failure is important, I’m going to learn and stretch the organization.” Not many companies have a stomach for that much failure, he noted. Shareholders don’t tend to reward any innovation that doesn’t affect the day-to-day bottom line. The time horizon is too short.
Banks are another legacy industry, he said, that have actually innovated well. “Banks have done a good job of easing in testing, they trial and test them early. Individuals working on projects and portfolios are ringfenced.” How is this carved out? “They are measured and their budgets are separate from the parent.” He recommends any innovation unit to get a signed memorandum of understanding from the leadership.
“It should say, ‘When the stuff hits the fan, because it will, or the economy tanks, you will not abandon us.’”
How you can lead the change
Brody had some advice for innovative thinkers, on how to change your organization.
“You have to be very clear with your management, that you want to spend time working on very specific definable projects and research.” This research, he said, should answer the question, “what does the world look like when we are not in it? How do we structure internally to do that?” For companies, the stakes are high if they do not change. “At a high level, the companies who have that culture and can sustain it will sustain talent. The ones who don’t, will lose it.”
Kathleen Eisbrenner stood up nice and tall in the board room and looked me in the eye and said,
“Giving up isn’t an option. When things get tough, you just work harder. You can do this because you already are.”
It wasn’t the first time I had met Kathleen. But when we met this time, it was the first private conversation we had after I had lost my home and business after Hurricane Harvey. I actually bumped into Kathleen and her husband Ray earlier in 2017 at Gastech. They were on the same flight I took to Tokyo. I remember thinking to myself,
“How does she look so put together after 20 hours on an airplane?”
And so that’s what I asked her. “Hey Kathleen, Katie Mehnert with …” Before I had the chance to ask her for her secrets, she said, “I know you Katie. You worked at Shell and now you run Pink Petro. I’ve kept up with you. It’s great to see you. This is Ray, my husband,” she said.
I remember when I met Kathleen years back when I was at Shell. She was a legend hired to run the LNG business. She spoke at a women’s network event I had the chance to attend while working abroad. And back then, she had as much bite in her than she did that day I saw her in the immigration line in Japan, and later that year, in her office in 2017.
You couldn’t miss Kathleen. Purple was her color. Pink “became” mine. She was a warrior and passionate about energy and the possibilities of LNG.
Kathleen, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend to all whose lives she touched, passed away in her home town of The Woodlands, Texas, on Thursday, May 9th, 2019. She was 58 years old. She suffered a devastating head injury from a fall in her home earlier in the week and passed away while surrounded by her family.
Kathleen’s role model was her father who she say was the first to really ‘rise above challenges’. “I like taking hardships and turning them into opportunities,” says Kathleen in this JA Hall of Achievement Laureate video in 2016.
We’re going to miss her passion. The world of energy won’t be the same.
Experience Energy is proud to partner with the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Gulf Coast Section. We are striving to provide a platform for experienced upstream professionals and oil and gas companies to meet in person and create value for both sides.
The SPE is partnering with other professional organizations to make this event inclusive and representative of the upstream segment. Thus, we expect candidates from all upstream disciplines to participate.
Employers will have early access to the job seekers’ CVs, access to a brief job seeker’s questionnaire, have a booth at the event and have the opportunity to meet with experienced candidates. See details on the event website here.
Registration rates are scaled by number of employees:
The moment Colleen Scholl dropped out of college was the moment her career began.
She was living in Pennsylvania and decided to press pause on her education. She needed a job, and her dad knew someone who offered to help — the security guard at a local power plant in Pennsylvania.
She had the technical skills necessary for the job — she spent her childhood working on cars with her dad — and she passed the requisite tests.
“And the next thing I knew, I was an operator at a coal-burning power plant,” says Colleen, now the senior vice president and director of professional engineering services with HDR, an architecture and engineering firm headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.
She was the plant’s first female employee, and throughout her career, she’s grown accustomed to being one of very few women in the industry. As a result, she’s become deeply committed to supporting mentorship among women in energy — first on the board of the Society of Women Engineers and now on the board of Lean In Energy, the nonprofit Pink Petro created in partnership with Sheryl Sandberg’s global Lean In organization to provide mentorship opportunities to women across the industry.
“This is an industry that has given me so much, and I’ve been lucky to have great male mentors. But I want women to have the choice of female mentors, too,” she says. “These are tough cookies. These are strong women, and they need those role models to look up to. You have to see her to be her.”
Colleen spent four years working for the plant. In that time, she also finished her engineering degree. That allowed her to move into an engineering position, designing power plants and building combined-cycle, gas-powered power plants with what is now Worley Parsons.
The job put her out in the field, solving problems on site. After a few years, she earned a site assignment as resident engineer building two coal-burning power plants in South Carolina.
“It was the most incredible experience of my life,” she recalls. “It taught me a lot about being an engineer, but it also taught me a lot about being a person.”
It also taught her to stand up — not to the men who comprised the majority of her colleagues, but to the handful of female pipe fitters and welders who had a habit of ridiculing her day after day.
“It was really cold one day, and I didn’t have my jacket with me. I found this pink hoodie. This was really vibrant pink. So I was walking around, and these women said, ‘Oh honey, this is a construction site. We don’t wear pink on a construction site.’ And I said, ‘Sweetie, I’m management. I can wear whatever I want.’ And that was the day I learned to speak up,” Colleen recalls.
The guys on her crew cheered for her — and started buying her pink everything to show their support.
“Now pink is kind of my signature color,” she says.
Once that project wrapped, Colleen went to work for Bechtel Power in Frederick, Md., managing the firm’s water treatment engineering group.
“I got to see the power industry around the world. I built projects in Russia and South America and India,” she recalls. “It was challenging but I learned a lot from it.”
More than five years ago now, Colleen left Bechtel and joined HDR, starting in the firm’s power sector and eventually landing a promotion to manage all the private sector technical resources and a team of 1,200.
“The power industry is in a time of dramatic change. We’re shutting down all of the coal-fired power plants. We stopped building nuclear power plants. We’re in the middle of a renewables renaissance. Honestly, I think it’s a lot of the women helping push that change forward,” she adds. “Women want to do good. Inherently in our brains when we choose careers, we want to do something that we can be proud of, that can improve the world in some way.”
I heard from folks at Bloomberg this week when this piece came out: Big Oil Battles Gender Problem That May Take Generations to Fix.
My response: Sure, it may. But it doesn’t have to.
The key is for leaders to stop talking about the problem and start focusing on the solution: making diversity not just a “priority,” but a value.
It’s time to make equal opportunity a part of the culture of how big oil operates.
We’ve seen that this can work. When the industry put a new focus on safety and made that a part of our culture, real change followed. It’s time for us to make that same commitment to diversity of all kinds, including gender equity.
Across the energy sector, leaders can and must do a better job of appealing to and engaging with women. Currently, the industry does not communicate well enough about possibilities for women to have flourishing careers. It doesn’t do enough reach out to universities to build a pipeline of talent, attracting women in STEM. And there aren’t adequate resources inside many companies to help ensure women receive equal opportunities to work their way up the ranks.
Oil companies must also do more to highlight the stories of women at all levels. Rather than just honoring certain women executives at ceremonies with rubber chicken dinners, organizations should provide women with more open forums to be heard. (On this front, see Bloomberg’s coverage of HERWorld here.)
At company and industry events, as well as in media, we should all be learning about the obstacles women face in the industry and how those obstacles can be removed.
This will help empower women and girls to forge paths in this sector. When my daughter sees representations of the people in the energy sector, she should see people like her.
And it will help empower everyone who cares about this issue to work together.
This is why we hold the GRIT Awards — to share the powerful stories of women. It’s why we’ve launched Experience Energy to help women build careers and advance in the industry.
What do you think we need to do to make gender parity happen now — and not leave it to future generations?
Meet Addy Ortega. For Addy, being a leader means to go beyond just being a boss. Hear about how she leads a team of 90 engineers in Halliburton’s San Antonio, Texas, lab and tips on how you can become a leader, too.
For more on how you can join the team at Halliburton, explore open opportunities at Experience Energy!