If you’re not pi$@%ng someone off…

“If you’re not pissing someone off, you’re not doing your job well!”
These are words Katherine Culbert lives by. The CEO of K and K Process, LLC  learned this mantra the hard way early in her career after being named in a labor union grievance. Twenty years later, the GRIT Award winner recognizes she does not need to be the most popular person in the room to be a successful engineer. Culbert has faced her share of challenges, while climbing the proverbial ladder. Being dismissed by others in power is chief among them.

“I was always being told I don’t know what needs to be done technically and with regards to business advancement,” she says. “So, I have worked very hard to prove my abilities.”

Rather than crumble under the criticism, Culbert met the challenges head-on. She went back to school for an MBA and is currently studying law. She became licensed, got certifications, developed and honed her skills volunteering at non-profits and, ultimately, become her own boss.

“Now that I am the CEO, I am proving to myself and others that my technical and business skills are on point.”

Pink Petro profiled Katherine long before she was a GRIT Award winner. Read all about how she took the leap to entrepreneurship with a partner. In less than a year, the company turned a profit. The partnership didn’t last, but the business did. “Having a partner was a challenge because we did not have the same commitment to the company.” As a one-woman-band, she handles most of the technical tasks and all the business tasks. K and K Process, LLC  works with smaller oil & gas companies and petrochemical plants to comply with process safety management regulations. “My job is to protect communities, the environment, personnel and business assets.”

Talk about turning negatives into positives!

“It was very discouraging to be shot down with every idea I brought to the table.”

Clearly, that doesn’t happen to her these days . . . now that she’s at the head of her own table.

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.