Execs must be ‘more open to the way the world wants to work’


To solve the energy crisis, businesses in the energy sector need to attract a diverse workforce and empower workers to have their voices heard. That’s a message Deanna Jones, a winner at the GRIT Awards, shared at the HERWorld Energy Forum in Houston.

The industry is having a difficult time attracting a broad range of talent. This is particularly true as tech companies become an increasing draw for millennials. To compete, energy leaders need to approach hiring differently, said Jones, senior vice president of HR, Communications and Administration for Marathon Oil, one of Houston’s Top Workplaces.


“As executives, we’re going to have to be a whole lot more open to the way the world wants to work in the future and figure out a way to make that happen.”


That includes allowing people to work remotely. And supporting work-life initiatives as part of taking a more holistic view of employees, she said.

But attracting diverse teams isn’t enough. To make them effective, it’s important to help everyone “show up with our diversity when we come into the room, instead of trying to act like everybody else,” Jones said. When everyone seems to go along with a single line of thinking, and someone with a different idea remains “silent instead of bringing that different comment,” organizations lose the power of diversity.


See HERWorld panel video here (Pink Petro members only)


Jones’ leadership in HR has drawn accolades, including from people who nominated her for a GRIT Award from Experience Energy. One called her “my personal example of grit.” Another described her as a “creative and challenging business leader who we all admire with pride.”

The oil and gas industry, in particular, has far too few women. Jones is a leading voice pushing to help change that.

“I have a real passion and dedication towards supporting the professional careers of successful women,” Jones said. “Encouraging others to have the courage to believe in their own capabilities and boldly take on a new role or challenge is particularly rewarding to me. During my career I have been inspired by many women who have perfected excellence through sheer determination, achieving career successes where there was not an easy or obvious path.”

Jones’ own path took her around the world. Jones earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary.  She has also completed executive business courses in HR at the University of Michigan and courses in finance at the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Also passionate about community service, she serves on the board of directors of Communities In Schools of Houston.


About the GRIT Awards


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.

CLICK HERE for more information and to nominate someone.

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.