The Faces and Voices of Energy

What it Takes to Make a True Impact


Today we are excited to share Afton Sterling’s story with you – a story of confidence, leadership, and making an impact.  Afton is a regulatory manager for the NE Appalachia Division of Southwestern Energy located in Spring, TX. Southwestern Energy is a natural gas E&P company with approximately 1000 employees.

Afton is originally from DuBois Pennsylvania and attended Pennsylvania State University. She is the direct manager of three employees and oversees another 10 indirectly.

Throughout her career, Afton has come to recognize that she has a voice and can add value to her company by using it. As a leader, she is focused on inspiring others to do the same.

Challenges, Mistakes, and Recognizing Your Value

According to Afton, of the biggest challenges she faced in her career was showcasing her leadership and technical abilities as a young leader.

“In oil and gas, historically, age has been associated with experience and ability. But in reality, I have found that it is more focused on your passion, commitment, and your professional/personal support network. These things allow you to leverage your technical knowledge and really be successful beyond your age.”

One mistake she’s made is not speaking up when she had something to add to a meeting or conversation. “I need to remind myself that what I have to say is valuable for the company, otherwise, I wouldn’t be an employee here,” she said. Afton recognized that her role as a leader is to inspire others to do the same.

Afton’s Rewarding Career

The most rewarding part of her career has been seeing the impact of her role as a regulatory professional. “My role has helped to draft new regulations, technical guidance policies and even legislation that supports SWN’s efforts and the Industry in general. I also find it extremely rewarding to teach others about the regulations that govern what we do and how we do it,” she said.

Afton also finds volunteer work rewarding. “I volunteer my time to serve on committees through industry groups, such as the Marcellus Shale Coalition. In everything I do, it’s important that industry and the perception of SWN as an engaged, proactive company is highlighted and affirmed through my positive interactions,” she said.

Afton Sterling was a winner at the 2018 GRIT Awards.  The 2019 GRIT Awards will be held this October. Do you know someone you’d like to nominate this year? Stay tuned for more details.