Some of the best advice Lees Rodionov ever received came from her parents. “My dad made us write down goals,” she recalls. “He would say: ‘If you don’t set goals, you’ll be a hitchhiker in your own life. If you set goals, you’re driving the car and you can always change direction.’” That fatherly advice inspired Rodionov to change direction mid-career—and helped her reach the executive level of Schlumberger, the global leader in oilfield services.

Rodionov joined Schlumberger in 1993, shortly after graduating from Houston’s Rice University with an MBA degree in finance. She spent six years working for the oil service giant’s human resources (HR) department but was becoming increasingly interested in joining the business side of Schlumberger.
And so, remembering her father’s words of advice, Rodionov put a multiyear plan in motion. “I set the goal. I wanted to run a business,” Rodionov says. “I leveraged my HR background to figure out the steps to get there, and I drove the car in that direction.”

In 2003, Rodionov accomplished her goal when she became general manager of Schlumberger in the Caribbean, which included operations in Trinidad, Barbados, Suriname and Guyana. She was overjoyed to have an opportunity to work in line management. “With a business degree and an HR background in a very technical company, [I was an unusual candidate]. Most of the managers started their careers in field operations,” Rodionov says. “Being given the chance to run businesses in the latter part of my career is certainly something that I’m proud of.” 

Get the nomination form for 2020. Deadline for submissions is Friday, August 30, 2019.