Kayla Ball, chief product officer at Validere, is today's featured Forty Under 40 honoree.
With plans to become a geologist, Ball initially shied away from oil and gas, despite her family's ties to the energy industry. However, she strayed from her "lane" and advises other young professionals to do the same.
"Nobody is going to chart your path forward, and the best opportunities will always present themselves when you feel unready and unworthy," Ball said. "Most of the best qualities are intrinsic to the person, the rest can be learned."
Before Validere, Ball pioneered subsurface interpretation technologies with IHS Kingdom, creating many unique solutions in geosteering that are still used today.
As a leader at her company, Ball prefers to be work with her team on a more personal level, forging connections and recognizing "the human first" rather than delegating from afar. She has cultivated this leadership style from her previous mentors and bosses, observing what she wanted to emulate and what she didn't like.
"My favorite leaders were always in the trench with the rest of the team, not passing down objectives and ultimatums from an ivory tower," Ball said.
"I like to think that I am highly relatable to my teams," she continued. "We know each other on a personal level, [and] we have open and candid (sometimes painful) conversations because we genuinely want the best for each other."
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