Selby Bush, head of corporate affairs – North America for BHP Group Plc, is today’s featured Forty Under 40 honoree.
In 2008, while working for a presidential campaign, Bush made a career pivot when she accepted a position with the Williams Cos. Inc. as a government affairs representative. She spent the next decade of her oil and gas career managing political strategy of over $7 billion in successful pipeline projects that were transformative for the emerging Marcellus Shale.
After that, she was selected for a talent development program through the Harvard Business School, a program which gave her the tools and insight for an executive role, prior to joining BHP as a manager in the company’s North America Corporate Affairs department.
When the head of corporate affairs at BHP retired, Bush said the position remained unfilled upon her return from maternity leave earlier this year.
“I expected a fairly easy return to work, assuming my old role, which included managing two direct reports, and ‘filling in’ as the informal department leader until a replacement was named,” she said.
However, four weeks later, the effects of COVID-19 began to ravage the U.S. It became apparent that the department of 14 needed more than a de facto leader, according to Bush, who ended up stepping into that role to begin making decisions and empowering the department as they worked to support the communities in which BHP operates during the pandemic.
“With no formal authority, I led the North America Corporate Affairs team to create the $2.5 million-dollar Community Relief Fund, which sent funds directly to organizations in need,” she said.
“This leadership led to my formal appointment as acting head of corporate affairs – North America for BHP and was merely a result of stepping in to fill a gap, making agile decisions and doing what is right for the company and for our stakeholders,” she added.
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