Congratulations to Oil and Gas Investor’s 25 Influential Women In Energy. And congratulations to Hart Energy on continuing an important tradition by highlighting the stories of women who are pioneers in this field.
All of us working to advance the energy sector through gender equality and diversity are part of a fantastic community. Together, we can pave the way to a better future—both for our industry and the world.
In the five years since we created Pink Petro, I’ve had the chance to work with so many women and men who are committed to boosting women’s leadership in the sector. We obviously have a long way to go, but we should celebrate the strides forward along the way.
Women like those selected this year, and thousands of others in our industry throughout the world, are helping show today’s young women, and girls like my daughter, that energy is a field open to them.
They’re building stronger businesses. Loads of research demonstrates that having a better gender balance delivers better returns and more conservative balance sheets, and stronger development outcomes.
I’m happy to say businesses in our sector are showing an increasing understanding of this—and not just here in Houston. I’ve recently returned from the International Petroleum Technology Conference in Saudi Arabia, where I spoke on “the business imperative for inclusion.” The warm reception showed that this message is resonating.
They’re building a better world. Research has found that women’s participation increases innovation. As the Stanford Social Innovation Review put it, growing evidence shows that greater equality breeds “the creation of new and potentially disruptive ideas, products or services.”
That’s what we need in order to enter a new era of sustainability. The world is demanding more energy than ever, but produced and consumed in new ways. To do our part in tackling climate change, oil and gas companies must be part of the solution—with women equally at the forefront.
We’ve entered a new decade, and with it comes the potential to make sweeping changes. By tapping into the brilliant minds of creative, passionate women and men, we’ll steer our efforts in the right direction, taking energy to new heights.
As I said in my congressional testimony last year, oil and gas companies must be a part of this.
The question for each of us now is what actions we’re going to take.
At our most recent workforce summit, Pink Petro’s member companies, which form our Global Community Council, discussed how the energy sector can lead in attracting and retaining the next generation workforce. The result was the Energy Workforce of the Future report, with four principal findings:
Build inclusive cultures. All employees must feel heard by managers who are active listeners. They should also feel valued and have opportunities to contribute. These efforts include everyone—women, minorities, white men, everyone.
Create an Industry Value Proposition (IVP). Our sector is widely misunderstood, and not doing enough to attract and retain workers. It’s time for a new narrative that presents energy companies as technology companies, and focuses on energy’s positive contributions to the world.
Measure and build D&I into performance. From entry-level jobs to the boardroom, our companies need clear goals and objectives—as well as plans to achieve them. Company surveys and performance metrics are also crucial for tracking progress and seeing where things falter.
Accelerate the sharing of best practices. We’re all on the same team, and need a central home for our best ideas. So Pink Petro is bringing together industry networks and developing a database of resources. We’d love to have you join in! (To see the full report and contribute your ideas, visit us at pinkpetro.com, and at our jobs site experience.energy.)
Of course, there are myriad other steps we can take as well. When we work together, we can overcome obstacles, lift each other up, and see big progress.
Today, we’re celebrating 25 of the women who are helping do just that. Thank you for your hard work, determination, and strength. You are true leaders. As a former executive at two big oil companies, I know it isn’t easy—but I also know that fantastic rewards await.
All my best,
P.S. We’d love to see you all next week at the Energy 2.0 Forum!
Katie Mehnert is founder and CEO of Pink Petro™, the global community and career resource aimed at disrupting the gender gap in energy. Pink Petro has grown exponentially since its launch in 2014, with members in 120 countries and at over 500 companies. Forbes recently named Pink Petro one of seven Communities Where You Can Connect with Company Insiders. And in 2017, Mehnert launched Experience Energy℠ the only global careers platform for women in energy.
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