Presented by:

Oil and Gas Investor

[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2021 is a supplement to the May 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe to the magazine here.]

Allyson Anderson-Book knows her way around the oil and gas regulatory landscape. Based in the nation’s capital, the vice president for energy transition with Baker Hughes has logged time as the associate director for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.

During her time at BSEE, the offshore U.S. oil and gas regulator, she worked on regulatory reforms following Deepwater Horizon for about five years, aiming to lessen the odds of something like that happening again.

“It was a substantial project, and it was hard and deliberate work,” she said. “But anything worth doing has some challenge to it. I worked with some colleagues who were very closely touched by that tragedy, so it was a very powerful and meaningful experience that I was able to help with in a really tangible way.”

“It is easy to consider energy as an entitlement in many countries. But not everyone has access to energy. Access to energy opens up a world of opportunities; it opens up huge societal change for the world.”

On Capitol Hill 

“Working for a U.S. senator was one of the most compelling parts of my career. It allowed me to serve my country and the American people. I still remember the first moment when I emerged from Union Station near the Capitol, and seeing the flags flying, I realized that I was contributing to something far greater than I ever thought was possible. It was powerful, and I felt that pride every day.

“In that role, I worked for two amazing people who elevated the role of women and diversity in the workplace. Sen. Bingaman and his staff director, Dr. Bob Simon, were both amazingly supportive and empowering. Dr. Simon gave me great opportunities, gave me space to make a project my own and stepped in to give guidance when needed. He challenged me to advocate for myself, which was invaluable. I always try to pass on that to people; sometimes you need to ask for recognition.”

Entering oil and gas 

“I had this really fantastic supervisor/mentor named Lynn Watney; he was my graduate adviser at the University of Kansas. I worked for him at the Kansas Geologic Survey, and he pushed me to interview with several prominent oil companies for a summer internship. Exxon Mobil ended up providing me with a fantastic summer opportunity. The recruiter really loved that I had a music background; he thought that music would make me a different kind of thinker, more analytical. I have Lynn to thank for launching my career—he was one of the most nurturing mentors I ever had and a really fantastic human being.”

Oil and Gas Investor’s 25 Influential Women in Energy logo

View the full on-demand video interviews featuring this year’s honorees at

Up to the challenges 

“I handle any challenge the same way—regardless of whether it is gender related—with patience, a bit of moxie, perseverance and grace. Sometimes I have had to get feisty [and] stand up when it was needed, whether for myself or a colleague.”

Running and steering companies 

“I have been at the helm of two non-profits and sat in a senior executive role for a federal agency. I learned early on that it is critical to understand a company’s value proposition and business model. It is imperative that stakeholders’ needs are considered and addressed as part of that value proposition. Finally, all companies regardless of type (for profit or non-profit) should be run with the same rigor and commitment to transparency.”

Energy transition 

“Diversity is key. We need to embrace cultural diversity and embrace innovative neuro-diverse thinkers. If we want to advance solutions for hard societal challenges, we need to encourage diversity in how we think, foster dialogue with other sectors, share ideas and engage perspectives that might run contrary to our own positions. The ability to compromise and collaborate is essential for our sector in navigating the energy transition.”