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Hart Energy OGI

[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2023 is a supplement to the February 2023 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe here.]

Living in Houston, Carrie Carson said she “kind of fell into” the energy industry.

“That’s where the most compelling opportunities were,” she said. “Then I really came to consider myself as part of it.”

Carson spent her early career in energy financing during the heyday of the shale boom, which provided her “tons of growth and opportunity.” She incorporates the experience and skills honed during her time in the industry into her current position as director of commercial development for Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV), a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp.

Carson graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University, where she attended on full academic scholarships, with a degree in accounting and a master’s in finance.

She is in her third year serving as a board member for the Houston Producers Forum and previously served for several years on the board of Young Professionals in Energy. In her spare time, she volunteers with The Story Church and Dress for Success Houston.

Finding a place to connect

“Diversity is an often debated topic, particularly in energy, which tends to be more male-dominated than many other industries (particularly energy finance). That being said, being a woman in this industry never really bothered me. Only in hindsight have I realized how that dynamic can be different from ‘normal,’ such as being the only female banker (out of almost 60 professionals) at one time, or when certain hunting or fishing trips are organized. So I looked for avenues to connect outside of the office that I could be a part of, like taking up golf or learning poker. And then it turned out that I really enjoyed those hobbies.”

“Through experience, I have come to appreciate that the troops taking the hill alongside you are just as important as achieving the mission—particularly when considering the long-term success of a team.”—Carrie Carson

Dickensian aspect of the industry

“I got a unique opportunity to move into [my previous company’s] newly acquired investment banking group in a sponsor coverage role. In that position, I had exposure to a significant cross-section of the private equity industry. That role overlapped with the 2014 downturn, so I experienced firsthand the ‘Charles Dickens’ aspect of the industry (it was the best of times, it was the worst of times …). You may learn more in the hard times, but it certainly isn’t as fun!”

‘Take the hill’

“I have always been very results-oriented—a mentality of ‘take the hill’ (in the military sense of the phrase, meaning do what you need to do to accomplish the mission). Through experience, I have come to appreciate that the troops taking the hill alongside you are just as important as achieving the mission—particularly when considering the long-term success of a team. I appreciate when my leaders treat me that way, and I strive to treat others in that way.”

Entrepreneurial spirit

“It may seem paradoxical in looking at my resume, which includes some of the largest companies and professional service firms in the world, that I consider myself highly entrepreneurial. I’ve held several positions that didn’t exist before I filled them. To me, having a self-starter personality is about tackling a new problem or challenge in a creative way, without a rule book or guide map to get there. It’s about drawing upon my own skills and developing the tools I needed. In making choices about my career progression, I’ve consistently looked to add specific experiences that round out my abilities.”

Flexibility gained from the pandemic

“I observed a huge change in corporate life before and after the COVID pandemic, sharpened by the fact that the birth of my first child coincided with the onset of lockdown in March 2020. Obviously, COVID was awful on many accounts, but a silver lining from a corporate perspective is the amount of flexibility we have now versus before. Not just work-from-home arrangements but improved technology and the general acceptance that a team can hop on a video call and collaborate effectively. I still prefer to be in-person whenever practical, but being freed from the ‘if you’re not at your desk, you’re not working’ mentality that I grew up with is a game changer.”

Three more things

1. Oil and Gas Investor featured me in its “Spotlight” column back in 2011.

2. My third-grade class diorama project was on Spindletop—the gusher in Beaumont, Texas, that struck oil in 1901, widely credited for sparking the Texas oil boom.

3. I was recognized as one of the top 10 scores in Texas on the certified public accountant (CPA) exam. While I no longer directly use my CPA license, I continue to find that my accounting background provides a solid foundation for my work in finance.

Women in Energy Hart Live

View the full list of this year’s honorees at Hart Energy LIVE.