Johanna Haggstrom’s energy career began when her future employer visited her campus to scout out prospects. Though Halliburton Co. was looking for new talent, it was Haggstrom who saw the potential in joining the multinational corporation.
The visit was the first time Haggstrom considered a career in energy as she was obtaining a Ph.D. in chemistry from Kansas State University. Aware that it was a turn in a different direction, she felt that Halliburton embodied all the qualities she deemed important to her professional journey.
“When I considered all the available options, it seemed like the industry, and the company, would be the best fit for myself and my career goals,” she says. “I really liked the idea that there was near limitless possibilities for career paths, roles and work locations.”
Joining the Oklahoma team as a senior scientist in 2007, Halliburton was Haggstrom’s first direct job in the oil and gas industry. She climbed to tenet manager of water conservation in 2010 and held the role when she relocated to its Houston office.
Less than a year after relocating to Houston, she would face a great career milestone when asked to relocate for a newly created position in Switzerland. The role, technology manager for Halliburton Worldwide GmbH (HWG), carried uncertainty because it was part of a new entity of the company.
“The role was not on a traditional career path,” she says. “In fact, when I was offered the role, it was even communicated to me that taking this role would likely delay my career progression, as what I really needed was people- management experience.”
After deliberating for three days with her husband, she accepted both the opportunity and risks back in 2013. The job pushed her leadership to new heights with duties to obtain buy-in and support from more senior leaders in various business units—without any direct authority—to establish HWG’s technology function, including corporate governance, technology spend process and technology strategy.
“This role came with a steep learning curve and definitely put me outside of my comfort zone as I went through the process of learning how to best manage our senior stakeholders,” she says.
She returned to Houston after the three-year position and was named Halliburton’s director of technology for the Baroid product line in 2017. In the period before her promotion, Haggstrom was the discipline lead of applied sciences for the Production Enhancement product line for the company in 2016.
“Ultimately, I believe my willingness to take the risks associated with this new role and executing it effectively is what ended up accelerating my career progression, instead of slowing it down.”
One of Haggstrom’s key priorities is being an advocate for diversity. After all, she notes, the industry’s evolution depends on diversity and inclusion to provoke innovation.
“The future of this industry is still to be shaped,” she says. “Companies know they must focus on diversity and inclusion in order to move the industry into the future.
“To ensure success we must have access to the best and most diverse talent, as these are no easy challenges, which call for true disruptive innovation,” she says. “Each and every one of us currently working in this industry need to do a better job attracting new talent to the industry, and we must truly take advantage of all talent available—across genders, cultures and countries—in order to succeed.”
Haggstrom has participated in several events that support diversity and inclusion including SPE’s “Beyond Diversity–A New Norm” workshop. She also spoke at the Women’s Global Leadership Conference in Energy and on the “Women in Industry” panel held by the American Chemical Society.
Haggstrom leads a team comprising 15 different nationalities, nearly 40% of whom are women. Additionally, her team has accomplished over a 50% hiring rate of women in both 2018 and 2019.
With over a decade with Halliburton, Haggstrom encourages the next wave of professionals to invest in themselves and establish their value.
“You need to make sure that you are delivering value and performing in the role you have today,” she says. “That means making sure that you understand what the expectations are and then working toward meeting those expectations.
“When it comes to your own career, keep in mind that you, nobody else, is responsible for the value you bring to the company—take control of your worth by investing in yourself.”
CenterPoint Energy recently tapped David Lesar, the former head of Halliburton, to lead the Houston-based electric and natural gas utility company through its next phase of growth.
Today’s featured 25 Influential Women in Energy honoree is Shauna Noonan, director of artificial lift at Occidental Petroleum Corp. and president for the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Hart Energy and Oil and Gas Investor will recognize the accomplishments of 25 Influential Women in Energy alongside this year’s Pinnacle Award recipient Dr. Sharon L. Wood, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.