With a passion for equal opportunity in the workplace, Josetta Jones has used her 20-year career with Chevron to cultivate an inclusive environment for all. Though she originally had ambitions of being a broadcast journalist, she changed her mind after attending science and engineering camps during the summers of her youth.
Although she has faced biases as a woman of color working in a typically male-dominated area of STEM, Jones has used her position as chief diversity and inclusion officer as a platform to bring awareness to this issue.
“If you are in an industry like oil and gas that has been male-dominated for 150-plus years, unfortunately, women are going to face headwinds like marginalization and gender bias,” Jones said. “However, what has worked for me is to not only meet those situations with grace but to also make sure they serve as learning moments.”
From journalism to STEM
“I initially thought I wanted to study broadcast journalism after being on TV as a kid newscaster for three years on Channel 39 News in Houston. However, my mom, a college professor who had a love for math and science, also wanted me to be well-rounded and had me spend summers attending science and engineering camp at Texas Southern University. Ultimately, I ended up studying chemical engineering at Northwestern University, and I spent a summer as an intern and full-time junior engineer at a petrochemical plant in Channelview, Texas. While in my senior year of undergrad, I went to a National Society of Black Engineers chapter meeting where a speaker talked about going from an engineer to a patent law attorney. That changed my career trajectory and ultimately led to me earning a law degree at Texas Southern as well as from George Washington University and becoming a patent attorney at Chevron.”
High risk, high reward
“My legal education has helped me think about risks and how to mitigate them irrespective of the issue. When I was in law school, I also participated on my school’s moot court team. That training, even though I was not going to be a litigator or appeals attorney, helped me hone my presentation skills.
“I was on a business trip in Europe with two of my clients—all women around the same age and my male law colleague nearing retirement who reported to me. When I got to my seat on the plane, the gentleman next to me asked what the purpose of my travel was. I told him that I was on a business trip with my colleagues. And he said, with a straight face, ‘Really? I saw you all in the lounge and thought that perhaps you were the older gentleman’s travel companions.’ My clients all had chemistry degrees and one had a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, and the older gentleman reported to me. This was in 2015.”
Stay the course
“In many ways, I knew that as a woman—especially one of color—that a career in the oil and gas industry would have me in many spaces where others don’t look like me. Today, as an executive, I want to help other women to survive. I want to be their cheerleaders and advocate for them. Although the energy business has been around for a long time, young professionals may feel like the energy industry has nothing exciting to offer. But as we embark upon the energy transition, there is a lot of ‘energy’ around the industry’s new initiatives.”
THREE MORE THINGS
Click here for a full list of “25 Influential Women in Energy” honorees for 2022.
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