Leslie Beyer spent 15 years in Washington, D.C., working for the U.S. Senate, on multiple presidential campaigns and at The White House Executive Office of the President, The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These days, the Lubbock native is back in Texas serving as CEO of the newly formed Energy Workforce & Technology Council, a recent merger of the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) and the Association of Energy Services Companies.
“I first entered the oil and gas industry when a former White House colleague reached out to me with a job opportunity in Houston working for a Washington, D.C.-based manufacturing trade association,” she said. “I was able to split my time between Houston and Washington, and I learned about the intersection between the corporate world and government affairs, specifically how energy policy is created. With a background in foreign affairs, I was also drawn to the international trade policy aspects of the global energy industry.”
“Our industry powered hospitals and provided the petrochemicals behind essential PPE during the pandemic, we provide the fuel behind all transportation, we even supply the building blocks for a myriad of products that enable human flourishing.”
Oil and gas career
Beyer said the most important work she’s done is the constant evolution of PESA, which she led to the new organization it is today.
“As the energy industry and the oilfield services and equipment sector changed, its association needed to change too. In recent years, we’ve focused on key strategic issues like workforce development, ESG and advocacy. Given my background, however, I have to admit that our Oil & Gas Industry Training program for foreign and civil service officers from the U.S. State Department is my favorite program. I have had exposure to the State Department and Foreign Service throughout my entire career, and being able to show and educate many of them on the great work of our industry is a significant highlight of my current position.”
“In my current role, I’ve been able to address diversity and equity in the oilfield services sector—working with organizations to make real and lasting change. We have developed multiple programs with a strong focus on gender diversity and later expanded them to race/ethnic diversity, and I am dedicated to finding opportunities to make change in this area.”
“Working on a presidential campaign was unlike anything I had ever done before. When you are ideologically tied to a cause because it is tied to your fundamental belief system, there is almost nothing that you won’t do and won’t sacrifice to see a positive result.
“Being able to serve on the White House staff for six years after dedicating so much effort to a candidate that I truly believed in was an incredibly rewarding milestone.”
“The oil and gas industry has been essential to the economic growth that’s improved our global standard of life and lifted billions out of poverty around the world. We enable modern life as most people know it, underpinning all other industries. And we do this with a clear eye toward lowering emissions and protecting our environment. Most importantly, the workforce of our industry is delivering technologies at scale that can remove carbon from the atmosphere and make the dream of a lower carbon future a reality. I wake up every day motivated to show policymakers and all external stakeholders what we do best: deliver reliable, affordable and cleaner energy.”
Tips for young professionals
“Your life goals are worth the risk. You only need yourself and your own drive to create opportunities. I have failed and struggled at times, and I have also realized great wins, but I have never given up on myself. Risk is critical to success. You can reinvent yourself. Change is the only constant in life, and there can be beauty in the struggle that inevitably comes to all of us professionally or personally.
“As a woman in this workforce, our challenges are unique and we may not take a straight path to the top. But no matter the professional direction you take while also doing whatever you need to do that real life requires, you can find a way to build the career that works for you, on your terms. Companies need women who want to be here, and they are getting smarter about how to keep us. And it’s all of our responsibility to reach back and help the other women that come after us.”
View the full on-demand video interviews featuring this year’s honorees at HartEnergyConferences.com/Women-in-Energy
Best advice received
“My former boss, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, set expectations on how we were to conduct ourselves when representing the president. We had these very professional and intimidating badges in leather wallets, like the ones you see federal agents flip out when arresting someone. And he would tell us, ‘If you ever force anyone to agree to something by using this badge solely based on the office you represent, it won’t take me 10 minutes to replace you with one of the hundreds of incredibly qualified people standing in line waiting for your job every single day.’ That was heavy. And he was right. There are few jobs in the world I can think of with that kind of access and exposure to leadership at its highest levels. Over the six years I traveled full time, I learned over and over again how to manage competing agendas and achieve goals while respecting others and not demanding things based on your position.”
“I support organizations dedicated to eradicating human trafficking and helping victims. I am also passionate about mentoring and investing time in young women in the industry. I also enjoy running with my two golden doodles.”
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