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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.]

What started as a temporary summer job while home from university has blossomed into a long and successful career in the energy industry for Naana Danquah Jefferson.

“My entry into the oil and gas industry was an unintentional, yet very rewarding one,” Danquah Jefferson said of her motivations to enter the industry.

Joining a male-dominated industry can be challenging for a woman, but Danquah Jefferson has responded to those challenges by encouraging herself, reminding herself of the value she brings, speaking up and out and connecting with those who reinforce those messages.

During more than 16 years with SLB, Danquah Jefferson has held various legal positions in operations and technology, as well as in compliance roles in benefits and human resources. As an integral member of the Americas Land Basin HQ management group, she oversees a team covering onshore operations in the U.S., Canada and South America.

Danquah Jefferson earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University and Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law. She spends her time away from the office crocheting, dancing and volunteering. She is a board member and volunteer with the Lupus Foundation Texas Gulf Coast Chapter.

She lives near Houston with her husband, Patrick, and daughter, Adaya.

Invaluable mentorship

“[One of my mentors] is a family friend and someone I affectionately refer to as my Aunt Alice. She had a very successful career at CenterPoint Energy for more than 30 years and subsequently retired from her position as human resources director a few years ago. Something she shared with me that I always think about as I contemplate all of the things I want to do is, ‘You can do everything, but not at the same time.’”

A chance to succeed

“During one of our major acquisitions, my manager went out on maternity leave, which left me as the ‘manager in charge’ during that time. It was my first opportunity to not only manage processes, but people, and to be part of an integration team. It provided the real life ‘merging’ of corporate cultures and how to integrate without losing the best of what attracted you to the organization in the first place.

“It provided the real life ‘merging’ of corporate cultures and how to integrate without losing the best of what attracted you to the organization in the first place.”—Naana Danquah Jefferson

“There was also the occasion when the team became a team of one. With a heavy workload and reduced support, [the occasion] helped me develop my prioritization and stress management skills, which served me well later in my career when I had a skeleton crew and had to step in to manage matters that I otherwise would not have. It was a reminder that it takes all of us and no one is above ‘doing the work.’ It also reminded me to take care of your people as much as you can.  Recognize them and express your appreciation in tangible and intangible ways.”

A transforming industry

“We are in the midst of a transformation now with sustainability and new energy efforts underway to, as SLB so clearly states, ‘drive energy innovation for a balanced planet.’ This requires understanding what we need in the short, mid- and long term, which will require balance. 

“We are working to enhance, develop and deploy technologies with the goal of making our planet one where our children’s children can not only live, but flourish.

“Additionally, as a culture, we must embrace the fact that those entering the workforce now, and many currently working, place a high value on work-life harmony and mental health. It is something that has to be addressed, tools provided and a recognition/acceptance that the working environment, physically and virtually, may look different in many ways—and this is OK.”

Three more things…

1. As a little girl, I wanted to be an actress and prosecutor. I loved (still do) musical theater.

2. I used to own a dance, fitness and creative arts studio primarily for adult women, with students ranging in age from early 20s to mid-60s.

3. I performed in seven out of 11 Bollywood dance numbers in a Bollywood Blast production at Miller Outdoor Theater.

Women in Energy Hart Live

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