HOUSTON—Among the tables in a dimly lit ballroom, geologists, engineers, E&P founders, explorers and some of the most powerful executives in oil and gas watched images of themselves play on large video screens.

Now and then, accompanying narration or table crosstalk described them: the first, the only, leader, competitor, warrior, woman.

Hart Energy’s Oil and Gas Investor kicked off its inaugural Women in Energy luncheon sponsored by Schlumberger and many other supporting companies on Feb. 6, showcasing the accomplishments of 25 distinguished women who have influenced all aspects of the oil and gas industry, rising to the top of a male-dominated business.

One honoree—the president of Chevron Appalachia—recalled her career’s beginning. Fresh out of college, she took a job on an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Her first title, “company man,” no longer exists.

Ramona M. Graves, dean of the Colorado School of Mines’ college of earth resource sciences and engineering, came on stage with a cane at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Houston to accept Hart Energy’s first lifetime achievement honor, the Pinnacle Award, presented by Schlumberger.

Graves explained she’d broken a foot—the result of walking too fast—that required surgery and more than two months of recovery. Still, she was determined to be in Houston.

“I was not going to miss this event,” she said.

Looking out at the women being honored, Graves said she was struck by how “amazing the way this industry has come in the last 40 years.”

She said that the name of her award—signifying she had reached the top—made her reflect on her four decades of teaching roughly 4,000 students.

Ramona M. Graves

“Wow, I have had at least a small impact on the industry,” she said. “But not only what they have accomplished. Just think of the ripple effect, those in turn they have influenced.”

More than 650 attendees turned out to honor industry powerhouses and hear from keynote speaker Amy Trask, a CBS Sports analyst who broke ground as the NFL’s first female CEO. Along with Schlumberger, other event sponsors included Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. and Preng & Associates.

Peggy Williams, editorial director of Hart Energy, opened the event by speaking about her own experiences as a certified petroleum geologist and the progress the industry and society have made regarding gender in the workplace.

Williams began her career in 1972 as the first female geologist at a company that had been in business since the 1880s. At the time, she said her work was checked by male colleagues because “no one was sure a woman could actually tell shale from limestone.”

“Women of my era were meant to marry well, not to achieve things on their own,” she said, later adding that things in the oil industry today have changed “due to the hard work of countless people.”

“We want to showcase the real strides the energy industry has made in shaking off those old stereotypes and in shedding those old ways,” she said.

While introducing the honorees, Leslie Haines, executive editor-at-large for Hart Energy, said the group of women are “a diverse lot,” to say the least. She noted among the 25 of them, they had jumped out of airplanes, served in Iraq and offshore Nigeria, made billion-dollar acquisitions and one even recently took a company public through a successful IPO.

The accomplishments of this inaugural group of women truly transcend gender norms and as one of the honorees told Hart Energy so eloquently in an interview: “Success is not based on gender; it is based on your ability to provide value” to your employer, your team and your company.

In addition to Graves, these 25 industry professionals were recognized as the 2018’s 25 Influential Women in Energy:

  • Deborah Byers, U.S. oil & gas leader, Americas industry leader, EY, Houston
  • Helen Currie, chief economist, ConocoPhillips, Houston
  • Janet Dietrich, senior managing director, Macquarie Group, Houston
  • Myra Dria, president, CEO, Pearl Resources LLC, Houston
  • Claire Farley, vice chair, energy & advising, KKR & Co. LP; and independent director, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Houston
  • Deanna Farmer, executive vice president, chief administrative officer, Enable Midstream Partners, Oklahoma City
  • Ann Fox, CEO, Nine Energy Service Inc., Houston
  • Dori Ginn, senior vice president-controller, principal accounting officer, Range Resources Corp., Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Jennifer Hartsock, chief information officer, Baker Hughes, a GE company, Houston
  • Vicki Hollub, president, CEO, Occidental Petroleum Corp., Houston
  • Nancy Jo House, president, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Greater Denver area
  • Janeen Judah, president, chair of SPE board of directors, Chevron Corp., Houston
  • Holli Ladhani, president, CEO, Select Energy Services, Houston
  • Kathryn MacAskie, president, CEO, founder, Zarvona Energy LLC, Houston
  • Dorothy Marchand, managing director, head of energy division, Compass Bank, Houston
  • Ann Massey, CEO, environment and infrastructure solutions, Wood Plc, Atlanta
  • Regina Mayor, global and U.S. energy sector leader, KPMG, Houston
  • Beth McDonald, vice president, South Texas asset team, Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Irving, Texas
  • Melody Meyer, president, Melody Meyer Energy LLC; founder, Women With Energy LLC; and non-executive director, BP, AbbVie, NOV, Houston
  • Stacey Olson, president, Chevron Appalachia LLC, Greater Pittsburgh area
  • Alexandra “Alie” Pruner, CFO, partner, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., Perella Weinberg Partners, Houston
  • Laura Schilling, Superior Energy Services, Pumpco Energy Services president
  • Lisa Stewart, chairman, chief investment officer, Sheridan Production Partners, Houston
  • Cindy Taylor, president, CEO, Oil States International Inc., Houston
  • Tiffany (TJ) Thom Cepak, CFO, Energy XXI Gulf Coast; and board of directors, Patterson-UTI Energy Inc., Houston

Oil and Gas Investor is now accepting nominations for 2019’s 25 Influential Women in Energy at oilandgasinvestor.com/form/women-energy.