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Oil and Gas Investor

[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2023 is a supplement to the February 2023 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe here.]

Sarah Magruder is the founder, owner, president and CEO of Houston-based Savvy Oil & Gas Consulting, a company that specializes in severance tax and federal, state and sovereign royalties. Challenging industry norms, she launched her women-led consulting business in 2019 and has since invested in recruiting talent to build a highly experienced team that serves a broad range of E&P producers.

Magruder serves on the board of directors and is an executive member of the Women’s Energy Network (WEN) and was recently honored by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce with the 2022 Trailblazer Award.

Recently, she took on a new challenge: participating in industry podcasts as an expert contributor. She co-hosted a four-episode series highlighting accomplishments of women executives in oil and gas accounting on The Oil and Gas Accounting podcast, produced by the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies, and has received invitations to record podcasts on The Whole Woman’s Way with author Sandy Asch, the WEN podcast and the Female Founders podcast produced by WomELLE, an organization dedicated to mentoring businesswomen, particularly small business owners.

Magruder holds a degree in finance from Louisiana State University and an MBA from University of Houston-Victoria.

Biggest champion

“[Navigating the challenges of being a woman in oil and gas] has definitely been an evolution and learning experience. A lot has changed in that area in the past 22 years I have been in the industry. I’m loving this current movement to highlight women in energy and encourage young women to join our industry. I had to find my voice and learn to speak up for myself and ask for what I wanted.

“No one will highlight your accomplishments or be a bigger champion than you for yourself, so you need to make sure to track your achievements and set goals and ask for what you want in regard to salary and promotions. And, if you aren’t getting it, don’t be afraid to seek other opportunities and take risks to go somewhere you are valued and feel empowered. Even if that means starting your own company.”

Unicorn magic

“In November 2022, I achieved my ultimate goal of founding and being 100% owner of my own company, Savvy Oil & Gas Consulting. To do this, as a woman in the oil and gas industry, and specifically as the only female founder in my niche segment, is something I am immeasurably proud of. Achieving this milestone would have been impossible without learning a lot of hard lessons of what not to do and having the support of some of the best people on the planet.

“No one will highlight your accomplishments or be a bigger champion than you for yourself, so you need to make sure to track your achievements and set goals and ask for what you want in regard to salary and promotions.”—Sarah Magruder

"I have the greatest team at Savvy, all of whom bring extensive knowledge and experience. They are also amazing and supportive people who bring incredible energy and love to our team and clients. A herd of unicorns.”

‘Give yourself grace’

“Best advice I have received was from our controller at the time at Swift Energy, the late David Wesson, who told me: ‘We are not heart surgeons and don’t deal with life and death. We are accountants and deal with numbers. Mistakes can be fixed and learned from so they don’t happen again. Be accountable, but give yourself grace and do better.’ I took that to heart and have tried to apply that in my career and with my employees and clients ever since.”

Filling in the gaps

“From my perspective of oil and gas accounting, the industry is in a critical place at the moment. There is a lack of 10- to 15-year experienced people due to offshoring, automating and downsizing, and also a loss of experienced institutional knowledge from resignations or retirements as a result of COVID and the resulting low prices. And, we haven’t done a good job of bringing the young talent into the industry because of the lack of adaptability and competitiveness with other emerging industries and not combating the negative messaging against our industry. So, we have some work to do to improve our image and draw the best young talent.”

Three more things

1. I am a cancer survivor; I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 27. The surgery paralyzed one of my vocal cords, and I lost my voice completely for an entire year and had to have a plastic vocal cord put in to talk.

2. One of my hobbies is analyzing handwriting, a study called graphology.

3. I love true crime everything—podcasts, TV shows, books and especially “Dateline”! So much so, I go to CrimeCon every year with my college bestie, Julie.

25 Influential Women in Energy

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