[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2023 is a supplement to the February 2023 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe here.]
Sweta Sethna entered the oil and gas industry “by marriage” when she moved from New York to be with her husband. As she puts it, “One gets in-laws after marriage; I got oil and gas too!”
Sethna believes that she always had a spark of leadership, and with the encouragement and guidance of her family in her formative years, she was able to develop those leadership skills early on. This spark, support, perseverance, hard work and willingness to learn from others has sustained her as she grew in her career to where she is now—chief counsel at Energy Transfer.
As an accomplished business-oriented transactional attorney with a demonstrated track record of excellence, Sethna is passionate about achieving business growth and success. She believes in improving processes and learning from experiences. She has encouraged and inspired her teams and colleagues and enjoys collaboration on projects that she works on.
Sethna’s goal has always been to succeed, and now that she has reached the position she’s in, her added goal is to see others succeed too.
Sethna has been honored by the National Women’s Conference as a Top 100 Women in Business and Top Diversity Leaders in Energy. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School.
Sethna makes her home in Houston with her husband and in her down time, likes to travel and help the elderly and underprivileged. She has served on the boards of multiple nonprofits and continues to devote time to volunteering and regularly mentoring young adults and professionals.
Let your work speak
“I have responded to challenges I have faced as a woman in the industry by focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative. I believe the best way to prove yourself is through your work and work ethic. Inherent biases exist everywhere and in everyone, and the thrill is to challenge yourself and quash them.”
More than awards
“Career milestones for me are about being recognized and respected in my organization and the industry. Awards and recognitions are great and I am thankful for them and humbled, but relationships matter the most.”
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Making every project count
“I believe most projects become memorable one way or another. Be it because you learnt something new about the business, or picked up something from the negotiations or the people your interacted with, or simply how you worked as a team to get the project through the finishing line. Enjoy the process and the people that you work with and keep the big picture in mind.”
“I am a learner and seeker by nature—I absorb knowledge and wisdom from whoever and wherever I can. I welcome anyone who is willing to share their perspective and experience and learn from others around me.”
A message for young professionals
“Believe in what you do. These are challenging times for us in the oil and gas space, and we need to go above and beyond in our roles. This is a great industry to be in, but there is a lot of negative misinformation being spread. Know better and give it a fair chance. This is a rewarding and dynamic industry with great transformation on the horizon. You will meet some fascinating and knowledgeable people along the way and build relationships that will last a lifetime. The best advice I received is to never stop learning and surround yourself with the best people you can.”
Opening a dialogue
“The industry has to transform into a flexible one. In addition, diversity and inclusion should be priorities. I also believe that we need to do more outreach to attract and inspire young talent and have open dialogue with youth and communities about oil and gas.
“I am a learner and seeker by nature—I absorb knowledge and wisdom from whoever and wherever I can.”—Sweta Sethna
"We will need to adopt a flexible work schedule to keep up with other industries and attract and retain talent, which is necessary for our growth. It will be challenging for our industry from a human capital standpoint to compete with other industries if we do not progress in these aspects.”
Three more things
1. I speak four languages.
2. I party plan like a professional.
3. I cannot ride a bike but will one day!
View the full list of this year’s honorees at Hart Energy LIVE.
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