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[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2023 is a supplement to the February 2023 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe here.]
Tania Ortiz-Mena, group president of clean power and energy networks at Sempra Infrastructure, leads the company’s activities related to clean power generation, natural gas transportation and distribution, and fuel storage facilities in North America.
A native of Mexico, she earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and a master’s degree in the same discipline from Boston University.
Ortiz-Mena began her career at the Sempra family of companies in Mexico in 2000, where she eventually served as vice president of external affairs and development and chief development officer. She served as the CEO for IEnova, Sempra Infrastructure’s precursor in Mexico and one of the largest private energy companies in Mexico, with approximately $10.5 billion in total assets, from 2018 to 2021.
Ortiz-Mena is an independent board member of the Mexican Stock Exchange and a member of its Corporate Practices Committee. She co-chairs the U.S.-Mexico Energy Business Council and is a member of the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, the Inter-American Dialogue and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations COMEXI.
Ortiz-Mena is also a member of the Mexican Natural Gas Association and a founding member of Voz Experta, an advocacy organization dedicated to bringing gender parity to conference panels in the Mexican energy industry.
“Energy has a critical and cross-cutting impact in our daily lives. It is critical for an economy to grow, a region to better integrate and families and individuals to do their everyday activities. Also, energy has a cross-cutting impact: in geopolitics, global climate action, trade, social and environmental policies, indigenous peoples’ rights, etc. As a young professional with an international relations academic background who wanted to make a career in the energy industry, this wide range of opportunities to grow fascinated me.”
“The transformative power of energy in the social and economic development of a community continues to motivate me. There is a clear before-and-after in living standards once there is access to energy: economies grow faster, employment rates increase and households have more reliable energy. Without access to energy, this would not be possible.”
“I truly believe that I can be one of the first to reach a top position in the industry but not the last one.”—Tania Ortiz-Mena
Energy infrastructure pioneers
“When Mexico signed NAFTA, in order to help the process of attracting foreign investment, Sempra became pioneers in developing the first private natural gas pipelines to meet CFE’s incremental power generation needs. We built one of the first private natural gas distribution networks to supply energy intensive industries. We developed wind and solar parks to help companies meet their climate commitments. We built one of the first regasification facilities in North America’s Pacific coast, and now we are building North America’s first LNG facility in the Pacific coast. Being part of all these pioneer infrastructure projects has been personally very rewarding.”
The extra mile
“This sector has been traditionally seen as ‘masculine’ and, unfortunately, it is to certain extent still true. Women need to give the extra mile to obtain the same positions or recognition men do. I have to be thankful for the different mentors I had throughout my career, both women and men. They helped me to overcome challenges and learn from those experiences.”
Not the last to the top
“When I began my career, I set myself the goal of never giving up, considering that this industry was—and still is—full of challenges and obstacles regarding closing the gender gap. When I became CEO, I committed myself to support other women to build a career in the sector and to have access to leadership mentoring and roles. I truly believe that I can be one of the first to reach a top position in the industry but not the last one.”
Close the gap
“Regarding corporate culture, diversity and inclusion are a must. There is a direct relationship between diversity and inclusion with the motivation, productivity and commitment of work teams. Closing the gender gap is not only a moral imperative, it is a business decision. Companies that take actions to close this gap have better performance than companies that do not. That’s the path we must take.”
Three more things
1. As a kid, I wanted to be a teacher and a writer.
2. My favorite book is “The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende.
3. My favorite phrase is “deserve your dreams” by Octavio Paz.