Houston native Brittany Raiford began her career in public accounting but was drawn to oil and gas and joined Southwestern Energy in 2011. Her role in investor relations gives her a chance to help shape the company’s strategy while engaging with external stakeholders.
Which career milestone did you reach sooner than you had expected?
“Leading the investor relations team. I started my career in accounting, and many of my roles at Southwestern focused on the drivers of results and how that understanding could inform management’s decision-making. That skillset translated to my current role, delivering Southwestern Energy’s message and results to an external audience.”
What has been your most challenging project to date?
“The Montage Resources acquisition in 2020 was challenging in many aspects. We announced this value-enhancing merger about a week after I became head of our IR department, in the middle of COVID. To finance the acquisition, Southwestern Energy had a stock and bond offering. Needless to say, there was a lot going on! The experience accelerated my learning curve and, importantly, prepared our whole team for the acquisitions of Indigo Natural Resources and GEP Haynesville that we completed in 2021. Together, these acquisitions established Southwestern as the second largest natural gas producer in the US.”
What qualities do you think are necessary to be a good leader in the oil and gas industry?
“The best leaders in the oil and gas industry are willing to adapt and evolve, but also have confidence in their strategy. Thanks to this kind of strong, forward-looking leadership, Southwestern Energy has transformed itself in recent years, and today the company is well positioned for rapidly increasing global demand for natural gas.”
How have you exercised leadership to help shape your company?
“I want my team to bring their ideas to the table. They are welcome to have a different opinion—in fact, I encourage us to challenge one another. I find, in an open and constructive environment, the best ideas are born. When I think about my work on a daily basis, much of it is external-facing, where trust and transparency are key. I have an amazing role and get to work alongside insightful people both inside and outside of our company. If our message isn’t clear to investors, I want that feedback. If we could be more helpful with our disclosures, I want to hear from our analysts. I strive to create an environment where feedback is welcome and all good ideas are considered. It makes me better, it makes our team better, and ultimately, it makes Southwestern Energy better.”
Who is your mentor?
“I’ve been fortunate to work with many great leaders. I really appreciate Carl Giesler, Southwestern Energy’s CFO. He gives honest feedback and is a great advocate for his people. He wants to understand what drives each of his employees and our career ambitions. But most importantly, he is a great mentor because he takes the time to help employees advance in their careers—identifying gaps and opportunities, additional experience necessary, and next steps. That sort of feedback is invaluable.”
What professional and/or personal advice would you give other young professionals in the industry?
“Say yes! The best opportunities for growth and development are often outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself.”
What are your career goals?
“To continue evolving as a leader. Ultimately, I would like to be a CFO one day.”
Which transformations do you think the industry must undertake for it to thrive in the future?
“At Southwestern Energy, we were early movers on responsibly developing our assets, and over the last few years the entire industry has progressed in that space. Those that embrace and find opportunity in the energy transition will provide the most sustainable investment opportunities.”
- Both Brittany and her husband were on the swim team at Texas A&M. They have three kids (ages 9, 6 and 5).
- Weekends are filled with family–soccer games, tennis tournaments, catching a movie, eating out or going to church.
- My grandparents and father worked in the oil and gas industry.