The youngest member of the Forty Under 40 Class of 2023, Yogashri Pradhan is a product of a Women in STEM initiative. She fell in love with petroleum engineering while attending a University of Houston engineering camp for high school students, and that experience encouraged her to choose it as her major at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). She has developed a large online following through her YouTube videos and podcasts on oil and gas topics. Yogashri understands that the heart of the industry is the people, and that successful leadership starts with empathy, communication, teamwork and servant leadership. “A mentor sat me down and told me how to work with people and … that to generate trust with others, I needed to develop empathy,” she said. “This is a people business, after all.”
Which of your professional achievements are you most proud?
“I am most proud of the [SPE International] Young Professional Service Award in 2018, where my contributions in SPE—technical and professional—are recognized. I’ve volunteered in SPE regionally, locally and internationally, and published 15 technical papers to date. My next accomplishment is the Distinguished Alumni Award, Rising Star, through the UT Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.”
What has been your most challenging project to date, and how did you meet the challenge and accomplish your goal?
“My most challenging project to date has been field development planning in the Delaware Basin. You have faults, different structures, reservoir properties, everything under the sun to take into consideration. Every project has its own set of unique initial conditions.”
How have you exercised leadership to help shape your department and/or company?
“I’ve been able to share my experiences with others from various companies I’ve worked for and the mentors I’ve had that have set me straight, to say the least. For instance, when I worked in the Texas Oil and Gas Institute, I conducted an internship program for graduate students from UT and Texas A&M, and applied my internship experiences to make their experiences as productive and fruitful as possible. As a result, many of the interns were placed with other internships or full-time positions after their experiences. All 16 of them.”
What or whom do you credit for helping you develop leadership abilities during your career?
“I credit two mentors—Susan Howes, who saw something in me in the oil and gas industry and identified my passion when I was awarded a scholarship through the Gulf Coast Section of SPE. She continues to emphasize the importance of soft skills in the oil and gas industry for career advancement. Another mentor I’d like to thank is Yvonne Scherz, who really gave me direct feedback in what I needed to do better in working with other people.”
What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?
“What keeps me motivated and passionate about the industry are the ever-changing problems in the industry that are left to be solved in order to provide energy for the community. People who are passionate about the industry are also what keep me going.”
What do you think young industry members (those under 40) as a group have to offer that is unique to them?
“With the majority being millennial or Generation Z, this group offers a perspective of experiencing the energy transition conversations, unconventional reservoir work and financial planning (shale revolution), and are left to be the experts of these topics and perspectives for the foreseeable future because they started this work once they were out of school.”
Which transformations—approach, culture, technology or other—do you think the industry must undertake for it to thrive in the future?
“[The industry must undertake] a culture transformation to have more crucial conversations with each other and emphasize the importance of understanding different people’s perspectives.”
- I am a member of MENSA.
- I love to do Orangetheory and Crossfit.
- I am a proud mother of two cats.