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Since an early age, Emily Easley has had a passion for the oil and gas business. A seventh-generation Texan, her father worked on the investment and finance side of the business and inspired her to enter the industry herself. After finishing school, Easley would forge her own path in the energy business on the renewable side.
“My father, J.W. Brown, built his career in the investment and finance side of the oil and gas business and is someone I admire daily in how he lives his life with such integrity, honesty and positivity—it’s contagious,” she said. “From a very early age, my curiosity of the energy business, really oil in the ’80s, has guided career choices along the way through internships, Vanderbilt thesis and starting my career in the renewable business in 2003.”
Today, Easley works in Washington, D.C., as CEO of NOVUS Energy Advisors and lives with her husband and three children.
“I’ve spent my entire career in the energy business starting with early internships at Hart Energy in New York, studying the El Paso Pipeline Company and Enron in college and then launching my career with my first job in the solar energy business in D.C. My passion for the energy business goes back nearly 20 years in the energy business.”
Path of renewables
“Early in my career in the solar and power space, we worked with industry and electric utility to build a strategic partnership in a time of shift in the way utilities had operated for nearly 100 years. The solar industry was exponentially growing, and new business models of independent power producers emerged to work through the tax policy and regulated framework of traditional business models. The most successful projects were a result of strategic partnerships formed through the community of diverse stakeholders we were building at a time of great transition in the power industry.
When I transitioned into the oil and gas business from the decade I’d spent in renewables, I identified a niche for a career path to work across the aisle. Since the early days of my passion to build a career in the energy business, I have always seen it through a technology neutral, all of the above lens. For nearly a decade, I’ve worked with energy businesses, large and small, sharing information for projections and opportunities in a rapidly changing space. Sustainable projects and capitalism can go hand in hand; however, scale and speed are critical when also striving for great impact.”
Shaping a strong leader
“The best advice I received recently was to surround yourself with people who excel in areas you don’t. Working cross-functionally in an organization and the value of pulling a team of people together to tap into the diverse nature of the skills on the team is remarkable to experience the noticeable difference of success. The teams I’m working with today and the progress we are making are proof of the magic of interpersonal skills, cross-functional skills and respect to bring success. I have also had incredible talent on my team and find mentoring younger professionals extremely rewarding.
I have had incredible mentors from an early age and take note of their wise perspectives and counsel. Mentors for one, starting with the Dean of Vanderbilt, who led by all the traits we were learning in our program. Most recently, I have a handful of executives I aspire to learn from. The leaders I hold of the highest regard are those with the ability to connect with people, while influencing and impacting the industry in a charismatic way the flock follows.
For books, I have read and reread the typical best sellers of leaders, influential tactics and always enjoy history books on the energy business. Looking back and learning from the incredible innovations and pioneers who faced great doubt in times of transition provide great perspective into the unimaginable of what the future can be.”
Opportunities for growth
“I have always loved being a part of an industry so critical to everyone from home to business and the transportation we use to get there. I love reading the history of the energy business and comparing trends to speculate what the future will look like in a decade. I love being a part of it.
We are in the middle of the old school and new school at a critical time in the energy business. We have the opportunity to learn from those who have been so influential and impactful over their career and gain new perspectives from the younger generations to build a more sustainable path forward. Consumer behavior has changed in the way we operate our daily lives and, now with the pandemic, how we are working. These changes in behavior have a dramatic impact on the energy business, being able to learn from success in the past and embracing new solutions through technology, software and web-based platforms is an incredible moment to be a part of the energy business.
The United States is a leader in the production, supply and consumption of energy, from resources above and below the ground. As the oil and gas industry works to reduce methane emissions and ensure renewable resources are sourced responsibly, the country will continue to be one of the world’s most attractive markets for energy investments.”
Three More Things
1. I attended graduate school at Johns Hopkins University.
2. I love fishing and all activities on the water.
3. I wrote my senior thesis on the organizational dynamics of the rise and fall of Enron while at Vanderbilt.