Sarita Schank

CAO, Momentum Minerals, Houston

Fueled by ambition, Sarita Schank was one of the team members to help found Momentum Minerals in 2017. Then three years ago, at just 31 years old, the North Dakota native was promoted to chief accounting officer (CAO) of the company she helped create from the ground up.

“After Momentum spun off from Apollo Management, I got this opportunity to showcase what I had learned and accomplished in my previous experiences,” Schank said. “I welcome opportunities where I may be uncomfortable and embrace change, but I also know when to ask others for help. Collaboration with others is so important in solving problems, and it really helped me ascend to this position before I thought I could.”

Schank now lives in Houston with her husband, Garrett, and her daughter, Juliette.

Foot in the door

"After I graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2010, we were in the middle of a huge oil boom in the Bakken, so it felt like the perfect time to enter the oil and gas industry. My first job was at an oilfield service company called Wyoming Casing Service in Dickinson, ND where I had the opportunity to expand my skills and lead the development of the company’s internal processes. This early positive experience in oil and gas made me want to continue to pursue growth within the industry.

One of the achievements I am most proud of is being a member of the Apollo Management team that spun off and created Momentum Minerals.  I was part of developing the company, the culture and the team, and now it is so rewarding to be reminded of our hard work every day in the office.

There were many challenges along the way that we had to overcome as a team. One of those challenges can be to get the entire team on board with the goals and overall vision of a project. When successful, the outcome is well worth the struggle. When you get a cohesive team, the benefits greatly improve efficiency, outcomes, long term employee retention, and overall success of the organization.

Something so important for a leader in the oil and gas industry is the ability to adapt. This industry is constantly evolving, and especially now during a consolidation period, leaders must be able to adjust to the changes and react with solutions. Leaders also need to be able to listen to others and understand the entirety of a problem before throwing themselves into it. Without full information, mistakes can be made that would have been avoided with deeper understanding.

As you grow in your professional experience, you learn an incredible amount about business and people. One of the most important things I have learned in my experience as a manager and leader is that a manager needs to be able to tailor their leadership to what works best with each individual employee, while also maintaining overall organizational equity. Knowing how to create an environment in which an employee does their best work and adapting to those needs differentiates a good leader from a great leader. 

There are so many people who have been so supportive and influential in my life. These include my parents, my husband, my friends and my colleagues, together always encouraging me to excel and pursue my goals. I have received so much advice and direction throughout my career, but one that I always remember is to accept any challenge that comes my way."

Working together

"I believe that the overall success of an organization depends on a shared vision and a cohesive culture. In order to achieve these things, we have to, as leaders and managers, foster an environment of collaboration. This industry brings together so many different perspectives—from landmen to accountants, petroleum engineers to PR specialists—that come together to transform businesses and ideas. 

The oil and gas industry needs to take charge of the narrative regarding the benefits of oil and gas. These products drive the world and everything around us in our daily lives, yet the image around them has become so negative and even considered detrimental to society’s wellbeing. We need to do better conveying the benefits of the products we produce to society and the economy."

Three More Things

  1. I’ve worked in several areas of the oil and gas industry: first at Wyoming Casing Service and OFS company, then an E&P at Rosetta Resources and finally at Apollo and Momentum in the mineral space.
  2. My husband also works in oil and gas at EOG Resources.
  3. I’m an avid reader and love to travel.