Nikki Martin

President and CEO, EnerGeo Alliance
Nikki Martin
Influential Women in Energy

In 2015, the board of what is now known as EnerGeo Alliance nominated Nikki Martin to be its next president. She was 32 years old and the first female to lead any global energy association. 

"Of course, there were perceptions that I was too young, and I was also the only woman in my board room," Martin said. "However, my board has always been supportive of my leadership from the start, and in my role, I was able to work towards one of the objectives that inspired me more in my career: Supporting the energy discovery industry in Making Energy Possible every day."

EnerGeo Alliance’s “Making Energy Possible” campaign explains how geoscience and exploration leverages data, science and technology to make affordable, reliable and secure energy possible.

While taking the reins of the global trade association for the energy geoscience industry at age 32 is a career milestone, Martin prefers to focus on her achievements since then.

“In my first year as president, I brought oil and gas operators and integrated energy companies into our organization as industry partners, and have since increased their vested interest and built a Leadership Forum consisting of the top leaders responsible for exploration globally,” she said.

“I love this role because I get to play a significant part in ensuring more people and communities are connected to energy in a sustainable manner,” Martin said. “This is a humanitarian need. It is hard to believe that in 2023, 10% of the world does not have access to any source of electricity, and 30% of the world does not have access to clean fuels for cooking; the World Health Organization estimates this contributes to over 3 million premature deaths per year.

“This is the time for the energy geoscience industry to tell its powerful story of how it has and can continue to connect people to energy by enabling its discovery and development—both of mainstay sources of energy like petroleum and natural gas and of lower-carbon solutions like wind, geothermal and carbon capture and storage.” 

The Alaska native knew she wanted to pursue a career in energy or public policy, or both, when she graduated high school and was drawn to policies that balance multi-use and the maximum yield and benefit of natural resources.

“The notion that people should be able to benefit from and live off the natural resources within their grasp is so important that it’s a constitutional principle in Alaska,” Martin said.

She learned early as a lawyer on the staffs of Sen. Ted Stevens and former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens that conservation and development are not mutually exclusive.

“We can develop our natural resources and protect the environment to improve the quality of people’s lives through the access to indigenous energy sources,” she said. “This is something in which I deeply believe and that inspired me over my career in this industry.”

Martin’s first piece of advice for young professionals is to not hesitate to ask for help. Early in her career, she engaged an executive coach to build her confidence and help her find the right language to express ideas to executives before she had the experience to do it on her own.

“Knowing when to seek help is also key,” she said. “Probably the toughest challenge in my career was navigating how to lead and how to show up for my team and still add value to my work when I was experiencing the unexpected personal loss of my daughter. When it happened, I knew being able to walk through the grief and still function was something I couldn’t do myself, and immediately sought a counselor who was key to my stability.

“Knowing when you can do something on your own and when you absolutely cannot is critical.”

Her second piece of advice: Embrace where you are in the moment of your life and don’t waste energy worrying about where you are not.

“Excelling at work and in your personal life do not have to be mutually exclusive,” Martin said. “When you feel like they are, remember there are seasons when you need to or have the ability to lean more into one than the other, but they will swap and it will all balance out.”

Check out the rest of Hart Energy's 2024 Women in Energy here
Three More Things

1. Being from Alaska, I am a salmon snob. As we say up north, “Friends don’t let friends eat farmed fish!”

2. I was once featured on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

3. I was a competitive long-distance runner in college.