The Energy Institute, in partnership with the Society of Petroleum Engineers, is preparing to stage a mini-conference for women in the oil & gas industry.
Unleashing the Potential in Your Career is an attempt by the two bodies to highlight petroleum-related opportunities to women on the North Sea/international career ladder, and students aspiring to get a foot on its first rung.
The event will be staged in Aberdeen on March 2, and is open to all women, no matter their current industry.
The EI/SPE have billed the event as a “great opportunity to learn more about successful career experiences”, and add it will demonstrate how women can “tackle challenges in the industry” to “achieve career satisfaction”.
Organisers hope the conference will help to identify some of the barriers to progression and illustrate how they can be overcome. They add invited speakers have all attained positions of seniority, mainly in the oil & gas industry, and stress that delegates will be “be inspired by their stories and learn from the challenges they have encountered”.
The event has also been designed to facilitate networking and knowledge sharing among women of a like mind.
Nicola Gordon, managing director of Shell in Denmark, is set to deliver the keynote speech while Onnah Werngren, head of development at Gaz de France, will set the scene.
Session one will see Moya Cahill, president and CEO of PanGeo Subsea, discuss her journey up the career ladder and the strategic path to success, before Ingrid Stewart, vice-president at Simmons & Company, offers an insight into her successful career from a corporate finance perspective.
Session two will see Beth Gutweiler, supply chain country manager UK at Halliburton, examine how delegates can achieve their goals before Kirsty Leishman, a director at Lettoch Associates, takes the floor.
The third session, Work/Life Balance in Business, will take the form of a panel discussion and open forum facilitated by Sheena Miller.
The panel line-up currently includes Leigh Ann Russell, North Sea completions engineer manager at BP; Juan Carlos Chavez, head of PT, Gaz de France; Maria Jimenez, principal production technologist at Senergy, and Louise Kingham, CEO of the Energy Institute.
Session four, Managing Your Workplace and Progressing Your Career, will be led by safety specialist Dr Bill Robb.
Compared with Norway and, to a certain extent, the US, women can struggle to smash through the glass ceiling in the UK energy sector. Female senior managers, CEOs or MDs are rare.
However, there are some exceptions, including Vivienne Cox, former CEO and executive vice-president of BP Alternative Energy, who stood down in 2009. Unda Cook, formerly executive director of gas & power at Shell Trading, departed the same year.
In the 1970s, the legal profession in Britain was overwhelmingly a male preserve, but some 30 years on women dominate. A similar swing has also occurred in other professions. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before women oust male counterparts in the upstream oil & gas industry.
Maybe the EI/SPE conference will help spur such a change.