Late last year, Karina Sultanova, a supply-chain consultant at Shell UK, carried off The Oil & Gas UK Award for Overall Excellence.
This petite, sparky individual is very clear about where she is headed – up the ladder, hopefully to smash her way through the upstream oil&gas glass ceiling.
In the first of a series of profiles of young go-getters in the North Sea industry, Sultanova explains what drives her.
Why did you choose a career in the oil&gas industry?
“As a graduate, I sought to join a big industry where I would meet a lot of people to learn from, as well as enough challenges to overcome.
“When an opportunity came to join Shell’s graduate scheme, I was intrigued and fascinated by the unique combination of technical, commercial and social puzzles this industry has to offer.
“Being part of this business, you get an opportunity to develop, seek and apply the latest technology, create and implement commercial solutions – and, of course, meet incredibly interesting people.”
What do you want to achieve in your career?
“Firstly, I would like to continue to learn as I see myself just at the start of this incredible journey of discoveries. Luckily, there are plenty of experts around me, particularly in Aberdeen, and they are always happy to share their experience with young professionals like myself.
“Secondly, at some point, I would like to take up a job where I am able to pass on my knowledge to others, perhaps through focused coaching or by running formal courses.
“My recent involvement in Oil & Gas UK forums has shown me that there is great value in sharing best practice, lateral learning and working together when tackling common problems.”
What motivates you to get up every morning to go to work?
“My current job provides me with many opportunities to improve the status quo. I enjoy the challenges and strive to remove barriers for others by simplifying things and providing tools that enable others to become more self-sufficient and effective in their tasks.
“I get a great deal of satisfaction when helping others and hope that, in future, I will get more and more opportunities to support others in their desire to advance in their jobs and take the industry to a new level.
“I often think of my mum saying, “There will be a time when you will enjoy giving presents more than receiving”. I think this time has come, and I enjoy every moment of it.”
What do you value most about your job?
“I am very fortunate to have been chosen for my current role and there are a lot of amazing sides to it. More than anything, I value the freedom that comes with my job.
“I was trusted with a large portfolio of opportunities, and the organisation has allowed me to prioritise, shape and implement the solutions with very few restrictions. I have been able to use my own imagination and skills and have received help to test things in practice, as well as feedback and advice.”
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
“The most memorable advice for me as a young professional was given by a senior female engineer during a Lunch and Learn session dedicated to personal growth.”
Karina added: “Work hard, whatever you do. Strive to be good at whatever you are tasked with. Excel in your job and you will be surprised who notices.
“This has proved to be true for me many times, again and again.”