- Women in Energy -
In celebration of International Women's Day on March 8th, we requested the insight and experience of some of the ladies at Vapor Point. Responses came from multiple areas of the business including administration, accounting, human resources, safety, sales, and marketing. Here's what they had to say about what it's like to be a woman working in the oil and gas industry today.
What is your favorite thing about working for oil and gas (or your job at Vapor Point)?
BP (Brigitte Pena): I admire the work we do in trying to leave our world a better place for the future. I like that we all do what needs to be done to accomplish the goal(s) in mind. MG (Misty Griffin): Vapor Point provides me with a "hybrid" position. I am able to work in the field as well in the office. I enjoy working with everyone here, as each person contributes to our unique working environment. JM (Jami McDermott): I especially love the people!
VC (Veronica Carrillo): My favorite thing about working in the oil and gas industry is the thought that we are saving the earth from pollution on a daily basis.
SM (Sara McIntosh): I enjoy the sense of community – the way we come together like a family. I haven’t experienced that heartfelt camaraderie and compassion in other industries. LL (Lisa Lewis): I truly enjoy teaching the financial aspects of the business, meeting new people, and learning the new developments.
How/why did you choose to work in the oil and gas industry?
MG: Sustainability - this industry has great potential with a multitude of career paths with typically higher wages. JM: It chose me. I kind of stumbled into a job that included oil and gas about 17 years ago and I've been hooked ever since. Customers are like family and I can't see myself doing anything else. BP: Honestly, it was an accident. But it was always a good, fast paced energy all around from the first company up until now. I liked that and I stayed.
SM: I fell into it after the company I worked for had a mass layoff. I was drawn to Vapor Point’s culture of helping - customers, the environment, one another – as well as the unlimited potential for my growth and advancement.
VC: For me it was a start of a new adventure and it actually chose me. I wasn’t looking when the opportunity arose, and I was called to join the Vapor Point team. LL: An accounting position was open and there were areas to move inside the company.
What is something that the oil and gas industry can learn/apply from other industries?
MG: The tech industry provides greater gender diversity. The oil and gas industry needs to recognize women as greater assets. Women are untapped resources.
SM: Traditionally oil and gas tends to be about five years behind in marketing and advertising trends. I'd like to see more of what's going on in other industries and the B2C sector applied to our industry - really shake things up.
JM: Teamwork! Everything always works better, when you work together.
VC: Additional safety tactics. I believe we can all learn more from each other’s industries.
LL: Reach out and get your name to as many areas as possible.
What advice do you have for women considering a career in this industry?
VC: Be open minded and assertive – make it a point to know the depths of the industry. Always ask questions to have a complete understanding of what your company offers or can additionally offer.
MG: Don’t shy away from field experience if it’s offered. Show confidence and speak up when you have input. BP: Confidence matters.
LL: Stay focused on your priorities and help your coworkers. JM: Do it! It is a challenging industry and you may have to work a little harder to prove you know what you're doing, but the reward is worth the effort.
SM: Take a chance! If you want to see a change, become part of the change. You have valuable experience and insights to share so show up and speak up.
What do you feel is something unique that women bring to the oil and gas industry?
MG: In general, women that speak with confidence tend to rule the room since they are so few and far between.
BP: We simply bring a different perspective, a different energy.
VC: Administratively, we bring compassion and a broader way of thinking. We offer a diverse way of thinking and innovating.
SM: Sharing our unique experiences and perspectives can really liven things up - get this industry out of the "that's the way we've always done it mentality" that it often falls into - especially in regard to marketing and advertising.
JM: A different perspective. Most women are not scared to speak up, try new things, and are very persistent. I think the oil and gas industry has been doing things a certain way for so long it’s difficult to convince them to go outside their box.
LL: Women tend to improve communication skills.
What has been one of the most satisfying parts of your career in this industry?
BP: The open mindedness and candor. The way there seems to be plenty of paths for our content. SM: My role is ever evolving - no day is exactly like the last. It gives me the challenge and variety that I thrive in.
JM: I cherish the lifelong friendships I have been blessed with. LL: Training a person and seeing them succeed brings me a lot of joy.
VC: The most satisfying part for me has been the receivables portion of my position. Knowing that billing is completed appropriately and accurately.
What qualities does someone need in a role like yours?
MG: A genuine concern for a person's well-being, humility, and a drive for continuous safety practices. BP: It’s always well perceived when we think outside the box. When we streamline to accomplish the goal. VC: Must be a multi-tasker, open minded, and have patience. Also need be able to task themselves on a daily basis and follow good processes to stay on path.
JM: Being self-motivated, persistent, organized, positive, caring, honest, and authentic.
SM: It’s critical to have a commitment to learning/growth, communication skills, teamwork, organization, adaptability, and authenticity.
LL: Time management skills are a must!
How do you maintain work life balance?
SM: I make a continued effort to be present at work and at home. I try to leave my work at work. I do the best I can each day and let that speak for itself.
LL: I make a priority list every day and try to finish those tasks by the end of the day and leave it at the office.
BP: It is difficult, but Vapor Point offers such a wonderful way of letting you do both.
VC: I maintain my work life by following a daily agenda. Distractions happen constantly and I have learned that a daily agenda can be crossed out, added to, and moved to the next day as an order or priority.
JM: I am blessed to work for an amazing company that allows me the flexibility to keep that balance.
What is one thing that you see has improved for women in the oil and gas industry in recent years?
VC: We are in the front lines assisting versus behind the scenes. Women are able to display what they can accomplish.
MG: An increased acceptance of presence. The oil and gas industry is male-dominated. In the past women have been deterred from entering due to harsh perceptions that come with the industry. BP: I think we’re taken more seriously. People are listening and taking our advice.
JM: There are definitely more women in leadership and management roles. LL: Women are being more accepted in this industry.
SM: I've seen more professional associations and resources for women in this industry pop up. We are here, sharing our insights, and supporting one another!
How can we encourage more women to work in the oil and gas industry?
JM: More youth programs and high school interaction. I don't think we do a good job informing young women about the opportunities in the industry.
VC: Open a diverse range of positions that can give them opportunities with the ability to receive education and hands on training. LL: Give them confidence.
SM: Sharing the opportunities for women in this industry. They don't get talked about enough. Also, having more positions available that aren’t specific to historical gender role perceptions.