PROWESS | 2008 Diversity Seminar
EMILY OATNEY is an Exploration Advisor with Chevron’s Europe, Eurasia, and Middle East Exploration & Production Operating Company, based in London.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Science from University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in Geology from Oregon State University. While a student at Oregon State University, Emily lived and worked in northern India to conduct field work. She began her career with Chevron in 1998 as a geologist in New Orleans with the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Business Unit. Emily moved in 2002 to San Ramon, California to work for Chevron's Energy Technology Company (ETC). During this time, she worked on a variety of worldwide stratigraphic and modeling projects, including an assignment as a subsurface project manager. In 2006, Emily moved with Chevron to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to work as a subsurface development team leader for a new field development program. She has traveled for work in many countries with numerous opportunities to interact with colleagues, partners, direct reports, management, and government officials from different cultural backgrounds. In March 2008 Emily moved to London, perhaps the most culturally diverse city in the world.
Exploration Advisor, Chevron Europe, Eurasia, and Middle East Exploration and Production, London
How Do We Respond to Global Cultural Diversity in the Workplace?
Globalization, high oil prices, and an aging US workforce in the petroleum industry have created a shortage of skilled petrotechnical workers that in recent years has increasingly been filled by the international community. Abroad and in our home countries, work teams are becoming more culturally diverse. Students and early career professionals who have opportunities to work or live abroad can gain valuable insight into global cultural diversity, which in the long term helps to build strong inclusive work environments. General awareness and support of these cultural differences promote new ways of thinking in the workplace and foster relationship building with National Oil Companies, governments, partners, and the public. Investment in the development of this increasingly culturally diverse and mobile global workforce also has long term benefits for recruiting and retention. There are many opportunities to be gained (or lost) in the management and development of diverse workgroups and it requires a dedicated corporate culture to foster these relationships and create effective teams. Understanding, respecting, and adapting to local norms helps develop harmony in the workplace, even as individual core values remain unchanged. I will address these cultural opportunities and challenges with examples from my student experience living in India and professional experience working with Chevron in various countries, particularly the last two years living in Vietnam.