Diversity Seminar Planned During Annual Convention
Enhancing the professional development of both the current and future work force is an ongoing priority for AAPG. As the quest for energy is global, with few boundaries, so the need to encourage the best minds and talents to pursue and sustain careers in geoscience must extend globally.
In April, AAPG will offer a special workshop at the Annual Convention in San Antonio designed to heighten awareness and skills for effectively managing diversity in the workplace. “Embracing Diversity in a Global Work Force: How Do We Respond to Age, Gender and Global Cultural Differences?” will be held during the Annual Convention on Tuesday, April 22, 5:15-7:00 p.m.
Susan Nissen and Sunday Shepherd, members of AAPG’s Professional Women in Earth Science’s Committee, will co-chair the event.
As anyone who is following the current U.S. presidential race can attest, age, gender, ethnicity and religion are hot topics. They’re also coming up with increasing frequency in the petroleum industry, and not just as informal coffee room discussions with our colleagues of the relative merits of the various presidential candidates.
It is becoming more common for people of different generations, genders, ethnicities and/or national origins to find themselves working together in our industry.
How do we respond to these differences?
Do we view cultural differences as a hindrance to getting the job done?
Do we see cultural diversity as an opportunity for incorporating other viewpoints and insights into our work?
How do we adapt to the increasing involvement with national oil companies?
The seminar will explore these and other questions in an attempt to help participants understand some of the cultural differences we face in the workplace – and provide ideas for making the most of both our similarities and our differences to work together more effectively.
The seminar will feature three speakers:
Tom Roberts, assistant dean, Recruitment and Leadership Development, College of Engineering, Kansas State University, will talk about generational perspectives and their impact on ethics and decision-making in the workplace.
Generations theory suggests that there are four generational types, each with distinct characteristics, cycling every 80 to 90 years.
As a result, the workplace also cycles. Experienced senior employees generally represent two generations while recent graduates are often a third. Generational stresses between the “young” and “old” are not uncommon, and generational alignment has an impact on the leadership needed to guide an organization.
Learning objectives from this portion of the seminar will be:
- Understanding generations theory and turning terminology.
- Identifying changing attitudes and behaviors of recent graduates and experienced professionals.
- Determining at least two actions that leaders can take to adopt new practices.
Lee Allison, state geologist and director of the Arizona Geological Survey, Tucson, will explore two themes:
- Diversify or Die: “The United States is falling behind in science and technology and is increasingly desperate for professional employees,” he said. “If we don’t reach out to groups that are traditionally under-represented in the sciences, there will be terrible consequences for this nation economically and strategically.”
- Diversity is not a women’s issue.
“As a white male manager, I am representative of the challenges to women entering and succeeding in the profession,” he said. “It’s only as my oligarchy replaces the old paradigm that we can expect the needed improvements in diversity.”
Emily Oatney, an earth scientist with Chevron, will share her experiences dealing with diverse cultural backgrounds.
Oatney began her career with Chevron as a geologist in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and has held a variety of technical and team lead assignments in New Orleans, San Ramon, Calif., and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She recently moved to a new assignment as exploration adviser with Chevron’s Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Operating Company based in London.
She also has worked in Kazakhstan, Thailand and Bangladesh and continuously has the opportunity to interact with colleagues, partners, direct reports, management and government officials from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Her talk will include insights on diversity issues in the international energy industry, especially in working in Vietnam and other challenging locations.
Following the presentations, there will be time for questions/answers and informal discussion among the seminar participants. Refreshments will be provided.
Hosts for the seminar are the AAPG Professional Women in Earth Sciences (PROWESS) Committee and the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG).