Inaugural short course

Career Tips Shared At PROWESS Workshop

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

A new short course addressing career development and leadership in the energy industry premiered at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif.

“Unconventional Work Force Assets: Developing Women Leaders in the Energy Industry” was offered by AAPG’s Professional Women in the Earth Sciences (PROWESS) and the Association for Women Geoscientists.

The course provided high-profile, professional advice to younger professionals who are seeking to land leadership positions in the industry, and to match skill sets and career goals.

The program featured luncheon keynote speaker Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey and adviser to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, who stressed the importance of STEM jobs in providing meaningful and financially rewarding jobs for women, plus two sessions:

♦ The morning session, “Green Field Development,” focused on getting started on the right foot and jump-starting a career at any stage, as well as recognizing technical and managerial career paths and the importance of personal decisions. The session’s keynote speaker was Julie Mahler, senior commercial adviser and former global geoscience recruiting manager for ExxonMobil Upstream Ventures.

Issues addressed included:

  • Maximizing the value of your technical skills: navigating the technical learning curve through training and experience.
  • Perfecting your professional image: developing a corporate brand and not just a label.
  • Developing leadership skills and influence without authority.

♦ The afternoon session, “Enhanced Opportunity Recovery,” focused on maximizing personal experiences for career success via technical and managerial leadership techniques. The keynote speaker was Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey and adviser to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

Issues addressed included:

  • Expectations of tomorrow’s leaders: skills needed to effectively lead future employees.
  • The business of “The Business”: information on economics and energy policy affecting your career.
  • 3 Second career, second success: tips for maintaining a dynamic geosciences career.

Some of the course’s helpful pointers as identified by the participants included:

  • You can have it all – but just not all at once.
  • The difference between a “leader” and a “manager” – a leader creates the vision, while a manager organizes the process to achieve the vision, knowing who the right people are for the job.
  • The importance of establishing yourself early on in a meeting. If you don’t articulate early on, you may not say much the rest of the time.
  • Not all leadership styles are the same; “quiet thought leadership” can be potentially more powerful than an overbearing leader.
  • Build a network of people who can help mentor you for specific responsibilities.
  • “Know your number!” Assess how much you are worth in order to attain the recognition and financial value you deserve.

Other helpful tips on how to establish your technical credibility included making regular rounds to individuals on your floor to understand personally what they are working on; if you take a course you like, teach it; learn at least one new technology and technical concept at conferences and write a trip report to establish why you went and the consequent value you will add to the company; make an asserted effort to attend as many technical talks and programs offered by your company as possible – be a sponge and never stop learning!

The participants’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and this inaugural short course was deemed a great success.

In fact, requests already have been made to have the one-day course taught annually at subsequent AAPG annual convention and international conferences, so stay tuned!

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