I had a fascinating discussion this past week with a very senior woman in the energy industry. This woman is a geologist by training and has been in the oil and gas industry for the past 36 years, as she puts it, ‘her career has progressed from the subterranean on up.’ The energy industry, like finance is heavily male-dominated and she shared with me some fascinating insights gleaned over the years. When she was COO of a Canadian oil company, the company and the industry in Canada had more women applying for work and trying to climb the corporate ladder, but post her retirement with a dearth of women in senior management behind her, the pipeline of women has fizzled out which is why she was a keynote speaker at the Kayo Energy Conference for Women in Houston this past week – she wanted to share her story and inspire other women to follow in her footsteps.
One of the things she mentioned to me had a lasting impact – she called it the ‘drawbridge effect.’ During her career, she noted that she observed that when many senior women had made it to the top they turned a blind eye to the women behind them trying to mimic her success. She said that one of her guiding principles through her very successful career has been to turn around and reach out a helping hand to the women trying to climb the ladder behind her. Success begets success and when we pay it forward everyone succeeds. I will ask each of you to keep that in mind during your workday – was there someone you could have helped along the way?
One good article from Fortune this week on the path to getting more women on corporate boards and the title says it all. The full article can be found here: http://fortune.com/2015/06/15/women-corporate-boards-men/
We have a terrific line up of events for the summer months. Don’t forget we take August off, so sign up now for June and July. Register early to avoid disappointment!