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Our Team’s Takeaways from the 2022 WEN Conference

By: Access Sciences

Our Team’s Takeaways from the 2022 WEN Conference

Through two years of unprecedented challenges, the brilliant members of the Women’s Energy Network (WEN) “powered on” and will continue to do so.

This year’s WEN conference, themed Power On, took place April 3 – 5 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, covering today’s challenges and opportunities – from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), to the Energy Transition and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), to cultivating strong leadership.

Here are our team’s top takeaways from the 2022 WEN Conference:

Access Sciences Team at 2022 WEN Conference

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION (DEI)

Diversity is a fact, inclusion is an act.

In the session “Uncomfortable Conversations in the C-Suite of Energy,” the presenters shared this statistic: Women make up only 22% of the energy industry. 45% of those women are in administrative roles.

Kim Arnold, Independent Consultant and Owner, More Than a Strategy, LLC

Dannetta Bland, Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer, University of North Texas System

Salvador D. Vergara, VP of Strategic Partnerships, hrQ

According to Kim, Dannetta, and Salvador, the predominant challenge for women wanting to move up the ladder is that the energy industry has a bias for what leadership looks like. And to fix that, DEI needs to start at the top.

Dannetta recommends making DEI everyone’s responsibility – people respond to money, so tie promotion and salary to DEI metrics and behaviors. She also encourages leaders to really think about their succession plans. Are the future leaders of the company DEI allies? If not, you’re moving backward – not forward.

On the second day of the conference, WEN hosted a workshop, and attendees had the opportunity to plan a DEI strategy based on different types of company structures.

Alexis Girvan, Leadership Development and Performance Coach, Yielded Consulting

Brandon Towle, Owner & Chief Performance Officer, Yielded Consulting

Ideas that arose from the conversation included:

      • Creating a culture that prioritizes diverse perspectives. Everyone should be heard and
      • Expanding recruitment efforts to areas that are currently overlooked.
      • Invest in continuous learning and growth opportunities for all

THE ENERGY TRANSITION & ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL, AND GOVERNANCE (ESG)

Corporate responsibility matters – to consumers, to employees, to investors. That’s why two BIG focus areas for the industry are the Energy Transition (to cleaner energy production and usage) and ESG.

One of WEN’s panels, “Looking Ahead: How to Lead Your Company, Industry, and Your Career for Energy Transition,” focused on these two topics – because if your company is not heavily investing in the transition and ESG right now, you’re already behind.

The panelists shared that companies with strong ESG programs are outperforming companies that don’t. It’s no longer a “nice to have,” it’s a necessary roadmap to successfully navigate the energy transition.

Rachel Clingman, EVP of Sustainability and Governance, McDermott International

Nicole Durham, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Baker Hughes

Katherine Warren, Principal Consultant, Environmental Resources Management

According to Katherine, strong ESG programs support a company’s value proposition – and ESG reports should communicate that. If safety is one of your core values, make sure that it’s obvious in the metrics and messages you present. Year over year, progress needs to be evident in each report.

CULTIVATING STRONG LEADERSHIP

Over the past two years, there have been so many roadblocks that truly tested leaders – from the COVID-19 pandemic, to remote work, to the supply chain shortage… And now, to the Great Resignation.

In her opening session, Redia Anderson, Managing Partner and Founder of Anderson People Strategies, shared three attributes of strong leadership:

      1. Effective leaders are courageous.
      2. Effective leaders are authentic.
      3. Effective leaders are inclusive.

When it comes to being a courageous leader, Redia encourages the audience to have “courageous conversations.” According to Redia, people don’t leave bad jobs – they leave bad leaders. So, it’s important to have development conversations with your team members and find ways to improve on their end and your end.

WEN chose to open up and close the conference with the same topic: Leadership. At the end of WEN 2022, Alana M. Hill, Inspirational Author and International Keynote Speaker, stressed the importance of being a compassionate leader to drive change.

In her presentation, “What’s Your Catalyst? The Power of Managed Change,” Alana said while all decisions should be backed up and regulated by facts, emotions are the fuel – the driving force behind decision-making.

Because of this, leaders should be compassionate. If you want to manage change within your organization, change needs a catalyst – AKA the emotions behind the decision-making. So, it’s important to focus on the people in your organization – and really focus on the person, not just their performance.

If you align change with what matters to your team members, that will be the driving force behind their decision to be on board with the changes to come.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Access Sciences is a corporate member of WEN with regular involvement with the Houston Chapter. Our team would like to thank the thought leaders of WEN 2022 for providing their outlook on the industry’s most important topics. To learn about Access Sciences’ role in the energy industry, please visit our Energy webpage.

Access Sciences and Womens Energy Network
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