In February, Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath and Leigh-Ann Russell, FREng FEI, joined chief executive officer, Bernard Looney’s, leadership team, tipping the gender balance to six women and five men. bp now has its sights set on the next level of management, with a goal of achieving gender parity among its 120 most senior leadership roles by 2025, and to have women occupy 40 percent of roles in the next tier down.
When I posted the exciting news on LinkedIn, a man commented that the goal is to have the BEST (his caps) person for the position, regardless of other factors, such as gender, race, religion, etc. While he is not wrong, what he is missing is the fact that for a long time, our industry has excluded some of the best people – women and other minorities – for these roles and that is why it is so important to acknowledge them when they do reach this level of success. So, congratulations to Anja Isabel Dotzenrath and Leigh-Ann Russell, who are the best people for their posts and kudos to Bernard Looney and bp for realizing this.
To read more about bp’s leadership in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, please see our cover story with Aleida Rios, senior vice president of engineering, who has spent her 30-year career at bp and says, “It’s not just about the ambitious goals; it’s also making sure that we have a framework to drive that accountability. We focused on progressing gender representation and I have seen it happen in my career.”
Having celebrated “World Engineering Day for a Sustainable World” on March 4th, Rios is the perfect person for the March/April cover feature. Not only does she represent the 2,500 engineers under her leadership at bp, but last year she was named an international fellow of the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineers, making her the first Latina to receive that honor.
With companies like bp leading the way and women like Aleida Rios as role models, I have no doubt we will see the average of 13 percent women in the engineering workforce start rising to “bp levels.”
In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, please enjoy all the stories in this issue with women Rios calls “status quo busters”!
Rebecca Ponton has been a journalist for 25+ years and is also a petroleum landman. Her book, Breaking the GAS Ceiling: Women in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry (Modern History Press), was released in May 2019. For more info, go to www.breakingthegasceiling.com.
Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.