Oilwoman Magazine

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief (May-June 2024)

Women in male-dominated industries, such as energy, face myriad challenges, some of which are internal, such as our inner critics, possibly telling us we can’t do this or we don’t belong here. (Who among us isn’t familiar with imposter syndrome?) The whole premise in creating OILWOMAN MAGAZINE has been to show that women do belong and they bring unique perspectives to the industry.

In her latest article, our coaching columnist, Erica D’Eramo, urges us not so much to silence our inner critic as to have a constructive conversation with ourselves. D’Eramo’s insights can be applied not just to our careers, but to our daily lives and interactions with others, resulting in enhanced communication skills and a more compassionate outlook toward ourselves and others.

Our current Women in Industry (WII) profile focuses on This One’s for the Gals member, Alexis Gutierrez, who is on her second career as a production operator at Cheniere Energy – and is the mom to three girls. Gutierrez not only shows her daughters what a woman can accomplish but, as part of her own constructive conversation, reminds herself (and other women) not to be afraid to take  risks and to be willing to step outside of our comfort zone, so that our inner dialogue doesn’t include those “what if” thoughts.

Let’s not forget to celebrate our male allies and advocates. Longtime OILMAN MAGAZINE columnist Mark Stansberry and I teamed up for our first-ever joint interview to talk to energy executive and industry veteran David Lawler, who is one such champion. In the cover feature of this issue of OILMAN, Lawler discusses his illustrious career, which, as the first (now former) CEO of bpx Energy (with the “x” representing the “exploration of new ideas”) included building the leadership team from the ground up. Under his tenure, the entire Permian Development Leadership Team was female, helmed by Heather LaReau, who holds a PhD in geoscience, although that may not be a complete surprise, considering that in 2022 bp became the first (and only) major to have a female majority in executive leadership.

“We put Heather in charge of that team and they’re drilling some of the very best wells in all of the Permian basin under her leadership,” Lawler says. “Everyone needs someone to believe in them: People from different backgrounds, different colors, different genders. There were many people over the years who took a chance on me. As a leader, you need to step forward into that space.”

Let’s believe in ourselves and our abilities as we build a better, more diverse, and more confident energy industry.


Author profile
Editor-in-Chief -

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.

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