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Findings from Women's Global Leadership Conference

Findings from Women's Global Leadership Conference

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Published by GelbConsulting
White paper reviewing research and insights for female executives in the energy industry.
White paper reviewing research and insights for female executives in the energy industry.

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Published by: GelbConsulting on Jan 15, 2010
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01/15/2010

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Women’s Global Leadership Conference

Gelb Consulting Group, Inc. 1011 Highway 6 South Suite 120 Houston, Texas 77077 P + 281.759.3600 F + 281.759.3607 www.gelbconsulting.com

Women’s Global Leadership Conference

Results from WGLC Web Survey

Background In anticipation of the Women’s Global Leadership Conference, Gulf Publishing and Gelb Consulting Group conducted a survey of female executives in the oilfield to develop a better understanding of employment issues with this specific group. The participants were asked to share their thoughts on industry-relevant issues such as qualities women must possess to succeed, how to recruit and retain more women, and career obstacles women face. Study Methods Detailed, open-ended responses were received from 12 qualified participants with five to 25 years of industry experience. These women held such titles as CFO, Senior Marketing Manager, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Human Resources Manager, Director, Geologist, and Production Engineer. This small sample was intended to provide insight into the minds of these women, but not to provide generalizations and projections for all female executives. Results & Conclusions The survey uncovered key insights regarding the challenges that female leaders still face in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Interestingly, the survey found things are getting better as senior executives begin to welcome women into the strategic decision making-process…but there is still room for growth. Below are the conclusions of the survey. Keys to Success in Male-Dominated Industry Ability to be business and relational savvy is necessary for their success. Must acquire and maintain vast technical knowledge, often more so than their male peers. Simultaneously master interpersonal skills while retaining an objective business mindset. These conclusions translate into women feeling unique challenges given the nature of the maledominated energy industry. Some of the sage advice from the survey participants included remaining “feminine” but continuing to challenge conventional thinking and remaining smart in deliberations. “Because it is so male-dominated, ability to compartmentalize (as men do so well) and keep in mind it is always about business and not personal.” “Women working in this industry must know how to be strong and earn respect, but need to have an endearing quality about them, as well.” Overcoming Gender Bias & Balancing Family Overcoming gender bias and balancing family are common obstacles women in the industry share. Sometimes women are treated as less competent than their male counterparts. Becoming a mother is a decision that changed the nature of their career. Their new role consequently presented new challenges and often forced the choice between advancement and their family. “I have the capabilities and the desire to be in upper level management, but I also have a son and family that I don't want to take too much away from. I think I could do the job without taking away from my family, but that is not how „the job is done, so unless I'm willing to spend more time at/on work, I won't be considered.” “I achieved one of the potential career goals established early in my career. I could have followed other paths, but they would have compromised my effectiveness as a mother.”

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Women’s Global Leadership Conference
Pushing Through the “Glass Ceiling” Advancement continues to be an issue for women, regardless if they decide to take on motherhood. While most executive-level positions are held by men, a number of women have progressed to join the executive ranks. Women lamented they do not feel fully accepted into executive ranks or circles. Despite progress, a “glass ceiling” restricts advancement in the industry. “We have had women in the Executive Level positions but there are obviously still more men. I don't know when our CEO will ever be a woman but women who have the qualities I mentioned do get promoted readily. There are just not very many of them outside of HR and Finance.” “Women are still not fully accepted at the C-level in the energy industry for large companies. It may be because most women are not really willing to give up what it takes, because they don't have a wife to handle those things. But the question is, can the job be done without giving everything up?” Recruitment & Retention In order to facilitate the recruitment and retention of women, the energy industry should create and promote an environment that is cognizant of women's needs. Participants suggested the industry hold in higher regard women’s family responsibilities. To attract more women into oilfield leadership positions, organizations must respect women’s life-work balance and offer advancement opportunities without relocation. Implement training on how to best manage female employees and increasing visibility of females in executive level positions. To overcome perceptions of a “glass ceiling,” the women concluded that organizations should showcase female accomplishments and highlight women leaders. But women should do their part as well by networking with others in similar positions and being good role models for younger female employees. At the end of the day, the survey respondents were pragmatic. They recognize the need to make trade-offs between family and work, but realize the need to tackle tough assignments to get recognized…and rewarded. About Gelb Consulting Group Gelb utilizes strategic marketing planning processes to guide organization’s short-term and long-term growth. For the past forty years, Gelb has helped organizations in complex industries reach their potential. For more information, visit www.gelbconsulting.com/oil-and-gas. About Gulf Research Gelb has partnered with Gulf Publishing to form Gulf Research. The collaborative efforts of both organizations have resulted in an entity that provides syndicated marketing research studies to the oil and gas industry. Gulf Research reports are used by major oilfield services to identify opportunities in technology development and for improving their marketing effectiveness. For more information, visit www.gulfresearch.com.

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