The pandemic has caused millions of people, especially women, to rethink their careers. It may have been stimulated by all that time working from home, or the shift to remote work opening up opportunities in any location, or homeschooling their kids for months while schools were closed, or the joy they found in hobbies or side hustles. It’s no wonder that a Bankrate survey found 55% of people say they are looking to change jobs over the next 12 months.
“You know, little girl, I’ve been watching you,” the longtime oilman said to Marsha Hendler. “You get this business; you need to be an operator.” Some women would have taken offense at being called “little girl.” Instead Hendler saw a golden opportunity to be mentored and, in the process, gained a close friend – “my number one bubba” – until his sudden passing last December.
Despite not having a background in energy – aside from the oilfield service companies that were clients of the marketing company she owns – Hendler was intrigued with the industry and, after giving it some thought, came to the conclusion that she did indeed “get it” and want to be a part of it.
When she founded San Antonio-based TerraFina Energy, LLC, in 2003, Hendler was on her third career. A graduate of the University of Houston (‘73), Hendler has a bachelor’s degree in business management, specializing in hotel and restaurant management, and was in the hospitality industry for many years before going into marketing. Of the three careers, she has found energy to be the most challenging and also the most rewarding. Contrary to what some might think, she also has found it to be the least sexist.
The New York Times noted that “fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John” in an article published in 2015. “The Johns” were in second place by year-end 2016, but not by much. Although female executives remain grossly underrepresented in the C-suite, this small victory for gender inclusion underscores a changing dynamic. Did this change pay?
The S&P Global Market Intelligence Quantamental Research team has published one of the most comprehensive examinations, by breadth and time horizon, of gender diversity, to date.
Our research findings include:
A male-to-female ratio of 19:1 for CEO and 6.5:1 for CFO, as of year-end 2018, exposes a persisting underrepresentation of females in key executive positions, despite recent advancements.
Female CEOs drove more value appreciation and improved stock price momentum for their firms.
Female CFOs drove more value appreciation, better defended profitability moats, and delivered excess risk-adjusted returns for their firms.
An analysis of executives’ biographies suggests that the female executives who have been appointed to C-suite positions have attributes consistent with the most successful male executives. One interpretation of this result is that female executives are held to a higher standard by the companies’ board of directors, than their male counterparts.
BY: ERICA ZIMMERER • DIRECTOR OF GRID MODERNIZATION
The best electric utility distribution employees are those that the customers never know.
Utility employees have spent generations solving complex challenges, all with a dedicated focus to make sure that our customers have the power they need when they need it. In fact, distribution workers have done this so well over time that customers rarely consider all the effort that goes into flipping that switch. This is a source of great pride and accomplishment for distribution employees and it is also why during major events we all work so hard to restore the system. We all want to get back to a state of being forgotten. Our goal is to go unnoticed… because when we are noticed, it means something has gone wrong.
There are many challenges in our field, most are manual and tedious in nature, others require the outside-the-box thinking. From walking down utility lines for visual inspections, to programming complex automation schemes, one truth holds firm for all distribution employees: the need to make things right.
Today, approximately 120 megawatts of customer-owned distributed energy resources, almost all rooftop photovoltaic systems, are spread out over 20,000 connections at various customer locations throughout Entergy Corp.’s system. Approximately 83.5 MW of utility-scale solar generation is currently in operation, and additional solar generation is under development. The company’s distributed energy resources exist in variations, including utility-scale, utility-owned, behind-the-meter and customer-owned solutions. The incorporation and improved visibility into and management of DERs is key to the utility’s approach to providing increased resiliency to customers in higher-risk weather-prone areas, such as New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Change & Growth
As DERs and new technology appear in increasing numbers on the grid, they are changing customer expectations for reliability and service. They are also challenging grid operations as the company juggles the impacts of new assets, particularly those that are customer-owned or third-party-owned at the grid’s edge. Fortunately, these assets often are intelligent and can be remotely controlled assuming that communications can be addressed as well as access rights. This distributed intelligence capability creates opportunities to co-optimize and integrate the operation of both utility- and customer-owned assets. Co-optimization requires enhanced telecommunications, cybersecurity and distributed analytics to manage rapidly changing bidirectional power flows. Read the full article on T&D World »
At a recent Houston conference for women in the oil and gas industry, a keynote speaker, Pamela Beall, the chief financial officer for MPLX, a pipeline company, gave a presentation on how to “communicate powerfully,” in the business world.
One of the most important ways, Beall said, is with your appearance. She summarized the attitudes she has heard from male colleagues this way: “For women in business, the more flesh you show in a meeting, the less credibility you have.”
She said she was disappointed when she saw young women held back from key opportunities because they did not dress “appropriately.” This is something she wanted to be sure her audience got right, because otherwise, she warned, no one will listen to them.“What are the men focused on?” she asked, implying it would be something other than the content of the business presentation.
Beall isn’t giving bad advice. On the contrary, it is well-informed and well-intentioned, based on decades of working her way to the top of huge energy companies.
The oil industry is doing a better job of hiring women. Keeping them remains the challenge, says ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance.
Conoco, the world’s biggest independent oil producer, has seen its percentage of female and minority workers climb among its youngest generation of employees, Lance said in an interview from his Houston headquarters on Thursday.
Boosting diversity is a priority at the company, which has 13,000 employees, Lance said. Women make up a quarter of his eight-member executive leadership team and account for four of 10 seats on the board of directors. Conoco didn’t see a rise in sexual harassment complaints last year, he said, even as high-profile cases made headlines.
Still, there’s work to be done, especially in making it easier for women to sustain a career in the business, Lance said.
CEO says utility is investing in renewables and natural gas, and ‘will continue to decarbonize’
Utility executives are navigating a rapidly changing landscape: low prices, weak electricity demand and increasingly strict emissions rules.
Duke Energy Corp., the giant utility based in Charlotte, N.C., is leading the charge among large, coal-heavy power producers toward natural gas, solar and wind power. But the company, which churns out electricity for 7.4 million customers in the Carolinas and four other states, still gets about one-third of its power from coal plants. It also has to clean up dozens of aging coal-ash ponds, the large, wet pools where the company disposes of the fly ash left over from burning coal at its power plants.
The number of women in the C-suite at U.S. energy companies is still not on par with their male counterparts.
Analysis from global advisory firm Korn Ferry reveals that women make up significantly less C-level positions in energy, with the exception of chief human resource officers (CHRO). Women account for 57 percent of CHRO positions in energy.
Korn Ferry’s analysis of energy companies represents 33 U.S. states, with the highest concentration (37 percent) residing in Texas, and finds that women make up about one-quarter (24 percent) of all C-suite positions.
Valero’s (NYSE: VLO) announcement comes on the heels of reporting its second-quarter financial results, in which the San Antonio-based company saw its revenue and net income decline but nevertheless exceeded expectations.