June 2019, Vol. 246, No. 6

Editor's Notebook

Editor's Notebook

To All the Women I’ve Worked with Before

OK, a Julio Iglesias song lyric its not, but the women it represents is impressive. I recently received an email requesting abstracts for the Women’s Global Leadership Conference in Energy (WGLC) that’s being held in Houston this October. It is an inspiring and motivational forum that encourages women and minorities to pursue leadership roles. This got me to thinking about the women that have impacted my life both privately and professionally. Girl, have I been blessed!

I have always admired my parents and quietly desired to be as mentally and physically tough as my Dad. But after watching my 88-year old Mom endure two complicated surgeries to repair two broken hips and then make the final decision to not seek dialysis for her failing kidney, I’ve realized that perhaps I’ve been erroneously looking in the wrong direction with regards to inheriting the family toughness gene.

My wife, Jennifer, also set the bar high as examples of her physical tenacity are aplenty. Six months after giving birth to our 9-plus pound baby boy, she was thrown from a bucking horse onto solid rock, while on vacation.  Suffering multiple broken bones, she managed to remount and ride down the mountain to seek emergency care. Not one tear. Not from sports injuries, childbirths, bee stings or dog bites. OK, I did see one tear roll down her cheek during a particularly strong contraction during the birth of our first child, but clearly, she is the tougher of the two of us. 

That’s not to say you must be tough to make it in this industry as a woman, but in what has been long-considered a male-dominated profession, it certainly helps. I have been fortunate to witness and work with some incredible, tough and talented women in the pipeline industry.

When I first joined El Paso Corporation, Norma Dunn was the Sr. VP of Communications and Government Affairs. She held her own around the likes of then CEO Bill Wise and an all-male boardroom.  Norma was instrumental in helping El Paso navigate past the Carlsbad rupture and her style of communication opened a lot of eyes on how to handle tragic incidents successfully. 

During my stint at Kinder Morgan there were several female leaders I admired, including the current president of Gas Pipelines, Kim Watson. Kim heads a business unit of one of the largest energy companies in the world and dedicates her time ensuring its success. 

Another standout at KM is former CFO Kim Dang. Dang was recently promoted to president and is a member of KM’s Board of Directors. Kim oversaw the $21 billion buyout of El Paso in 2007 and is one of the few employees, male or female, who could rival the confidence and swagger of Richard Kinder himself.

Another woman I revere is my former communications co-manager Emily Mir Oliver. A talented University of Texas graduate and a trusted confidant we leaned on each other while at Kinder Morgan. A work-marriage if you will; we collaborated, schemed, argued, laughed, cried and supported each other through company emergencies as well as family triumphs and tribulations. Emily is currently the director of External Affairs for Halliburton and her sister Marcie Mir is the CEO at El Centro De Corazon, an accomplished federally qualified health center located in Houston. Leadership genes run deep in that family!

Another former female associate that has inspired me is Theresa Sauls. Theresa is a multi-talented public relations, community relations and corporate communications professional. She is the 2018 recipient of the Patrice Johnson Award, which is given out by Leadership Houston. The award is given to the person who best exemplifies the qualities that made Patrice Yvonne Johnson a special leader throughout her life. She is a hard worker with an infectious laugh who always puts others before herself. She currently works for Center Point Energy and I’m honored to call her a friend.

Seriously, stop and think about the important women that have impacted your life. The upcoming WGLC is targeted specifically to matters of female leadership.

You can learn more about the event by going to www.wglconference.com


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