SPE Diversity and Inclusion Committee at 2022 ATCE: Highlights of Our Service
A summary of the committee’s activities was presented at the 2022 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
The SPE International Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Standing Committee was launched immediately after the 2020 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE). The committee upholds the legacy of the Women in Energy Standing Committee (WIN) that was established in 2016 to elevate gender diversity within the industry. The D&I Committee expanded the WIN Committee’s vision to also address D&I topics such as race, nationality, and age.
Linda Battalora and Patricia E. Carreras, 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 SPE D&I Standing Committee chairs, respectively, presented a summary of the committee’s activities for the 2021–2022 term at the 2022 ATCE.
Highlights from their presentation are summarized below.
The committee aims to advance the Society’s commitment to diversity and inclusion within the oil and gas community through collaboration and education.
Both women and men were part of the 2021–2022 committee. Members of the committee represented a variety of ethnicities and nationalities and held a broad range of ages. Members’ home countries—Argentina, Bangladesh, Chad, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, US—represented different regions of the world. Several of the committee members are immigrants, working in countries where they do not speak their mother language. They know by experience that inclusion is not always granted at the workplace. They all decided to take action and joined the committee to support D&I initiatives for the benefit of SPE and the society in general.
During the 2021–2022 term, Battalora and Carreras participated in online panels organized by the Texas A&M University Student Chapter (US), the Vellore Institute of Technology Student Chapter (India), and the South America and the Caribbean region.
The D&I committee, represented by Battalora and the SPE Business, Management, and Leadership Standing Committee (BMLC), collaborated by organizing webinars focused on joint D&I and BLMC themes of interest. The webinars were titled “Leading Tomorrow, Today!” and “Inclusion starts with ‘I’”.
The Social Media team posted inspirational D&I topics and promoted D&I events throughout the term on the D&I social media channels (SPE D&I on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn). The SPE D&I LinkedIn page holds more than 2,700 followers as of October 2022, and the committee aims to add many more.
The committee organized two panels during the 2021–2022 term as described next.
Panel—“Promoting a Culture of Belonging”
The External Outreach team organized the panel “Promoting a Culture of Belonging” moderated by Battalora, with the participation of the renowned panelists JoAnn Meyer, Matthew Brierley, and Lauren Aguilar.
A few of the numerous inspiring concepts shared during the panel are presented below.
JoAnn Meyer: “If both of us think exactly alike, then one of us is kind of irrelevant. How do we get all the perspectives that will be useful on the table? I am not surprised that people that look different, have different backgrounds, and different beliefs systems bring a different perspective. What I really value about diversity is that we got the best opportunity to learn the most.”
Matthew Brierley: “Belonging is what you feel when you feel included. The workplace culture needs to be inclusive so that people want to stay. If employees want to stay with their employer, then it means that they feel that they belong.”
Lauren Aguilar: “Diversity are all the dimensions of identity and differences that are both seen and unseen such as gender, race, age, disabilities, or personal beliefs. No one person can be diverse. We can only see diversity when we look at the whole group. Diversity is context dependent.
Inclusion means that during a meeting you can express your ideas and you are not interrupted. Inclusion is the culture, the air that we breathe in an organization, the means to feel that we belong. Belonging is the outcome.”
Panel—“Women’s Career Progression in the Energy Industry: Quota or Qualification?”
The ATCE Event team organized the panel “Women’s Career Progression in the Energy Industry: Quota or Qualification?” moderated by Carreras, with the enlightening participation of the panelists Chikezie Nwosu, Gail Ramdath, and Claudia Guevara, in representation of different regions of the world.
A few of the many thoughtful reflections shared during the panel are cited below.
Chikezie Nwosu: “The concepts of quota or qualification are not mutually exclusive. However, we need to ensure equality in our recruitment processes. If the pool that we are trying to recruit from has 90% men and 10% women, then the likelihood of selecting a woman from that pool is much lower than making the selection from a pool that has 50% of men and 50% of women. We need to ensure parity at the beginning of the selection process to guarantee the same opportunity to merit the position.
I have never seen during my whole career a woman that didn’t have the merit for the position that she was holding in the organization.”
Gail Ramdath: “I personally wouldn’t like to be selected for a role to fill a quota, and not having the selection based on what my competence is.
Traditionally we have certain roles of the industry that are dominated mostly by females, for example the administrative roles or the HR roles. On the contrary, the more laborious jobs located in the field are predominantly filled by males. However, that’s slowly changing. We are seeing more females doing those laborious jobs in the field.”
Claudia Guevara: “Most people would agree that recognizing employees based on merit is fair. However, merit-based practice might not increase equity.
I understand that employers need to keep the best employees in this competitive business environment and dynamics. However, the most important goal is for companies to hire and retain talent based on an unbiased criterion. Based on research information, recruiting, development, and promotion practices need to be redesigned to consider not only gender diversity but also all types of diversity.”
Champion of the Year Award
The Internal Outreach team established the Champion of the Year Award for the first time during the 2021–2022 term. The award aims to honor a section and a chapter that have been exceptionally proactive and successful in fulfilling the mission and vision of D&I in a local capacity. The award can only be received once in a 5-year term by a section or chapter.
The 2022 D&I Champions of the Year were the following:
Both Battalora and Carreras were extremely happy to have the opportunity to give a certificate that testified the award to a representative from Warri Nigeria during ATCE. An electronic version of the award was also sent to both winners. Congratulations, Balikpapan Indonesia, and Warri Nigeria!
Nelson Mandela said, “My dream would be a multicultural society, one that is diverse and where every man, woman, and child are treated equally. I dream of a world where all people of all races work together in harmony.”
Mandela succinctly captured the values that inspire the SPE D&I committee members. We hope that all SPE members are also inspired and actively embrace and support D&I actions and initiatives in their daily life.
How Do You Get Involved?
Ask your SPE section and/or chapter how you can become involved locally.
You can learn more about the D&I Committee here. If you wish to set up a D&I committee in your region, please contact email@example.com. On-demand access to the events organized during 2021–2022, as well as previous events, are available at https://www.spe.org/en/diversity/.
Patricia E. Carreras is a reservoir engineering consultant with more than 25 years of international experience leading and advising majors and independent energy companies on field development planning leveraging reservoir simulation. Additionally, she is a public speaker, mentor, and coach on topics of leadership, diversity and inclusion, and cross-cultural effectiveness. Carreras has worked based in the US, Mexico, and Argentina, and has visited for business Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman.
She is an active member of SPE, serving as 2022–2023 chair for the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee. She is a past member of the SPE Business Management and Leadership Committee (BMLC). Carreras is one of the authors of the first-ever D&I survey launched by the BMLC in May 2020. She volunteers as a mentor for the SPE eMentoring program. She is the chair of the SPE Gulf Coast Section Continuing Education Committee, which received the 2021–2022 SPE GCS Outstanding Committee award under her tenure. Carreras received the 2020–2021 SPE GCS Exemplary Volunteer award.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Buenos Aires and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University.
Linda A. Battalora is a teaching professor in the petroleum engineering department at the Colorado School of Mines. She is a Ben L. Fryrear Chair for Innovation and Excellence, Payne Institute for Public Policy Faculty Fellow, and a Shultz Humanitarian Engineering Fellow. Prior to joining the faculty at Mines, she served in various roles in the oil and gas industry including petroleum engineer, attorney, and international negotiator for hydrocarbon project development. She is an officer of the SPE Methane Emissions Management Technical Section and a member of the Business & Leadership Standing Committee, and Health Safety Environment (HSE) & Sustainability Advisory Committee. Battalora is a past chair of the Sustainable Development Technical Section and the SPE Diversity & Inclusion Standing Committee. She is an SPE Distinguished Member and an SPE Distinguished Lecturer (2019–2020). She is the Mines director of TOP Energy Training’s flagship program, TOPCORP. Her research areas include sustainability, HSE, and methane emissions management. Battalora holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum engineering from Mines, a law degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and a PhD in environmental science and engineering from Mines.