SPE Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Opening Opportunities for Our Volunteers
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.
The committee’s vision is to advance society’s commitment to diversity and inclusion within the oil and gas community through collaboration and education.
The committee mission is described below (Fig. 1).
- Uphold the legacy of ‘Women in Energy’—promote leadership, representation, and recognition for women within SPE.
- Provide and support social media platforms to discuss D&I topics.
- Provide support to local SPE sections/chapters in the creation and maintenance of D&I committees.
- Collaborate, support, and advise on topics related to D&I within SPE and external to SPE.
- Promote D&I in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The committee comprises leadership members—chair, deputy chair, and past chair—and four teams: ATCE, External Outreach, Internal Outreach, and Social Media. Additionally, the committee is supported by the Board of Directors liaison, the SPE staff liaison, and external advisors. The 2022–2023 organization chart is shown in Fig. 2.
During the 2022–2023 term, the committee adopted a horizontal organization in which team members could lead their respective teams during a 6-month period. In this way, all committee members had the opportunity to polish their leadership, communication, and planning skills. The members’ home countries—Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and US—represented diverse ethnicities and cultures.
The expectation is for volunteers to be available, to demonstrate active participation, to act with transparency, and most importantly to collaborate with the committee activities. All of these are important skills to develop and practice in our personal and professional lives.
As a result of this innovative approach to leadership and teamwork, the committee had high-quality deliverables during 2022–2023.
Committee leadership launched the 2023 SPE D&I survey. The analysis of the results is in progress.
The ATCE team organized the panel “Promoting D&I in STEM—From School to University” that was held at the 2023 ATCE with speakers/professors representing different countries.
The External Outreach team organized two panels and one webinar as described below.
The panel, moderated by Patricia E. Carreras, included Med Kamal, Catalina Leal Isaza, and Emily Turkel.
Below are the inspiring concepts that the speakers shared related to the role that their respective generations play in the energy transition.
Medhat (Med) M. Kamal, 2023 SPE President, Chevron
The baby boomer and earlier generations know how this current technology was developed, and how we were able to succeed in developing this technology. We need to make sure that we convey information about the cleaner forms of energy, the more sustainable forms of energy, the forms of energy that are more friendly to our environment, to the new generations. It is important for our generation to be open-minded to recognize the competencies that we have, so that what we are doing is transferable to other forms of energy.
SPE is working closely with numerous educational institutions worldwide to reshape their curricula to add proper training so that their students can have the competencies that are needed. There are challenges to accomplish these changes. For example, when SPE suggests, “Consider including sustainability courses in your curricula,” the educators may say “My schedule is completely established. Where am I going to add more courses?”
Catalina Leal Isaza, Baker Hughes
There are studies that mention that by 2025 more than 80% of the workforce will be millennials. The millennial generation is very well equipped to lead and accelerate the energy transition. We will be able to make decisions that will dictate the strategies of the companies in which we are going to invest and on which we are going to focus.
Millennials want the world to be more compassionate and more sustainable. We will play a big role also in communicating and translating what energy transition means to younger generations, because each generation values different things. As we progress in our career and as we get to those leadership positions, it will be very important for us to be aware of diversity and what it brings to the table in accelerating the energy transition.
Emily Turkel, Calpine
It is important for Gen Z to be open and receptive, to absorb the institutional and experiential knowledge from older generations. It is not only that the older generation needs to share information. This is also on us, as Gen Z, to observe that information, to ask questions, and to learn from that right now.
Gen Z may be in the position to push the end of transition forward, and to bring new ideas, but ultimately, Gen Z is the youngest generation now, but we will not remain the youngest forever. There will be a day when Gen Z is the oldest generation in the workplace. So, it's important to really be leveraging this perspective now, while simultaneously being sure to absorb that important knowledge that's needed to keep the energy system afloat. Our responsibility as a generation is not just to push for new technologies and new ways of thinking but to make sure that we can rely on the security and safety of the traditional energy sector as well.
The main messages of the second panel “Integrating Energy Companies and the Communities Where They Operate” were captured in an article published on JPT.
The webinar “Conquer Impostor Syndrome to Advance Your Career” was presented by Kim Meninger, leadership coach and TEDx speaker. Meninger described the impostor syndrome as feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy despite contradictory evidence. It is most common among high-achieving people and commonly occurs at transition points. It often affects those who feel different from the dominant culture.
Impostor syndrome is not unique to women. The following behaviors are an indication of impostor syndrome: feelings of self-doubt, unwillingness to speak up or share ideas, reluctance to take risks, perfectionism, micromanagement, and practicing overcompensating behaviors. The speaker recommended that to own our success we need to acknowledge and embrace our strengths, keep an accomplishments journal, and adopt a service mindset.
The Internal Outreach team organized three town halls with the participation of sections and student chapters from around the globe.
The Social Media team posted inspirational D&I topics and promoted D&I events throughout the term on the D&I social media channels. The SPE D&I LinkedIn page has more than 3,600 followers as of November 2023, and the committee aims to add many more.
Fig. 3 summarizes the committee deliverables over time.
SPE D&I Champion of the Year Award
The Internal Outreach team continued the tradition that started in the 2021–2022 term of granting the SPE D&I Champion of the Year Award. The award aims to honor a section and a chapter that has 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 2023 SPE D&I Champions of the Year
- SPE Ghana Section, Ghana
- SPE Texas A&M Student Chapter, US
As mentioned by Adam Grant, a renowned American organizational psychologist, “To get real diversity of thought, you need to find the people who genuinely hold different views and invite them into the conversation.” The SPE D&I committee embraces all types of diversity and promotes inclusivity for all. We hope that SPE members are also inspired and actively embrace and support D&I actions and initiatives in their daily lives.
How Do You Get Involved?
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 by the committee are available at SPE.org.