Shawn Simmons, PhD, Environmental & Permitting Manager at ExxonMobil, Gulf Coast Growth Venture
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. The rest will come … just keep living and keep pushing forward.
Q: What advice would you give to a young woman looking to make a career in your industry?
A: Performance is necessary, Image sets you apart, Exposure helps you get to the next level. Define success early on for yourself, seek out mentors, and adjust your path as needed.
Q: What is something no one knows about you?
A: I am a thyroid cancer survivor.
Q: What, if any, unexpected turn happened in your career path?
A: An opportunity to work in Africa, which I took. It was not on my radar and totally unexpected.

Julie Fawdington, NextGen IT MoC at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: I would tell my younger self to take advantage of the youthful confidence and keep pressing forward! I left grad school thinking I knew everything, which gave me the confidence to go after jobs and opportunities that now in my wiser old age I’m more hesitant to go after.
Q: What advice would you give to a young woman looking to make a career in your industry?
A: I work in IT for a large tech company. Never in my early career did I think anything related to IT or tech would be interesting. I had brainwashed myself from past feedback that ‘I wasn’t good at math’ or ‘certain classes are too technical. I’m not in a technical role in my current position, however I have been thrown into technical roles in the past. I truly love the challenge of learning something completely new and find myself energized and motivated to learn every day when I’m in an unfamiliar role.
Q: What is something no one knows about you?
A: Hmm. I’m not sure about this one. Something people might not know is that I don’t give up…. Ever. This has been my secret to success in work and life. I will win in the end simply due to endurance, being the last ‘man’ standing. I also run marathons for fun.
Q: What, if any, unexpected turn happened in your career path?
A: Getting into IT was definitely an unexpected turn. The best career moves have been because I took advantage of an opportunity, even if it seemed to be a strange route. Every move is a good move – the key is to keep moving!

Jenny McCauley, SVP of Administration at Southwestern Energy
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

A: 1. Be confident, believe in yourself and be grateful for those around you who teach you.
2. When you feel nervous or uncomfortable, this is a sign of strength and not a weakness! Truly understand that living outside of your comfort zone is how you develop and grow.
3. It really is true that what you learn and how you bounce back from failures is so much more important than the fact that you failed – you have to focus on the learnings and not the failure.
Q: What advice would you give to a young woman looking to make a career in your industry?
A: 1. Realize that you have the opportunity to be a “trailblazer” since the stats of women in the E&P industry are low.
2. Believe in yourself as a professional in the industry and not a “woman” in the industry, and never forget that as a woman, you have an opportunity and responsibility to help other women succeed
Q: What is something that no one knows about you?
A: I am going on my first safari next year
Q:  What, if any, unexpected turn happened in your career?
• First unexpected turn was when I was thrown for a loop by my boss early in my career when he asked if I would move across the US for a job that he thought would be great for me. I had no intention of going or moving, but interviewed “for him” and ended up taking the job. Changed the course of my life and career!
• Second unexpected turn came later in my career when I was asked by my boss to take on responsibility for a group of functions that I had no experience in or background with. I took the leap and did it opened my eyes and perspective to a completely different side of the business that has broadened my idea of what I might be interested in next.

Lisa Renko, Community Development Relationship Manager at Woodforest National Bank
Q: What advice would you give to young women looking to make a career in your industry?
A: Always be willing to be uncomfortable with change
Q: Did you always think this would be the career path you’d follow?
A: Never in a million years, but sometimes you are where you need to be before you know it
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Relax girl, you got this.
Q: What is something no one knows about you?
A: I’ve flown a blimp”
Q: What is something you tell yourself when you’re stuck?
A: You’re better than your mind is telling you right now
Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Megan Soltura, Vice President – Global Human Resources, Crane Worldwide Logistics – IAH
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

A: Stop stressing out about what other people think.
Q: What advice would you give to a young woman looking to make a career in your industry?
A: To any up and coming young woman, regardless of the industry, The sky is the limit- it truly is. Surround yourself with those who build you up, not tear you down. Find other powerful women to network with and put it on your calendar to reach out. Get involved, and expose yourself to as many business situations as possible. People can only take advantage of you if you let them. If you feel or have a fear of being stagnant, MAKE THE MOVE. It might be the gateway to something great. Above all, have the courage to live the life you want to live, and get out there and make it happen.
Q: What is something that no one knows about you?
A: I love Ethiopian food!

Candace Hurt CFP® CDFA®, Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager, The Bridge Group at Morgan Stanley
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Make use of trusted friends and mentors. Seek their counsel when you are faced with important decisions that will have a long-term impact on your life. Always remember that our God does not withhold wisdom when we request it.
Q: What advice would you give to a young woman looking to make a career in your industry?
A: If you are considering this profession, you need to have the desire to develop two major skills. First make sure you have the desire to develop and continually refine your knowledge of economies and financial markets. Second, make sure you have the interpersonal skills to develop supportive and caring relationships with your clients. Most clients, when they trust you, will provide you with all the information you need to help them appropriately plan their financial future. But that trust is developed by letting the client know you are truly interested in who they are and what they want to achieve. In my opinion, women are ideally suited to this profession, yet less than 15% of the financial advisors in the US today are women. Lastly, it takes time and perseverance to develop a practice. When beginning your career consider aligning yourself with a veteran advisor as a partner or mentor.
Q: What is something no one knows about you?
A: I was a bare back horse rider as a young girl and aspired to be a country western singer.
Q: What, if any, unexpected turn happened in your career path?
A: Prior to becoming a financial advisor, I made my living in technology and had been a single mom for the better part of a decade. During that time, I realized that I needed to save and grow funds for my kids college education. So, I began to do a bit of investing and found markets and investments very interesting. When I remarried, my husband knew my heart was not in technology and he asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to be a financial advisor. He offered to support me and my children while I began my practice. I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to help people on such a personal level in a profession that I love!

Jeanne-May Sun, Executive – Energy Transition & Clean Energy Solutions, Baker Hughes
Q: What book are you currently reading?
A: “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”, David Epstein, 1st edition, May 28, 2019
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: 1. While it is absolutely crucial to do your job very well, it is also very important at the same time to build relationships both inside and outside your company. People have to know you to be willing to advocate for you. 2. Carve enough time for yourself outside work for family, friends, health, hobbies, etc. This will sustain you through the inevitable ups and downs of your career.
3. Establish a long-standing group of trusted advisors – people use the term “Personal Board of Directors” – with whom you can discuss professional issues. 4. Ask for help when you need it.
Q: Was there a surprising change that happened to you while on your career path?
A: Yes, I made multiple changes in my career (and education) path along the way. It’s not surprising that I did this because I’ve always been one to follow my interests and change course as my interests have evolved. However, I couldn’t have predicted the specific changes in advance. I initially wanted to be a journalist, then a diplomat, then an academic economist. After doing my Ph.D. in economics, I decided to become a management consultant where I served a variety of industries including consumer products, retail, and automotive. I then left management consulting and joined the food industry, and subsequently the energy industry. I’ve also done work in telecommunications, healthcare, and the non-profit sector among other areas.
Q: What is something you tell yourself when you’re stuck?
A: • Just do it
• Keep going – you can do it
• It will get better – this too shall pass
• I have much to be grateful for

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