In this episode of Voices of Energy, host Katie Mehnert, founder and CEO of ALLY Energy, interviews Lucinda Jackson, business executive, scientist, and author of Just a Girl. Lucinda has a passion for ESG, DEI, and organizational development; is a nerd about HR, sustainability, and environmental issues; and (like Katie) has experience in the health and safety field.
A career at Chevron (01:45)
To start off the conversation, Katie asks Lucinda to share about her background. Lucinda worked for Chevron for 28 years, and it was the fourth Fortune 500 company at which she was employed. She recounts her experience in the chemical business, in oil and gas, and - through it all - in navigating sexism and harassment in a predominantly white, male dominant atmosphere. Lucinda’s position as an “only” in her workplace showcased for her some of the deep-seated problems within large companies such as her own, and drove into her the conviction that all people are responsible for acknowledging and dealing with these problems around us.
Health and safety (04:29)
Before moving further into considerations of Lucinda’s push to counter injustice in the workplace, Katie asks her to share about her time working as a manager in the health and safety space. Lucinda explains how the field has two sides to it - the technical side and the human side. Health and safety measures require a lot of technology, such as cameras and tracking systems, but there is another element of the field that revolves around such interpersonal endeavors as building strong company culture.
Chevron did a good job of producing a safety culture, and this involved making the issue of safety everyone’s problem. This approach of making a broad issue the problem of all parties involved rather than focusing on blame-shifting is a tactic Lucinda has carried forward with her. She tried to employ it in facing problems, especially those of an unjust workplace. As a side note regarding an ideal workplace, Katie and Lucinda discuss the fact that diversity and inclusion are actually at the heart of higher-performing units.
Writing Just a Girl (09:15)
Katie then turns attention to Lucinda’s book and the experiences and concerns that prompted her to write it. Lucinda details her time as a professional woman in a man’s world, which included a lot of negative interactions and ultimately the feeling that she had her career in spite of various barriers. Lucinda does not want anyone else who is an “only” in his/her workplace to experience similar things, so she is committed to opening conversation about how such experience feels, how to get rid of it, and how doing these things will inevitably boost company productivity.
Advice for young listeners entering energy (13:15)
Lucinda’s book is a focused effort to do these things, but as she expressed her personal stories and engaged with them, she also found the writing process to be cathartic. Katie’s book, Grow with the Flow, navigates relevant topics, as well, and she and Lucinda talk book swapping before the episode wraps up with Lucinda’s advice to the young listener just starting a career in energy. This advice is twofold: stay, and speak up. By denying fear and persevering as an “only,” we can see the change that we need to see begin to take shape.