Josh Levs, journalist and fellow energy ally, sits down with Katie Mehnert, the Founder and CEO of ALLY powered by Pink Petro, to discuss the launch of The Voices of Energy podcast. What is it all about? Why now? And what kind of content should you expect?
00:00:50 - 00:01:14
Josh Levs: Hi this is Josh Levs here and I am honored to get to join with Katie on this first episode the introductory episode of the of the podcast and we are going to have me play the role in this one case of the person who gets to ask her what it's all about. So Hi, Katie.
Katie Mehnert: Hey Josh It's good to be here with you talking about things that I love.
00:01:14 - 00:02:26
Josh: People have been pushing for you to launch a podcast for literally several years, especially as pink petro and Ally have taken off and Ally has become this community for the energy industry, why now, why are you launching this cast, what's it all about?
Katie: Well, you know, we started almost six years ago in this space in the digital space there was a gap to be filled when it comes to really two things. I tell people the new economy is about two things. It's about content and it's about relationships. We felt like it was necessary to launch this to give folks ability to listen in to some of our greatest content. So as you can imagine, five years of interviewing some amazing people in energy. But also to give people a new way to to listen in, not just to listen in, but to take action. So our podcast is going to be about listening in, but also giving people the ability to think about how to take that information and go make change happen.
00:02:26 - 00:03:20
Josh: Yeah, you know, ever since I've been doing some work with you. Ever since I have the honor of doing a keynote for a pink petro conference several years ago and I've always found that there's tremendous excitement and passion and curiosity around this whole operation. And I also found from the beginning that people really do feel that they want this to be a community. You know, I always tell people, yes, sure, it's Katie's thing as people, you know, sometimes referred to as Katie's project, but it's yours too We live in this era now in which the most successful operations provide a platform. So as we listen to the content here that you'll be having this podcast, what is it that you want listeners to go do it up again action step, but they can also go to the Ally platform and weigh in and share their thoughts, right, stuff like that.
00:03:20 - 00:04:38
Katie: No, absolutely. You know, I think one of the the visions and as you know this vision was not... I didn't set out to start a business to make money, I set out to create change. And so it's kind of funny because people ask, have asked me for for the last several years, like who are you, what do you do, how do you make money, you're a nonprofit right. You know, when you set out to make change happen. It's a journey, it's a collection of conversations and community. It's not a product. It's not a service, right. It's a journey. And so, I've had to kind of explain myself for the last five, six years, you know, no we're not a women's group, you know, we're not against men. Right. I mean, we've had to meet numerous challenges and you know the reason we we shifted our name to Ally in fact was because we felt like we wanted to represent a community of where everyone could feel included. Energy Consumers, Energy Producers, people in energy, people who are interested, right in the energy industry. And so that's what we've created we've created this community of great content and great relationships to help people navigate us through the energy transition
00:04:38 - 00:05:25
Josh: Yeah, and part of what's interesting here is that it's not in a vacuum. I mean, your content and the guests. You already have lined up. And what you're going to be playing here has specific resonance right now. You know, if you look at the time that that this podcast is launching, look at what's going on in the United States, looking at what's going on in the world. The energy transition has become a much bigger and more complex idea and just just in 2020 alone. So, I know that part of what you want and you could talk about this... part of what you want here is more people to weigh in with ideas and solutions and explain what they want to hear right in the podcast, so that we all can approach this together to talk about that, about the timeliness of all this.
00:05:25 - 00:07:21
Katie: Yeah, well, the timeliness is as relevant because we were talking about this six years ago and six years ago when the oil and gas industry was in its first major decline since the 1980s, I was the first to say we need to double down on people and talent. We need to double down on our messaging, we need to double down on what everybody now knows as ESG, you know, environment, sustainability and governance. And ESG was was a term nobody understood, then the energy transition, the words, climate change, we're not necessarily acceptable words, they are now. And so the reason why the timeliness is important, is we've been talking about this for six years, and we're talking about it, probably for another five, six years. The world runs on energy. Energy is the currency of life. And if we want a different economy. So let's face it, the economy right now... Capitalism, Socialism, you hear all these different terms being thrown out there every single business every single industry is in some form of disarray or disruption. The pandemic has has added, you know, a layer of complexity that. But, what the voices of energy is going to do, is bring that relevant content to the surface those great conversation. We're going to talk about technology and innovation, but we're also going to talk about a key component to this and that is the workforce. The workforce is what's going to drive us into this new era of energy not AI. We can't tech right our way out of this. And policy is obviously going to play a role as well. So we're going to talk about tech. We're going to talk about innovation. We're going to definitely have a huge focus on workforce. And we'll talk about policy as a part of this, so it's great to be able to see that everybody else is socializing. The very things that we were talking about and visualizing, you know, five, six years ago when we, when we got started.
00:07:21 - 00:08:22
Josh: Yet because you know what you talk about often. And what you've written about in so many places from Newsweek to Harvard Business Review to the Scientific American and World Economic Forum, you keep showing the world that look for all that's happening in energy, there's, you know, the energy transition in terms of sources of energy and the move to renewables and and yes, there's the updating technology. But the most important resource is the people. And what ties all of this together is that the more inclusion and diversity and equity that you have in energy. It's like what you said when you testified in Congress, the more great ideas there will be, the more different people with different backgrounds, the more innovations and solutions to bring climate, the efforts to fruition. And to leave this change. So as people listening to this podcast and weigh in, what do you want them to know about where things stand in energy with the efforts to achieve all the DEI efforts?
00:08:22 - 00:09:56
Katie: Yeah, no, you know, it's such a great question. Josh, I think that we're living in a pivotal time. There's a lot of shift as I talked about. And because energy underpins all of it, it needs that reinvention. And, the way we're going to get to those goals, is by socializing, by listening and learning from each other, by advocating for new ideas, by advocating for new solutions by giving everyone right the opportunity and a seat at the table. The whole tenant of ally and the voices right and the energy is we can't move forward until we really start to listen and learn about what energy provides and provide that as a way to engage with new faces and new voices. The energy industry has largely been built was largely built by what I call energy one energy 1.0 was built by the wildcatters of Texas, and they were entrepreneurs risk their lives right to create this amazing technology called carbon, you know, carbon dioxide, though, is harming us too much of a good thing is, is a problem and we recognize that as an industry. So this podcast really seeks to bring those different perspectives. There's different voices to the forefront as we, you know, aim to achieve these big goals around diversity and inclusion. So a diverse and inclusive workforce that's going to drive this newer cleaner future of energy.
00:09:56 - 00:10:40
Josh: Yeah, now two quick things I want to touch on and the first one is about jobs, because Ally is a fantastic platform to go to to find jobs and the next step in your career within energy. But, it's also for people who want to join the energy field and what people will be hearing in this podcast also provides that kind of advice for people out there who are looking at jobs, looking for jobs or people who have not previously thought the energy field might be for them. I think what they're going to hear here, and correct me if I'm wrong, but based on a lot of the conversations we've had an events and webinars you've done, what they'll here is that energy really is a place for you, even if you haven't worked in this field before, right.
00:10:40 - 00:11:55
Katie: Now, absolutely. While the pandemic may mask what's currently happening today obviously our economy is in distress and we are all in a living a new normal that we're all getting adjusted to, at some point demand will pick up. And, because this industry stopped hiring for almost two decades and because it's an industry that doesn't tend to be as consumer facing - that is changing and you will hear that from the many guests that we talked with - we need to do a lot of work to attract new blood into the energy industry and we're excited about that. Ally is working with the oil and gas industry. We're working with power and utilities. We're working with geothermal, we're working with renewables nuclear. We're really excited about being able to bring together that energy workforce of the future to bring those jobs to our platform to bring, like I said, the content to the platform and to bring key relationships. Like I said, content and relationships equals community. And that's what Ally is about. And that's what this podcast voices of energy is about is another way to get those voices out there talking about the key challenges of today and that new future and energy.
00:11:55 - 00:12:45
Josh: Yeah, I think, just one more thing that I would want to point out and give you a chance to talk about is how inspirational these voices are. Everyone can use some inspiration. One thing you always talk to people about and I have as well, and I've had the chance to host your events, is how they overcame obstacles to achieve what they have achieved. And some people who have faced really profound challenges in their lives. How they managed to get through those tough times, just like you and how they summon the, to use a big word for you, grit that they needed to achieve that. I think anybody even from a totally different feel even if you're not looking to enter energy. I think what you'll find here is a continuous set of inspirational voices that offer you guidance and Katie I believe that's another part of what you want to provide a cast. Right?
00:12:45 - 00:14:01
Katie: No, absolutely. The people that we bring forward are just people with great ideas there. People with what I call the behavioral traits of being part of this great industry. The industry is boom bust. The industry is cyclical, like other industries, but you know, you used the word grit. So grit, for me, is about growth, resilience, innovation and transition. And if you're not consistently growing staying resilient applying innovation and reinventing yourself or yourself, you're not moving, you know, moving forward. And so it's a huge component of of the kinds of voices that you'll hear from the people who we will interview and the folks that we've talked to are really the people who are completely committed right to being a part of this new future for energy. You know Josh, change is so hard, and it's really easy I think to give up. But we have a saying here at Ally and that is "never give up, grid up". So I'm excited that will be able to bring it those gritty individuals and companies forward and give them a voice to provide the much needed context and conversation around the energy transition.
00:14:01 - 00:15:07
Josh: I'm excited for this too. And as you all listen and peace, your way through this podcast and the awesome voices that you're going to be hearing. Even while you listen, go on over to the website Ally by Pink Petro.com and you'll see how to sign up and you'll see all the benefits of registering and you'll be plugging yourself into a one of a kind community filled with people who want to build careers and want to hire and write the energy transition. So, we both encourage you to do that, while you listen to these conversations and talks and webinars and all the other great material coming your way in The Voices of Energy.
Katie: Yeah. So as we look ahead, you know, I'm really excited about this and we're excited to be that community. We're excited to continue to provide that great content this great relationships and we look forward to what we're creating here. So, thanks Josh for joining me today. And thanks so much for being a big supporter of our work and you know let's see where this goes. The voices of energy will be, I think, a great, a great piece to add to the things that we're already doing it ally.