In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, LAGCOE is highlighting women who have been instrumental supporters of our organization.
Meet Shawn Guidry!
How long have you been working for the energy industry?
I started in 2003 with Talen’s Marine and Fuel, Sales and Business Development, I started in the field calling on land rigs, barge rigs, and docks. I then moved into corporate sales in Lafayette and New Orleans then eventually moving into the Houston market.
In what ways has the energy industry had a positive impact on your life and career? Are you happy that you chose this industry?
The oil and gas industry is an industry that has provided for my family and many friends. My mother retired from Baker Hughes after 38 years, my father worked directly and indirectly his adult life in this industry and my husband most recently retired after 24 years in the oil and gas industry. You can get a sales career in virtually any field of interest, because everyone needs sales reps to increase revenue, however I was lucky to get a sales job in the oil and gas industry. An industry that I have grown to believe in and care about. It has provided a well-paid career to help support me and my family. It gave me flexibility when my son was young. For those who do not know about crew changes, that was part of my job during the early years. During a crew change it would give you the opportunity to call on the company men/supervisors coming off of the rig or going on the rig at the dock. All of the docks were about a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive from my home. In order to see everyone you had to be at the dock/heliport before 5 am, that meant leaving my house at 2 am, the bright side my day was over at noon. It allowed me the opportunity to pick my son up from school and spend time with him. I am very happy I ended up in the oil and gas industry, every day was a different day so my job was never boring. One day I would be on a land rig the next day in Port Fourchon or downtown Houston making sales calls. Over the years I have met so many hard working, intelligent, genuine people that I am blessed to be part of this amazing industry. I look forward to every day I get to work..
What would you say to young girls today who are considering pursuing a STEM-centric career?
I would tell her to pursue her passion, interest, and focus on her strengths. Young girls should know that by pursuing a STEM career, they are helping their communities and the world. Nearly every aspect of society relies on some STEM research or invention. If she has an interest or excels in a STEM courses that is great, however school classes are not really a good indicator of what STEM opportunities are available. I would encourage her to find summer camps, after-school clubs, organizations to be a part of, find a mentor, or schedule a tour or job-shadow of a local business of interest. Read, watch videos, or listen to podcast on subjects of interest. Help her find a role model! Role models can provide young girls with inspiration and motivation to pursue their dreams. At the end of the day, all careers rely on diligence, cleverness and hard work, these are skills, not gender based traits.
Did you ever feel like you were at a disadvantage as a woman in a male-dominated industry? How did you overcome that?
There have been times when I was treated unkindly and not given a fair chance, however I would prefer not to focus on the negative. I feel at that time early in my career we were all learning in this industry about diversity and we did the best we could. Networking helped me tremendously. Their were many seasoned oil & gas professionals that took me under their wing to help me and give me opportunities. They introduced me to people and they helped teach me the technical and non-technical ropes of the industry. But I would say the most important way to overcome is to gain knowledge, that is the only way to become great at your job and for all people to take you seriously. “There is no wealth like knowledge, and no poverty like ignorance.” Ali ibn Abi Talib
How are you helping pave the way for other fellow women in the energy industry?
Because there were not many women oilfield sale reps when I started, I had to navigate the industry on my own, I would have been grateful for a woman to mentor me or guide me in the industry. So if asked I would welcome the opportunity to be a mentor, I would share my experiences and support. I may not be able to share STEM knowledge, because I did not graduate in a STEM curriculum, I studied art and business. However, I can reach out to my network and find someone who can assist in that department.