October 3, 2013Her job: Common Process Team Leader for the BP Global Wells Organization (GWO) – Western Hemisphere
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
In my current role, I validate the well designs that are part of the Major Project Common Process (MPCP) to confirm that they conform to BP’s Engineering Technical Practices and comply with industry requirements. I am fortunate to have worked in sand control on BP’s Amherstia project in Trinidad as well as in intelligent well system designs in the Canadian Arctic.
Why did you choose engineering?
I chose to pursue a degree in petroleum engineering because I saw the strength and potential of the industry in Trinidad and Tobago. I wanted a career that would really challenge me and take me places, and I knew oil and gas would do just that.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I attended the University of Alberta in Canada, where I received a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering. I later attended Athabasca University, where I received a Master of Business Administration in Project Management.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
I have worked on the Poui oil field and Amherstia gas field in offshore Trinidad and Tobago. I have worked on Project 20K and on the Kaskida field in the Gulf of Mexico prior to my current role as the Western Hemisphere Common Process Team Leader. I really enjoyed the time I spent working on the 20K Project. This project included immense challenges associated with the deployment of completions designs in extreme high temperature and pressure environments.
What do you like best about being an engineer?
I really enjoy working on major projects and in the realm of frontier development. Seeing projects and fields that require cutting edge technology that doesn’t yet exist is exciting and keeps me coming back every day. For example, the BP 20KProject offers the opportunity for developing a catalogue of drilling and completions equipment for extreme temperatures and pressures.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
I’ve had many amazing moments at BP, it’s hard to choose just one! I was among just five people from the Major Projects and Operated By Others (OBO) Group to be chosen to attend the Global Projects Organization’s (GPO) conference in Orlando, Florida. There, we had the opportunity to interact with the senior most global leaders in real time, providing feedback on the organization’s goals, objectives, and priorities. It was amazing to feel that I and the others played an integral role in defining these goals; you could tell the company and organization really valued our opinions and perspectives. In a word, the experience was outstanding.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
A challenge for me when I first started at BP was understanding the organizational structure and finding my personal identity within the group. I think this is a common issue for anyone beginning a new job, particularly in a large company. Rather than sitting back, I took ownership and responsibility for the problem and took it upon myself to meet people, interact, research, and ask questions. I found that everyone was willing to help me, answer questions, and go out of their way to make me feel comfortable.
Please tell us a little about your family.
I am the eldest in my family and have three younger brothers. I have the honour and support of my mother, who resides with me in Houston. I also have an adorable nephew named Spencer.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
Above all else, I want to be a role model for women in engineering. I want our young female engineers to know that although the view might be that the oil and gas industry is male dominated; there is a place for you. My advice is to work hard and set your goals high, and success will come.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
My mother inspired me to pursue higher education. In the 80’s in Trinidad and Tobago, it was practically unheard of for a woman to go to university, and certainly no woman would pursue a degree in oil and gas. But I knew it was the way I could get off the small island and get into a great career, filled with opportunities.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
My advice to young female engineers is that your goals are achievable! All you have to do is stay focused, have a plan, and take the advice from your mentors to heart. When you think your dreams are too big to come true, remember the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
My hobbies include cooking, cross-stitching and lately one of my colleagues has convinced me to take up sewing. I am very passionate about travel and meeting people. I’ve been to many countries for work and pleasure.