The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Industry Leaders #PressforProgress on International Women’s Day

Tracee Bentley

Tracee Bentley
Posted March 7, 2018

What if I told you that this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #PressforProgress, fits perfectly with the gains that women have made in the natural gas and oil industry? While it’s true that too often I am one of a few women in the room at industry events, that paradigm is shifting.

Here’s the good news: Nearly half of women employed in the industry work in management and professional jobs, a number that is expected to grow through 2035. The growing numbers of women in natural gas and oil are encouraging, but it’s not enough.

According to a recent API study, the industry must do more to raise awareness of industry opportunities for women and minorities, who are expected to fill nearly 40 percent of the 1.9 million natural gas and oil job opportunities through 2035. This isn’t just a feel-good sentiment, our industry’s ability to continue to grow and innovate depends on our ability to attract women and minorities to our ranks.

That’s why the Colorado Petroleum Council has piloted programs throughout Colorado and beyond to introduce young women – particularly women of color – to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Having a STEM degree nearly doubles the likelihood of working in the industry. A STEM career, particularly one in the natural gas and oil industry, offers financial security for women. The average yearly salary, excluding retail station jobs in our industry was $101,181 – nearly double the national average. Importantly, the gender wage gap in the natural gas and oil industry is smaller than the U.S. average, and it continues to shrink.

Getting to this place has required commitment from the industry, but more importantly, commitment from individuals within the industry, who are dedicated to personally paving a smooth path for women in natural gas and oil.

It’s no coincidence that tomorrow, on International Women’s Day, we also will celebrate many of these individuals. Many are finalists in PinkPetro’s GRIT awards, which recognize women that lead and also men who recognize the value of women and are advocates for their progress in energy. I am so honored to be a finalist for these awards along with so many who serve as advocates for women in our industry. I am especially proud that API President and CEO Jack Gerard also is a finalist, as he has been a tireless advocate for women in energy.

As a prelude to API’s “Women in Energy” event at IHS CERAWeek earlier this week, Jack said:

“The industry continues to focus on addressing current and future workforce challenges. From our research and through work in communities across the country, we must do more to build awareness about the vast opportunities, training, and education necessary to fill future energy jobs. Highlighting the growing number of successful women in the industry and defining the many pathways that lead to careers in the oil and natural gas industry will help us attract more women. Energy is a growing sector that is driven by innovation. That innovation and the future of our industry require that our workforce better reflect the diversity of our nation.”

It's not just the API team that was honored. Our member companies are leading on this issue, too. The full list is below and the finalists include several of our member companies’ employees and teams:

  • Aimee Lafluer, Process Evaluations Engineer, Shell 
  • Amy Bowe, Director, Upstream Consulting, Wood Mackenzie 
  • The Anadarko Stakeholder Relations Team 
  • The BP HR Resourcing Team
  • Dana Pasquali, Product Line Leader - Cyber Security, Baker Hughes, a GE Company
  • Dena Lund, Executive VP of engineering and operations, Sterling Energy
  • Elijio Serrano, Senior Vice President and CFO, TETRA Technologies, Inc
  • Elise Knudsen, Major Capital Project HES Advisor, Chevron
  • Erin Larner, Process Supervisor, Aera Energy
  • Erin Reuber, L48 Exploration Appraisal Manager, ConocoPhillips
  • Flor Dimassi, CEO, GlobalSpeak Translations
  • Jack Gerard, CEO, American Petroleum Institute
  • Jay Copan, Executive Director, World Gas Conference & Special Advisor to the President, International Gas Union, 
  • Jaime Glas, CEO, Hot Stuff Safety Wear
  • Jennifer Walsh, Head of Communications, Covestro, LLC
  • Jerri Babin, Vice President Sales Operational Strategy, NOV 
  • Julia Reinhart - Vice President of HR, Valero
  • Kaitlyn Bunker, Senior Associate/Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute 
  • Katherine Stokes, Executive Director, West Texas Energy Consortium
  • Lameka Ross, HR Advisor, Aera Energy
  • Linda Ibrahim, VP - International Tax, Vantage Energy
  • Lindsay Alaniz, Exploration Strategy and Portfolio Coordinator, ConocoPhillips
  • Lisa McAlister, Learning Advisor, Aera Energy 
  • Maria Angela Capello, Executive Advisor, Kuwait Oil Company
  • Marti Powers, External Relations Manager, Shell 
  • Marwa Abdelhamid Hassen, Technical Manager - HQ, Schlumberger 
  • Michelle Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer, SVP, Corporate Development & Investor Relations, DistributionNOW 
  • Mike Adams, Co-Founder, Norwell EDGE 
  • Monica Baistrocchi, Area HSE/PESQ Manager - Continental Europe, Halliburton
  • Monica Suman Krishnan, Technology and Deployment Manager, Chevron 
  • Myriam Gateault, Process Control Technology Engineer, Covestro LLC
  • Nooshin Yazhari, Managing Principal, Optimum
  • Paige Donnell, Founder and CEO, Paige PR
  • Patricia (Pat) Guillory, Chief Financial Officer, Gulf Copper Manufacturing Corp.
  • Sara Ortwein, President, XTO Energy Inc., an ExxonMobil subsidiary
  • Sarah Castro, Senior Associate Director, IPAA
  • Sharon Rich, Manager of Engineering, INTECSEA, a Worley Parsons company
  • Skyler Obregon, Regional Compliance Counsel for US and Canada, Weatherford
  • Souzi Weiland, Learning & Development Manager, Southwestern Energy Company
  • Suganthi Subramaniam, Malaysia IT Country Chair, Shell
  • Susan Morrice, Co-founder and Chairperson for Belize Natural Energy 
  • Sylvia Garcia, Consultant Services Manager, OPC USA LLC
  • Tameka Ramsey, Manager, Global Compliance & Ethics, ConocoPhillips
  • Tina Harmon-Carmona, Information Specialist, Aera Energy LLC
  • Tina Peters, Owner, Mallard, Inc.
  • Tracee Bentley, Executive Director, Colorado Petroleum Council 
  • Ugochi Akwiwu, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company
  • Vera Verdree, PhD, Sr. Global Competence Manager, Baker Hughes GE
  • Victoria Shterengarts, Head of Directorate, Gas Marketing and New Markets Business Development at Rosneft

Congratulations to all the nominees. Our work has just begun. We must continue to #PressforProgress in our industry and beyond. It’s not just commonsense; it makes good business sense, too.


Tracee Bentley was named executive director of the Colorado Petroleum Council in 2015. Before coming to API, Bentley served in the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper as legislative director and as a senior advisor on energy and agricultural issues. Prior to that, Bentley served in the Colorado Energy Office as deputy director of policy and legislative affairs. She also served as director of national affairs with the Colorado Farm Bureau. A Colorado native, Bentley earned her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Arts from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.