Melody Meyer, Non-Executive Director, BP
How did you come to be in the energy industry?
I was born in an oil camp in North Dakota and my father was a Petroleum Engineer, so I was literally raised learning about the industry. I attended my first OTC when I was 13 years old. As an engineering graduate from Trinity University, in Texas, it was only natural that I was recruited into the energy industry. There were very few women engineering graduates in 1979, and even fewer in energy, so it was extremely beneficial to know what I was getting into, particularly as I started working on West Africa projects very early in my career.
What do you believe is the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
Our industry needs to attract and retain the best and brightest talent that can continue to innovate through the inevitable cycles that we will continue to experience. We’re an industry that requires deep technical expertise and global leadership skills, combined with the capability to quickly adopt new technology trends and new approaches to drive a new energy future. Finding and retaining global leaders with both of these mindsets is a challenge.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global energy markets and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
One of the greatest opportunities is to drive a lower carbon energy mix future in which natural gas production growth and increased power from natural gas will play a larger role in meeting energy growth. I also believe the industry must continue to drive technology innovation and game changing efficiencies such as the application of blockchain solutions in our industry.
If you could wave a magic wand over our industry, what would you change and why?
There is a tremendous value enhancing opportunity in this industry if 50% of the workforce, C-suite and board representation was female and diverse leaders. If I could wave a magic wand, I would eliminate the bias to significantly improve diversity of CEOs, C-suite line managers, and Boards in the energy industry. I have been an advocate to help women leaders in our industry, and I share a concern with the latest update of the McKinsey and Lean In study on women that advancement of women appears to have stalled.
How would you describe your company in one sentence to a new client/partner/investor?
I retired from Chevron in 2016 after a distinguished 37 year career, serving as President of Chevron Asia Pacific E&P over my last five years. As I moved into “phase 2” of my career, I joined three public boards as a non-executive director, for BP, AbbVie, and NOV. I continue to serve on the board of Trustees for Trinity University and the National Bureau of Asian Research Board. I formed two companies, Melody Meyer Energy LLC and serving as an executive Advisor to Cairn India and created Women With Energy LLC to continue to speak, mentor and advocate for the advancement of “women with energy”.
What takeaways would you like attendees at our Asia Pacific Assembly to go home with regarding Asia Pacific and further afield?
The most important take-away for Asia Pacific energy producers, host governments, partners and contractors is that scarce new capital will be invested in the best opportunities globally. When some governments are taking actions to improve the investment climate by improving tax rates and reducing regulations, these will further increase the global competitiveness for capital investment in energy. Similarly, as prices slowly equalize, it is essential that the industry preserves the current low cost and efficient mindset in order to enable investment in new growth.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
My strongest leadership attribute throughout my career has been to create advantage from change. Throughout my career in the industry, I had leadership roles during 3 new start up countries, 3 major mergers, some of the largest project investments in the company, the devastating hurricane events in 2005 in the Gulf of Mexico (Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Wilma), and 5 major price cycles. During these significant changes, I focused on driving value and sustainable improvement well beyond what we were capable of achieving before the event. I look at companies today to see what they have done during this price cycle to substantially re-position their company to deliver superior results as prices emerge.
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
Unfortunately, I never had a formal mentor and received minimal feedback during my career. I realized much later in my career there were key leaders who recognized my performance and made sure I was offered early opportunities to take leadership roles. I learned from leaders that I admired, One in particular that taught me the tremendous value of empowering people and respecting every persons’ contribution. During crisis management events and at retirement, the greatest compliments I received was that I had high EQ qualities in my leadership.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in the energy industry?
Frist, our industry is essential for enhancing quality of life and for global economic growth. Secondly, employees in the energy industry are empowered early and throughout their careers to take large responsibility and accountability to deliver performance. Energy careers are rewarding, global, high tech, and innovative. We need the best and brightest talent with strong values to provide responsible and affordable energy.
All-time favourite book?
Most recent favorite book is Peers Inc by Robin Chase. I first heard her speak and couldn’t wait to read the book. It is the most insightful and inspiring book that I’ve read in many years.
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
My husband, matches, and a charged satellite phone.