feature

celebrating international women's day
at chevron

our inspiring employees share their stories

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s. It’s a day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. 

At Chevron, we believe that an inclusive culture strengthens business performance, drives innovation, increases employee engagement and leads us to greater success.

In honor of this day, March 8, we interviewed a few of the incredible women we work with every day. They shared, in their own words, their experiences on how they have persevered to become leaders in the workplace.

Meet our employees and scroll below to read their stories.

Eimear Bonner


Eimear Bonner
General Manager of Operations, Tengizchevroil LLC

Barbara Burger


Barbara Burger
President, Chevron Technology Ventures

Zamira Kanapyanova


Zamira Kanapyanova
Policy, Government & Public Affairs Manager, Europe, Eurasia & Middle East

Greta Lydecker


Greta Lydecker
Managing Director, Chevron Upstream Europe

Stacey Olson


Stacey Olson
Vice President, Chevron Appalachian Mountain

Ihouma Onyearugha


Ihuoma Onyearugha
Human Resources and Medical Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited

Wulan Sary


Wulan Sary
Team Lead, Rig Hub 1 (Drilling & Completions), Chevron Pacific Indonesia

Linda Van der Bol


Linda Van der Bol
Senior Petroleum Engineer, Chevron Thailand Limited

Duantem Voradejviseskrai


Duantem Voradejviseskrai
Drilling Engineering Manager, Chevron Thailand Limited

Pat Yarrington


Pat Yarrington
Vice President
and Chief Financial Officer

stories

Click the tabs below to read their stories.

Eimear Bonner
General Manager of Operations, Tengizchevroil LLC

Chevron has given me diverse opportunities to learn and grow as both an engineer and a leader. The company has often challenged me with roles I thought I could never do and provided me with supporting leaders and mentors who have helped, and continue to help, me along the way. This has taught me that diversity and inclusion are critical to developing the talented, high-performing workforce needed for ongoing business success. All business leaders should be accountable for developing their people. By having male leaders mentor women and vice versa, you actively promote the sharing of experiences and capture diverse learnings. These different perspectives lead to greater inclusiveness.

I’ve been the only woman on the team for most of my career and assignments, so it is something I’ve become used to. There have been times where this has presented challenges – which can make you feel lonely and uncomfortable. But all experiences provide opportunities to learn more about yourself, which is positive and hugely rewarding. I’ve learned that professionalism, grace and good humor go a long way to building rapport, improving collaboration and delivering strong results, as one team.

Eimear Bonner

At the current time our industry is male-dominated, but things are starting to change. And attitudes along with it. Here at Tengizchevroil (TCO), our leadership team now has three women, including myself, which is great. I am a firm believer that a greater level of diversity, whether it be gender, background or discipline, helps bring different people and perspectives to the table – but by focusing on inclusiveness, I’ve learned to create opportunities to harness these differences and capture the diverse strengths to achieve better performance and results.

Barbara Burger
President, Chevron Technology Ventures

I have become more aware of International Women’s Day in the last several years with Chevron and have spoken on panels, read some of the history and thought about women’s progress and what more needs to be done. I like having a day to celebrate – and hope that we do a bit of that celebration the other 364 days.

Women earned the right to vote in New York State (where I grew up) in 1917 – one hundred years ago last year. Women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton – also from upstate New York – played key roles in this. It was 1920 that women got the right to vote across the U.S. – the year my grandmother turned 18. I think about how that might have felt for her.

I spend time each year doing foundation work in emerging nations focused mainly on women’s rights and education. I see tremendous leaders working to make progress in their village and country and I also still see too many young girls being denied education and not treated as an equal. We still have much work to do.

I was one of few women working internationally early in my career. Male colleagues didn’t believe I could or should travel alone, take business meetings with partners, and a laundry list of other things. It was frustrating and likely I didn’t handle it well. I even once had a manager tell me “Well, we don’t want you to embarrass Chevron.” That hurt – I can laugh at it now but didn’t at that point. I believed I had enough aptitude to know how to judge a situation appropriately.

It has gotten better. Part of that is there are more women (both here in the United States and internationally), business has “cleaned up,” there is more sensitivity from everyone on inclusivity and I have gained enough credibility, maturity, confidence and savviness that I can do my work without feeling like the minority every minute (even if I still am the only woman in a meeting).

The lesson I learned was that I couldn’t control what was said to me or how I was treated but I could work on how I reacted and ultimately on how it made me feel. Humor plays a big role in that. This issue, however, is likely the most common question I get from younger women – how do you handle the situation when you feel like you have been treated differently because you are a woman – condescended, insulted or patronized. We spend a lot of time working on how to change the reaction.

While I have never had an official mentor that was a woman, I have always had a network of women inside and outside of Chevron that I could discuss issues and ideas with. This network has women ahead of me, peers and others coming behind me in their career – there is something to learn from all of them.

My support group starts within my family and friends – I have three sisters and one female cousin that were a key part of my network when I was growing up and still are. In addition, I had a grandmother that went to university (bachelors and masters) in the 1920s and have an aunt that went to medical school in the 1950s. I have always had a circle of women – corporate and non-corporate – to gain support from, explore the world with, share joy and sorrow, and grow old together.

Zamira Kanapyanova
Policy, Government & Public Affairs Manager, Chevron Europe, Eurasia & Middle East

International Women’s Day has always been a big celebration in my home country of Kazakhstan. The holiday is a big part of our culture and provides an opportunity to highlight the various achievements of women. In my family, this day offers an additional celebration as it’s my husband’s birthday...so I share this special day with him.

For many, when the working day ends you come home and start your “second shift,” responsible for supporting your family or friends. When I was younger, I could survive on very little sleep whilst juggling the responsibilities of being a full-time employee, wife and mother to my two children. I now realize that such an approach is not healthy or sustainable, and often the right balance comes when you stop trying to be a perfectionist. I’ve learned to plan for the important things and let go of perfectionism. I have also been very fortunate to have both male and female supervisors in Chevron who have been extremely supportive in helping me achieve the right work-life balance.

Zamira Kanapyanova

There have been a lot of discussions recently to help ensure women can fully achieve their career aspirations, including at executive levels. It is important for women to have equal opportunities for career development and at the same time strive to be equally competent and competitive. I believe that many women in our industry have the potential to be high achievers, with greater responsibility, if given the chance. It's also key that women get proper support at home, where the partner or spouse, and children if they have them, understand the aspirations and work together to share roles and responsibilities. I am blessed that both our daughter and son have grown up appreciating and respecting that. I will be teaching my grandson to do the same.

Chevron has many successful female leaders in both technical and non-technical spheres, and the corporate board has very impressive female members. I am very proud of my female colleagues throughout the Company, who are role models that are paving the way and inspiring the next generation of talent.

My advice to female colleagues:

  • Trust your talents and abilities and take yourself and your aspirations seriously.
  • Reach out to female colleagues and find a mentor. If you are struggling with certain issues, chances are someone else has struggled with them as well.
  • Try to find what works for you in terms of  a good work-life balance and share your advice with others.

Greta Lydecker
Managing Director, Chevron Upstream Europe

International Women’s Day is a great focal point to share actions being taken around the world to help women succeed and call out the positive contributions by women. There are many strong and influential women who can be, and are, great role models.

I have been fortunate to work for a company that values development and is willing to move people into assignments outside their core function. As a degreed earth scientist I have had assignments in Operations, Finance, Planning, Natural Gas Marketing and even Exploration and Asset Development. Along the way I have had fantastic supervisors who have provided useful coaching and feedback to help me grow my capabilities and believed in me. By nature, I am quite shy and introverted. Years ago, I took some job postings that seemed interesting to review with my supervisor. He told me I would not be successful in these jobs if I didn’t adapt my style to be able to engage more readily with people and quickly connect with them, whether it would be in front of 1 or 1,000. He gave me the help to do just that.

Greta Lydecker

Ever since I started at Chevron in 1982, there have been many women colleagues in the office  other petrotechs mostly and some in management. There are times when I am the only woman, but those are mostly in unique situations, such as visiting a drilling rig or offshore operation. This is something I have experienced since I started. I would say it is more of a challenge now than it was as an individual contributor. When I went out to a drilling rig as the well site geologist, everyone knew I was there to do a job and it was all quite predictable. Now when I go out as a managing director, it seems to take a little longer to develop that rapport and get to know people as they are not quite sure what to expect from me. I have learned that I need to help people feel more comfortable with me in my role.

The most important thing for a woman (or man) to remember is that you have a job to do. Be prepared to do your best, be confident in your abilities, and recognize that everyone has biases. Your performance will counteract those biases and you will earn people’s respect.

The industry, particularly Chevron, is an exciting place to have a career. If you like challenge and working with a variety of brilliant people all aligned around common values, then Chevron is a good place to be. Bringing your perspective as a woman is important, but bringing consistent high performance to the job is even more so. Take time to develop work relationships, offer your insights to others and ask others for feedback on your own performance and communication style.

stacey

Stacey Olson
Vice President, Chevron Appalachian Mountain

My first job was as a drilling representative, working offshore on a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In those days, my position was known as the “company man.” But in most cases, I was the only woman on the rig out of about 75 men. Initially, I thought the only thing I had in common with them is the fact that most of us were from Louisiana. As I got to know them and learn about their families, I realized we had a lot in common. That was one of my hardest jobs. I had a lot of responsibility, especially for someone right out of college. But I had a lot of support. The men wanted to see me succeed, and I’ve found that to be true my entire career.

I will say that I do think women in the oil industry tend to be viewed through a different lens. I think back to a time early in my career where I had to deliver some strong feedback to one of our contractors. I remember that for years afterwards, people would still talk about this confrontation and how I handled it. People would say, “Oh you’re the person that ‘ran off’ the contractor...you must be tough.” But actually this was a pretty standard thing to do in the business – anyone would have done it. But I stood out to some people. I think I sort of bucked a stereotype that women are not strong and can’t handle difficult situations.

Stacey Olson

I am optimistic about the next generation of female leaders. I have two daughters who are in university right now – pursuing STEM fields, I’ll add – and I must say, I am excited about their future. I don’t think they grew up with some of the stereotypes of older generations.

For these future leaders, I think confidence is extremely important. I think young girls tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to be “perfect.” And when they’re not “perfect” they tend to get discouraged and drop out of the STEM fields. I think mentors and role models help young girls build this confidence.

I also think the energy industry is sometimes perceived as a place that is not welcoming to women. But I know in my career this has certainly not been the case, and I know many other women in this industry who feel the same.

Finally, I say to younger women: Don’t view yourself as being any different than anyone else in your company just because you’re a woman. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to show up to work every day with one thought: I have a job to do. What do I need to do to get that job done? I’m just like anyone else here with a job to do.

I do think that for any leader, in any generation, work-life balance will be a challenge. As you take on more responsibility, there will naturally be more demands on your time, and you’ll need to find ways to integrate your career with your personal relationships, responsibilities, and goals. For me, I get strength and support from my family, and I have a partner who supports me. They really help me keep the balance.

Ihuoma Onyearugha
Human Resources and Medical Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited

International Women’s Day highlights how far women have come in their desire and struggle for gender equality. I am excited that the giant strides women have made over the years are being celebrated. I believe this will motivate upcoming women leaders.

As a member of the executive leadership team at Chevron Nigeria Limited, I am regularly in meetings where I am the only woman or in the minority – however, because of Chevron’s inclusive culture, I have never had a negative experience. I have never felt either favored or discriminated against because of my gender. All that matters is the value I bring to the table – this is my greatest learning. I am thankful to be in such a supportive environment.

Ihourma Onyearugha

It is important that companies build a culture that is devoid of discrimination and focuses on performance and not on the special circumstances of people. As they build such a culture, companies should set goals on diversity, develop and track metrics that ensure no vulnerable group is left behind and all potentials are tapped. Companies should provide support for women of child-bearing age, ensure gender is not part of discussions on selections, performance assessment and promotions.

I’d advise upcoming female professionals to:

  • Identify a path you are passionate about, seek out organizations that will help actualize your dreams, build skills/competencies early in your careers and continue to hone your skills throughout your careers.
  • Do not expect to get preferential treatment because you are a woman, instead you might need to work harder than male counterparts to gain credibility and respect.
  • Develop emotional intelligence early in your career and manage praise and achievements with grace.
  • Work toward being the ‘go to’ person and the one that comes to leaders’ minds when opportunities for career growth arise because you continue to deliver results the right way.
  • Mentor other women that exhibit potential for greater things and are perhaps struggling with confidence.

Wulan Sary 
Team Lead for Rig Hub 1 (Drilling & Completions), Chevron Pacific Indonesia

I think it’s great to have International Women’s Day to celebrate women’s achievements. Recognition is one of the important factors to keep men and women moving forward, striving to do their best, and working to create a better world.

Companies should offer the same opportunities for their workforce, regardless of gender. This includes open job applications, training opportunities and exposure to career development. In my opinion, being heard and recognized for their contributions is the basis for a great work environment for women. I also believe companies should have policies to support women during pregnancy and the months after. This would allow female employees to continue making contributions to the workplace while recognizing the natural role of motherhood.

Wulan Sary and coworkers

I think Chevron does an amazing job in supporting women and diversity. Since my first day, I found that everyone embraces the value of diversity, in that women are treated the same as their male colleagues. In Drilling & Completions, most of the workforce are men and I sometimes find I’m the only woman in meetings. I still feel welcome. In my recent assignment as a team lead on Rig Hub 1, I conducted field visits every Wednesday, and most of the time, I was the only woman in the crowd. I would voice my expectations to the team clearly, listen to their daily work concerns, and take action accordingly. I’m appreciative of the environment and the interaction that Chevron’s values build.

As a working mother, I’m very lucky to have a solid support system and a supportive husband. As women, we should be able to find our own work-life balance. We should know our limits, and be brave enough to ask for help when we need it.

My advice to young women is do what you love and if you can’t, love what you do. Women should believe that we have an equal chance in this fast-moving world. Be kind, keep learning and always give your best effort in whatever you do!

Linda Van der Bol
Senior Petroleum Engineer, Chevron Thailand Limited

I feel fortunate that in my 10-year career at Chevron, I have not had a bad experience that I can trace back to my gender. Over the past year, so many celebrities have opened up about their experiences with sexual harassment, and I have also heard similar stories from women close to me. I have been really shocked by these stories, and I now realize how lucky I have been in my own career. I haven't spent much time reflecting on International Women’s Day in the past, but today I support the idea of having a day to recognize women’s achievements, because it doesn’t happen often enough in our day-to-day lives.

I think that one of the most important things that companies can do to promote gender equality is to enable the conversation about gender diversity, equal treatment and inclusion. I am working with a group of women and men in Chevron Thailand to facilitate the Men Advocating Real Change program. I really believe that we have found a more effective way to try to start closing the gap; by engaging men in the discussion and get them to advocate for gender equality. This doesn’t just mean that we aim to get women what men already have (e.g., higher salaries, more opportunities to move up the career ladder), but also to get men what women are more likely to have (e.g., part-time work, parental leave). In the end that would benefit all of us.

Linda Van der Bol

Working in a male-dominated industry, I have been in many situations where I was one of the few, or even the only woman in the room. Mostly this was during technical meetings, where after some time I would look around to observe the room and the attendees, and all of a sudden I would realize (and be a little surprised) I was the only woman, and often by far the youngest person in the room as well. The fact that this was often a realization in hindsight, and not triggered by unequal treatment, is I think an indicator for what is important about equal treatment. My philosophy is to always ensure you know what you are talking about, to focus on the job or issue at hand and to be genuine, to be yourself. If we all focus on that, then gender, age, nationality and other diversity traits are less likely to influence our own behavior or treatment by others.

Duantem (Moon) Voradejviseskrai
Drilling Engineering Manager, Chevron Thailand Limited

When I think about International Women’s Day, I think about a day to promote gender diversity and inclusion. Industry-wide and at Chevron, I think we have made good progress in gender equality but we still have more work to do. International Women’s Day allows people around the world to connect, recognize the importance of gender inclusiveness, and celebrate the achievements women have made in society, in their companies and in the industry.

Early in my career, 20 years ago, I was a drill site manager (DSM) on a rig in the Gulf of Thailand – the one female on the rig. Not only was I a female DSM, but I also probably had the least experience of anyone on the rig. I did feel quite challenged to convince the senior rig leadership team to listen to my instructions or respect my decisions. However, I demonstrated my strong will to do my best and learned how to make an effective decision. Not so long after, I gained the respect of those senior rig crews.

Through this process, I learned you need to build your technical skills as quickly as you can, but more importantly, you need to build relationships with everyone. It was easier to work as a team, and it all started from the fact that I needed to show that I wanted to be a team player. It does not matter if you are a man or a woman.

Duantem Voradejviseskrai

Ever since I had children, I find myself working more efficiently or smarter in everything I do. I always try to finish urgent work or necessary tasks in the office and spend time with my children when I get home or during the weekend. Being in the drilling organization, however, means occasionally taking calls from home cannot be avoided. For those kinds of moments, I do have support from my family, both from my husband and our parents.

There will be a time that you will be pulled in several directions – technical issues, personal issues, work or your family needs. My advice is for you to be patient and get through it without putting yourself in a stressful situation. If you need help, ask for it, don’t try to solve problems alone. Get support as needed. Again, work smarter, don’t waste your time doing tasks that will not change outcomes or decisions.

Pat Yarrington
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thoughts on International Women's Day 
It’s encouraging to see time set aside, once a year, to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women. I say this for two reasons. First, we make up half the world’s population and certainly do our share to enable human progress – whether that’s through family care and commitments, in the workplace, or in our communities at large. I believe we bring unique and different perspectives to the challenges we take on and that our perspectives matter. International Women’s Day is one way for us to come together in support for one another. There’s a kinship among women – this day celebrates that.

Secondly, in many places around the globe, women still face barriers in securing an education, finding employment appropriate to their skill levels and capabilities, and participating in the political process. The more we heighten awareness around these challenges, the sooner they’ll be broken down. International Women’s Day both directly, and indirectly, supports that objective.

Support in the workplace
It’s an absolute competitive imperative for business to support women. Intelligence, skills, capabilities, leadership, drive, and all the other attributes that business needs to succeed...were not just handed to men. We were graced with our fair share of these characteristics as well. And, if business chooses to restrict its support to only one gender, it’s overlooking a hugely talented pool of people. That doesn’t make sense. Business should want to hire, train, develop and support the best people, regardless of gender.

One of the challenges women face at work is lack of confidence. Being skilled, thorough and prepared for the tasks at hand are all prerequisites. But, once that’s accomplished, we also need to put faith and trust in ourselves. We need to have a conviction about the quality of the work we do and our qualifications for the opportunities we seek. We need to replace self-doubt with self-cheerleading.

Career advice 
What I would say to young women early in their careers is fairly simple and straightforward.

First, take the long view. Don't get caught up worrying about climbing the career ladder as fast as you can. Do the best you can today with the job you have now. Exceed expectations today. Hard work and results do speak for themselves...and nothing is a greater predictor of future success than current success.

Second, always know that people matter. It’s more important who you work for than the actual work you do. A constructive manager, a positive-force manager who challenges and stretches you, will ensure you learn more and perform better. Odds are, you'll be happier, too. Good people want to work for good people, and you’ll more likely find yourself in a high-performing team environment. This carries over to firms as well, because people make the culture of the firm and culture matters. You need to find the right culture fit, to be part of a good team.

Third, have the courage to admit you don't know everything, but the confidence to know that you know a lot. It takes courage, especially when you’re young and trying to prove yourself, to admit you don’t know something. Never apologize for having to ask how or why something works the way it does. There are so many times when I've asked what I felt was probably obvious to everyone else...that it turned out we all knew very little!

At the same time, it’s also important to be confident in what you do know.

workforce engagement icon

advocating for change

In 2017, the Chevron Women’s Network launched the Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) program, a Catalyst initiative created for and led by men who are committed to fostering inclusive leadership. The program began with a pilot in Houston, Texas and has grown to include more than 750 employees in seven Chevron locations globally, with additional growth planned.

Chevron is proud to celebrate women’s achievements on International Women’s Day and on the other
364 days of the year.

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Published: March 2018