WGLC 2017: Attendees heartened by keynote’s promotion of self-advocacy for women in STEM

By EMILY QUERUBIN, Associate Editor, World Oil on 11/1/2017

HOUSTON -- Gulf Publishing Company, parent of World Oil, kicked off its annual Women’s Global Leadership Conference (WGLC) in Energy today in downtown Houston, Texas. The conference, now in its 15th year, once again brought together hundreds of professional women to learn, network and share their ideas and experiences working in the oil and gas sector. Women, and their male counterparts, use the WGLC as a platform to discuss the importance of gender diversity in the industry, as well as women’s leadership and personal career development.

Following a welcoming address from Susan Ganz, corporate public relations manager at Schlumberger, the morning keynote speaker was introduced. Dr. Pamela McCauley, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, addressed the audience regarding leadership in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Her opening session presentation, “The Essentials of Engineering Leadership and Innovation,” focused in on various strategies that women can use to further advance their careers and take on more leadership roles.

Dr. McCauley explained that many women are discouraged from continuing on in STEM fields, due to what appears to be an outward lack of opportunity. She said that approximately 52% of women leave STEM fields, often by the time they reach their mid-to-late 30s. She explained that women must self-evaluate, not self-deprecate. “Women can be ambitious. It’s okay,” she affirmed.

 Repeatedly, Dr. McCauley stressed the importance of self-advocacy and the development of a personal vision for the future, which should not only include a vision for your career, but also a vision for your family.

Additionally, Dr. McCauley encouraged the women in attendance to develop a network of collaborators, including colleagues, mentors and various corporate organizations. She reassured them that it is acceptable to share your achievements with others and use them to meet your goals. She held that women must take the initiative, speak up and ask for leadership opportunities. She buoyed the significance of believing in yourself and seeing yourself as a leader.

Dr. McCauley concluded her inspiring presentation with a quote from the late poet, Maya Angelou, aptly demonstrating the objective of her talk: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

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