CWJJ Episode 40: Jim Kunkle
January 14, 2021
CWJJ Episode 42: Becky Palmer
January 28, 2021

CWJJ Episode 41: Jill Adams & Mayra Maese

Thursday, Feb 11 –  Jill & Mayra join the show to discuss the importance and role of women in leadership. Both women are active in the industry and leading the way to showcase skills and strengths as leaders in the industry.

Episode Transcript:

Jim:  [0:09] Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen of the LinkedIn Community. Welcome to this week’s edition of Coffee with Jim and James. Normally, as you know, I do all kind of wacky intro. At this week I’m not feeling that. I’m feeling a little bit more historic.

[0:24] Let me bring James in first and tell a quick little story before we introduce our guest. James, as I was sitting around last night and thinking about the topic, Women in Leadership. A lot of thoughts came to my mind about the industry where we are today, but it was an interesting thought. I thought about my childhood, and going to my mom one day and my dad went to work pretty much five to six days a week.

[0:49] I remember asking my mom, I said, “Mom, why don’t you go to work too?” I was little, young, and she’s like, “Well, I can’t go to work. I have to clean the house and cook the meals and such.” It’s funny. I haven’t thought of that in I’ll say, maybe 40 plus, 50 years.

[1:06] It was a sobering thought, being very realistic, because that’s within my lifetime. We have come leaps and bounds, and so to say that I’m excited about the topic of Women in Leadership today is an understatement. So with that, please let me bring James. James, how are you doing this fine and beautiful day?

James:  [1:29] I was raised by a woman that did a fantastic job and worked hard every day. So, this was a neat one to put together. We have two fantastic examples of women out there doing the good, the good deeds and the things that need to be done in this industry.

[1:50] I couldn’t be happier Jim, to welcome both Jill Adams and Myra Myassa. Instead of us clunking through your intro like I’m sure we would do, why don’t we let each of you, and Jill you being the guest in this interview within that group. I’ll let you go first. Let everybody know who you are with, what you do, and a little bit about yourself.

Jill:  [2:16] Thank you. I get to wear your swag to to be able to join you to say, so thank you for for allowing you to be able to be here. I am with Diversified Utility Sales of America and GTL. I am the marketing and sales director for the organization.

[2:36] I grew up on a farm in western Minnesota where my mom obviously helped on the farm, but also was very entrepreneurial minded, which is what sparked why I am who I am today. I grew up with a very strong mother and father who supported her in all her ventures. That’s a little bit about me.

James:  [3:03] Myra, why don’t you jump in and catch up our audience a little bit who may not know who you are.

Myra:  [3:14] Thank you for having me on the show. Definitely. It is a pleasure to be with you all, and Jill. Good to see Jill as well, honored to be on here with her. I’m actually the Executive Vice President here at Energy World. I’ve been with the company bit over 11 years now. I’ve held many, many different positions throughout my career.

[3:41] Just like Jim, I was also raised by a mom, that was stay‑at‑home mom, and did all the cooking and the cleaning. That was kind of the culture, in also part of our heritage of who we are. I was different, I was more independent minded. Like, I’m not going to do that for the rest of my life.

[4:06] So, growing up in the oil and gas industry my entire life, like Texas, the smell of money is the term. It definitely does, seeing that I didn’t actually envision myself in that area. But, here I am today and glad to talk more about it.

Jim:  [4:32] Good. We are so excited to have you all here today. Let me dive a little bit deeper because you both, Myra, Jill, you guys can go back and forth, dialogue is great. Myra, you touched on it, but I want to get deeper into that as well as Jill. What brought you both to the oil and gas industry?

[4:56] What was the the trigger that brought you in? Got a little insight into this Myra growing up, but maybe could find out more. The second part of that question, there’s been stigmas and model changes over the years, but we are here today. How do you think our industry, the oil and gas industry, is pushing and promoting Women in Leadership?

[5:18] That’s a very important statement right there, Women in Leadership. You guys can flip a coin to see who would like to take the first stab, and if you forgot any of the question I will happily remind you part of it.

Jill:  [5:35] I’m going to borrow James’s terminology, because I watch you guys frequently enough. I landed here and got here as quickly as I could. I started back in 2002 with the Telco organization, but I landed in this energy space as quickly as I possibly could, and by mere fortune. Now, it absolutely feels like this has been just an absolute blessing in my life.

[6:16] It reminds me so much of the farm, like farming. I say that whenever somebody asks me why this industry feels so much like home. It’s like farming, they have like the Mutual Assistance programs for farming. When somebody goes down they help bring in the crop, same in our industry.

[6:35] If a utility or a natural disaster comes in everybody comes to each other’s aid. Same with the sharing and free sharing of ideas, it make things better. Everybody is there to assist, to improve the overall safety, reliability of for everybody else, which is just been a it’s just so unique and absolutely wonderful, it completely feels like home. What was the next question?

Jim:  [7:10] That was good and that’s why I promised I was going to be with you the whole way. When we look at the industry and Women in Leadership. What do you think the industry, and how do you think the industry is pushing, promoting, walking the talk.

Jill:  [7:27] I am going to step that back a little bit. Us as women need to be able to be voicing our own ability to be able to step into those leadership roles. As an example early in my professional career I ended up taking a managerial position at the age of 25 with no experience, and was managing people, many my senior, same age and some younger than myself.

[8:02] You have to be able to take risk and raise your hand and say that you are willing to accept the responsibility and learn within those roles. There’s a statistic that says that women won’t apply for a job unless they believe they have a hundred percent of the skill set for the role. Whereas men will apply for a role if they have fifty percent of the the skillset.

James:  [8:29] I’m applying for jobs right now that I’m not qualified for. I’m not scared.

Jill:  [8:35] We need to change our own internal voice and be able to accept that what you learn on the job just as we have that capability within us. Part of that is an inside job. Finding those, and some of them can be formal and some of them can be an informal mentor within your life. Enhancing your own skill set to be able to step into those roles whether it would be improving your self‑confidence, changing that dialogue within yourself is so vitally important.

[9:21] Then making sure that you are influencing those other people around you saying you can do it. Helping those around you also help change their internal dialogue, so no, go for it.

Jim:  [9:33] Yeah. Good point, very good Jill. Myra, you grew up in West Texas oil and gas. It was living, eating, breathing it, just like James did. Did you know from an early age you wanted to get in oil and gas? How did that journey happen?

Myra:  [9:52] I wanted to be a nurse and I had started early on in, even through high school, working through the nursing program to be able to get how to get my feet in to see if that was truly what my passion was? I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to be in the medical industry. Wanted that as a career.

[10:22] I never thought that I would grow up and be in the same industry that is all around me. A lot of my family was in it and continues to be in it. It just happened back in 2002 to 2004ish. It’s when we moved up here to north Texas. I started to take in the roles of basically in secretarial type of work. It’s the first type of career in the oil and gas side of it.

[10:57] That was more on the upstream production side. So, still very similar to the same smells that we’re used to, but in a different site and that’s where the Regulatory Compliance side came in. I didn’t say that’s what I want to do. It’s happened. I definitely agree with Jill, a lot of the mentorship, and we can probably talk about that more in depth here in a bit.

[11:26] As part of the second part of the question, you’re right Jill, we as women, definitely need to have that mindset. I can say that early on in my career, especially in the oil and gas industry, it isn’t necessarily smooth and easy. I’ve often told people, I had to grow thick skin because it is an industry where things that you see in here and out in the field, they’re there.

[11:59] It’s real work, it’s tough work and it’s work that not everyone wants to necessarily do, jjump in a ditch and get all dirty. It’s not that nice fun type of work that James does all the time.

[12:14] [laughter]

James:  [12:29] Myra, I think you bring up a good point about west Texas to where, I wouldn’t say it’s a negative connotation to the industry. But, when you grow up in west Texas, that’s almost the default. You know you can go work in upstream and exploration. Everybody wants you to go do something else.

Myra:  [12:53] Get out.

James:  [12:54] Go, do something else, because you can always come back and work with your uncle, a crew. They want you to go out. I was the same way. I ended up, I was trying to stay away, and it’s funny, I moved away from there and here I am. Then I got in there and they won’t go away. I can relate.

[13:17] I’ve got a question for both of you. You’re both super involved in the industry like we talked about, whether it be committees, or board seats, or associations that you’re involved with, you’re out there. Especially for women what associations or committees you feel are out there helping promote Women in Leadership, within our our world, our segment.

[13:49] We beg people all the time. I don’t know if you all saw the the episode with applied Consultants, but we beg people all the time to get involved. We can sit on the sidelines and complain, and be concerned about things, and feel we have no influence. But, the really good news is what I try to tell people is there’s a lot of smart people sitting at tables and have been figuring out these problems and being a part of that dialogue.

[14:18] What committees are out there? What associations? How can people get involved, women get involved in that Women in Leadership kind of movement, per se.

Myra:  [14:26] Jill, you want to go?

Jill:  [14:35] I can start. Being at some of those tables it is not intimidating. It really is not. There’s no fear, take action if you if you are looking at an invitation, here it is, you’re invited. You are flat out invited, the door is open. No matter what your skill level is the key thing is to take action and start somewhere.

[15:10] You won’t get to wherever you are wanting to go to later. If you don’t start now, in developing, one, the relationships. To be able to form some kind of mentorship with somebody, because it can start at that table, or in the room, it can start in the hallway.

[15:41] You can learn by osmosis. You can learn so much by being involved and being in, by being active. If you start local, start at a national level, start somewhere, just start. That is my recommendation.

Myra:  [16:00] I agree with you Jill. In today’s time any of the committees that you choose to to go and follow and be part of are very open and welcoming, especially to women. There is a lot of opportunity in our industry, is what I’ve seen. SGA is a great example, a great organization that promotes women in the industry, MBA is another one that I can name off.

[16:31] I’ve also joined AWE which is the association of Women in Energy. That expands, I believe, a bit further into different types of articles and energy. That’s the whole part of it is networking to understand more to gain knowledge, and gain knowledge from each other. There is that experience that we can share and mentor others, and learn from others, as well.

[16:54] While you are at those round tables, committees, hallways, wherever, on the plane or something, on the road, wherever you are, those types of connections and networking. There’s tons of organizations out there other than the ones I mentioned, but you’re right, start whatever is local for you, or whatever is as far as you want to go. More nationally or vertically, in different areas as well.

Jill:  [17:31] Energetic Women, I’m very involved with them in a leadership committee there. Their entire purpose is to prepare women for leadership roles in operations and management within the energy industry. SGA is also, like you said Myra, AGA does a does a nice job, as well. NAS is another one that I’m involved with.

[17:59] There are let alone the local, every state has their own division to be getting involved with, whether it’s MEN Ops, whether it’s TGA, whether it would be Mango, whether it would be Florida. There’s opportunities wherever you are. If you look there’s an opportunity for you to be getting involved, but get involved. You will find that there is a welcoming hand next to you.

Jim:  [18:33] Let me let me jump in, let’s play, what’s that called James? Crystal Ball or whatever.

James:  [18:41] Let’s remember. What was the old Johnny Carson bit?

Jim:  [18:45] Carnac. Jill, let’s step back to the days when you were 24, 25, 26. I know for you ladies that was two or three years ago, for James and I, it was decades. Anyways, if you could go back in time to that time, what advice would you give yourself to inspire yourself, about the oil and gas industry. We’ve hit on a couple great things here and I want to keep that momentum going.

[19:19] What else would you tell yourself? More importantly I’m sure we have viewers out there that might be like my daughter, graduated from UT this year, going to be out in the workforce, has a lot of questions. What advice would you give people like that and yourself at the age of 24, 25, 26, about the oil and gas industry, and thoughts about how to take it by the horns?

Myra:  [19:47] I would say, from experience, because that was around the time that I definitely entered into the industry. Its to be open to the great possibilities that are out there, because sometimes there it is that stigma of it’s the oil and gas, and I don’t want to necessarily go into that industry. There’s so much opportunity out there.

[20:19] Don’t be afraid to step into that world and make a change, because there’s tons of women in our industry today that are very inspirational leaders. Find yourself a good mentor to be able to learn the ropes from. I have had amazing mentors throughout my career to get me to where I am, and to learn all of the information that I know. Don’t be afraid of our industry.

Jim:  [20:48] I like that. Jill, thought?

Jill:  [20:51] Echo that, she said it beautifully. I echo that. Be fearless, be patient with your development and be fearless. Step into your event. Don’t be afraid, always be inquisitive. I was reflecting on this in preparation for this and I was talking to a mentor that has spanned my professional career, and I was taking notes of this. One of the things that she said, there’s going to be lessons that you learn over the course of your career path. Always take the best and leave the rest behind.

[21:39] Continue to learn those lessons and always stay so inquisitive until you get the lesson that you are needing to learn. Be patient with yourself as you continue on with your goals journey. There are so many ways for you to grow within this industry. This is a life industry. This is an industry in which continue on with your entire career path and develop in so many different areas. Personally and professionally.

Jim:  [22:16] Love it.

James:  [22:17] Jimmy, does this help some of the guys who listen into this episode too.

Jim:  [22:22] I take your point.

James:  [22:24] They need to hear this stuff. This is why women need to be at the table, number one, but number two, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s good advice.

Jim:  [22:34] Absolutely.

James:  [22:35] This leads fantastically into our last question. If you’re an avid listener, watcher, whatever your flavor is, you probably already know what this is and you probably cheated, Jill.

Jill:  [22:49] I did.

James:  [22:49] Hi, you did. Yeah, you don’t want to be unprepared. This is the best part. Let’s jump right into surprise question. We don’t tell anybody, but of course, there’s a little bit of research that can get you there. I’ll start with Jill, because she is our guest today. Then we’ll jump into you Larry, close it down.

[23:12] Jill, do you love what you do, and why?

Jill:  [23:18] I absolutely thoroughly can’t tell in joy and love what I do. I’m so passionate about what we do. There’s a variety of reasons. We impact the lives of so many people, we do. Once that hits home with you and lands on your heart you absolutely love what you do.

James:  [23:57] Easy peasy. Myra.

Myra:  [24:04] Absolutely. I am very passionate about what I do, about what I’ve learned in this industry, and in our industry as a whole. Like I mentioned earlier, my desire was to go into the health industry, was to help people. I am still doing that today in this industry ensuring that there is safety and confidence, that competency out there. I’m still doing what I wanted to do.

[24:35] That’s the great part of it is that, it doesn’t seem like it’s a job. This is my career. This is my passion. The road that I chose and then I want to continue into retirement. It’s been a wonderful journey, definitely influencing many people, and for me personally, to have my two oldest daughters join the same industry has definitely been a blessing to say that passion has also continued on in so many other areas.

James:  [25:09] What a legacy, Jill you’re muted. What a tribute to Myra, that you needed a job. If you don’t know it, Myra actually won, can you hear me now or this year?

Jill:  [25:24] [laughs] I’m still here.

Myra:  [25:27] You need the whole year.

James:  [25:27] Muted in every single way, this year. How fitting. There’s no question that you two are passionate about what you do. You’re leading and showing others how to lead. At the same time your answers say it all. Your smiles on your face and the way you do your job. It shows in your action.

[25:58] We appreciate what you do. Thank you so much for being on Jimmy, bring in Psalm, brother.

Jim:  [26:03] Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Ladies so much. Today’s episode put a smile on my face and warmed my heart. James also hit it to this is, we started off Women in Leadership and it is more about people. It transcends genders and such like that, in your advice, your guidance. Everything was well said and given to the audience.

[26:31] I hope that the audience members, no matter what the age, no matter what the gender, no matter what, can take something out of this today. On behalf of James and I, Myra, Jill, we appreciate you so much. LinkedIn Community please connect with Jill and Myra, they’re great people. Send them a note if you have any questions, anything about the industry business, mentorship, all that type of stuff.

[26:55] Please do follow Coffee with Jim and James. We appreciate every viewer that we have, each and every one of you. Without you we don’t have a show. So, until next week on behalf of James and I, and Coffee with Jim and James we will see you. Everybody, please continue to stay safe and we’ll see you next week. Bye‑bye.

James:  [27:17] Anybody wants to get involved reach out to any of us and we’ll we’ll get you a seat at the table. Bye‑bye, everyone.

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