Energy Leadership Certificate Series - University of Houston
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Energy Career & Leadership Webinars and Certificate in Energy Leadership

Spring Semester, 2023

UH Energy and the Energy Coalition at the University of Houston are proud to announce our Energy Career & Leadership Webinars and the Certificate in Energy Leadership. These programs are based on a six-part webinar series. If you plan to pursue a successful, fulfilling career in energy, as future decision-maker, you must attend! Focusing on non-curricular aspects of leadership and team-building skills this non-credit program provides students with unique hands-on and practical information to further their career in the energy industry. The webinars feature some of the brightest minds of the marketplace. This educational opportunity will explore how the energy transition is transforming energy careers, as well as providing insights in leadership and team building, which are crucial skills in the rapidly changing energy industry.

Certificate in Energy Leadership Registration

The Certificate in Energy Leadership is a non-credit certification open only to enrolled students at institutions of higher education. All candidates must register for the webinar series no later than 11:59 pm, Thursday February 2, 2023, attend at least four of the live webinars, and achieve passing grades in at least four online tests. To enable us to verify attendance, certificate candidates must enter the name of their institution in the “Organization” field, and their student ID in the “Student ID” field when they register for the webinars. When joining each webinar, they must use their unique, personal Zoom link. Failure to follow these instructions may disqualify candidates from receiving their certificates.

Webinar Recordings

Where possible, we will record the sessions in this series, and will make those recordings available a few days after each live event.

Series Sessions

Session 1: Living Your Interview: A Foundation for Career Success

February 3

Effective interviewing isn't a matter of tips and tricks. It's about principles and preparation. It's about knowing the company you're speaking to, knowing what you have to offer and being able to engage in a professional discussion with a potential colleague that confirms you have what is needed to make their team better. Greg has interviewed many hundreds of chemical engineers for jobs in industry and will share insights and approaches you can use to make your job interviews more effective. Although the discussion and examples will center on early-career engineering positions, the principles are applicable to a broad range of disciplines and career stages during any point in the business cycle.

Greg Yeo

Presenter: Greg Yeo, ExxonMobil Chemical, Chief Engineer (retired)

Greg recently retired from ExxonMobil Chemical as Chief Engineer after a 41-year career in the petrochemicals industry and is now actively engaged in process industry consulting, focused on decarbonization of large petrochemical facilities. He has worked in process technology and process design, manufacturing, and major venture development, with assignments in North America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. During his career, Greg has interviewed many hundreds of engineers for jobs in industry. In his talk today he will share insights and approaches to make your job interviews more effective.

Speaker Presentation Slides

Session 2: Dilemmas in the Energy Transition, and How They Shape My Energy Career

February 10

The energy transition is coming; there’s no stopping it, and indeed the journey has already begun. The question is: what does that mean exactly? And what role will I play in it…if any? This session will explore some of the certainties, and more interestingly, some of the unknowns and dilemmas of the global energy transition. Those transition uncertainties will definitely affect energy professionals – and we will have an honest dialogue about the career risks and opportunities represented by the long and winding road ahead.

Richard (Rich) Howe

Presenter: Richard (Rich) Howe, Shell’s Senior Vice President for Upstream Transformation.

Rich has worked with Upstream and Downstream businesses across several global locations and the USA, most recently serving as CEO of the North Caspian Operating Company in Atyrau, Kazakhstan. His current remit is focused on driving a more competitive and resilient global Upstream. Rich holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University, and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Petroleum Technology from Curtin University (Australia), and Business Administration from Duke University.

Speaker Presentation Slides

Session 3: Taking the Risk with Renewables

February 17

Renewables are not for everyone. It takes a determination and passion to enter into a career focused not only on developing GW of new clean energy, but also the willingness to create an impact for the world around us. In this talk, Tom will walk participants through the traits and skillsets needed to not only successfully enter the renewables industry, but do so with an eye to eventually lead it. Case studies on key leaders in the industry will be discussed, as well as overall opportunity and challenges facing the industry as it positions itself as a key economic and workforce driver in the 21st century. His talk will be based on his most recent book We Took the Risk (New Degree Press), published this last Fall, 2022.

Tom Weirich

Presenter: Tom Weirich, Marketing – North America, EDP Renewables. Entrepreneur and Author of We Took the Risk: The Stories Behind the Early Risk Takers in the U.S. Renewable Energy Industry and the Leadership Traits that Made Them a Success

Tom leads marketing for EDP Renewables, one of the top five owners and operators of renewable energy assets globally. He has been a facilitator in building collaboration and connecting key players in the global renewable energy industry for over 18 years, having worked with teams that have closed over 243 renewable energy transactions with a combined enterprise value of $66 billion. Tom is also the author of "We Took the Risk" (Publication: Fall, 2022).

He previously worked with two key clean energy investment banking advisory firms based in New York as Director of Marketing at Rubicon Capital Advisors and Director of Marketing & Business Development at CohnReznick Capital. Prior to that, Tom was Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and interim Chief Operating Officer at the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) in Washington, D.C., where he managed and oversaw corporate relations and public affairs for 12 years working with key global developers, financiers and power generators.

Tom served under the Obama Administration twice in honorary roles, advising both the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative on renewable energy trade and manufacturing policies. He has been acknowledged for his contributions to the solar industry by Renewable Energy World as part of its inaugural "Top 40 under 40 in Solar" and has been listed five years in a row on kWh Analytics' #Solar100 List, which recognizes key solar energy thought leaders in the United States.

Speaker Presentation Slides

Session 4: Building an Intentional Career

February 24

In a world that is changing at an unprecedented pace, it is more critical than ever to take charge of your career and to adopt an agile and resilient mindset. The times of defined career ladders are coming to an end and ladders are being replaced by career “jungle gyms” as Sheryl Sandberg puts it. There are new career opportunities that did not exist in the past which can sometimes be more difficult to see and navigate. Making the shift from the traditional mindset, also means taking full accountability for your career; and it starts with your vision.

The first step in creating a career vision is to consider what you like and dislike in your current position or state. If you could (re)design your career, what would you keep and what elements would you eliminate or alter?

Leverage your strengths and articulate your true self. Think about strengths related to people skills, those related to completing tasks, solving problems, or emotional intelligence. Once you have identified your core strengths, you can create a career vision, and subsequently goals that put you on a fulfilling path to success.

Evaluate potential career paths and establish a career direction. Don’t forget to consider how your career path and your envisioned career outcome will impact other aspects of your life. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for! In assessing and deciding upon your career goals, consider time and resource requirements along the way, and when you accomplish your career aspirations.

As any extended journey, determine short and long term plans, your accelerators, your potential road blocks and how you may navigate those challenges. Pack well for the journey; build relevant skills, invest in positive relationships, develop allies, and build your personal brand through your online presence. Evaluate often, and correct course as needed. Recognize what energizes you and what’s important in your life in creating a path that is authentic, achievable, and sustainable.

Mona Setoodeh

Presenter: Mona Setoodeh, President, CH-IV International

Dr. Setoodeh is passionate about mentorship, personnel growth, and organizational management, which drove her to further continue her education in this field. Mona has deep respect for individual characteristics and skillsets of the elite team that she serves and looks forward to leading the business to greater success. In 2020, she was appointed as President of CH·IV and has been serving in that role since.

Dr. Setoodeh is passionate about mentorship, personnel growth, and organizational management, which drove her to further continue her education in this field. Mona has deep respect for individual characteristics and skillsets of the elite team that she serves and looks forward to leading the business to greater success. In 2020, she was appointed as President of CH·IV and has been serving in that role since.

With sustainability and decarbonization in focus, Mona launched company’s low carbon initiative, DeCO2DE, in 2021 to support global efforts of the industry towards carbon footprint reduction and achieving Net Zero.

Dr. Setoodeh is the executive sponsor of the Herstory Makers, committed to recruitment, advancement, and retention of talented individuals, as well as empowering its members to achieve career success and work-life balance through education, networking, and advocacy.

Additionally, Mona is an Industrial Advisory Board member at University of Houston’s Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering.

Speaker Presentation Slides

Session 5: Authentic Leadership

March 3

With advice from Alan, Greg, Rich, Tom, Mona and Hayley, you’ve landed your first job and a thrilling career is unfolding before you. The opportunities are exciting, rewarding, daunting and at times overwhelming. Careers are filled with many choices, differing paths and a range of options. Can one navigate this while being true to one’s values and priorities? Is there one “right” path? How does one prioritize and balance career moves?

You can you lead and deliver excellent results while focusing not on power but in service of the best interests of your organization, yourself, your colleagues and the world around you. We’ll examine some ideas, tool and principles on how, and supplement with some real-life experiences and examples.

Cindy Yeilding

Presenter: Cindy Yeilding, Senior Vice President, BP America, retired; Director, Denbury Inc. and The Center for Houston’s Future

Cindy retired as SVP of Strategic Initiatives, bp America in 2021. Upon retirement, Cindy joined the Board of Directors of Denbury Inc. and The Center for Houston’s Future and she also serves as a speaker, author, moderator and instructor. Cindy chaired the study team for the 2019 U.S. National Petroleum Council report on Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS), and is a co-instructor for the University of Houston CCUS Executive Education program. Recently, Cindy co-edited and contributed to the Elsevier textbook “Deepwater Sedimentary Systems: Science, Discovery and Applications (2022).” Cindy earned her MSc in Geology from UNC- Chapel Hill after receiving a BS in Geology from SMU.

Cindy is past Chair of the Offshore Technology Conference and served on the Board of Directors of BPX&P and the Greater Houston Partnership until 2021. She was BP’s Executive Sponsor for Princeton University and is a member of the U.T. Jackson School’s Advisory Council. Cindy served as an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer in 2002-2003 and 2022-2023 and was named a “Legend in Exploration” by AAPG.

Cindy has been recognized for her leadership in energy by numerous organizations, including the “Women in Energy Leadership” award from the Houston Business Journal, and has been recognized as one of Houston’s Top 15 Businesswomen by the National Diversity Council, one of Houston’s “50 Most Influential Women” by Houston Woman magazine and one of Hart Energy’s “25 Influential Women in Energy.” Cindy is active in promoting STEM and women’s education.

Speaker Presentation Slides


Session 6: Key Skills for Emerging Leaders in the Low-Carbon World

March 24

Even as global demand for energy grows, the world is seeing an energy transition to lower-emission alternatives to meet global climate goals. Today’s young leaders will be critical in continuing that momentum. This presentation will review the key skills that are required to be a leader in the energy sector, and how these skills are changing with the energy transition.

Hayley Ryan

Presenter: Hayley Ryan, Infrastructure Lead, ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions

Hayley Ryan is the Infrastructure Lead focusing on carbon capture and sequestration in the Americas for ExxonMobil’s Low Carbon Solutions business. Using her midstream background, Hayley is working to develop the infrastructure needed to facilitate the energy transition. Prior to her current role, Hayley worked in ExxonMobil’s pipeline business as a field engineer, integrity engineer, operations supervisor, and business development lead. Hayley is an Industrial Engineer with a BS from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Speaker Presentation Slides