Women in Energy 2017

Susanna Sabbagh

Halliburton, Director, Global Marketing & Communicationssusannasabbagh-head-shot-300dpi

What does your typical day at the office look like?

No two days are the same, but overall my days are about our internal communications as much as marketing. My focus is on creating clarity, consistency and alignment on how we talk about what we do across our internal and external stakeholders.

What do you like most about your position?

I like the variety and touching every part of the business. It’s exciting to get to know the breadth of what we do as an organization. I enjoy the challenge of taking complex ideas and trying to communicate them effectively to different audiences. It’s great to be able to work on the creative side of our organization and think about what is interesting and compelling to our various stakeholders.

What interested you in entering your industry?

Now this is interesting, because I didn’t intend to get into the oil and gas industry. I was always interested in technology, computers and the technical aspects of things. When I graduated from university with a philosophy degree, I lived in Cambridge, which at the time was Britain’s “Silicon Valley” with a lot of small high-tech startups.

I went to work for a company of seven employees that was the first company in the world to put oil and gas data on a CD. It was a jack-of-all-trades kind of job, and I started learning the data management and data analysis side of oil and gas. The company ended up being bought by Landmark shortly after Landmark was acquired by Halliburton. It’s funny … I thought I was working for an agile little tech startup and found myself at Halliburton. The real reason I’m in oil and gas today is because my first boss told me, “Your degree tells me you know how to think — I’ll teach you the rest.”

What about your career makes you most proud?

I’m proud that I have been successful in a variety of roles without coming from a traditional oil and gas background. What has helped me and has been valuable to the organization is my ability to bring a different perspective as we assess how we do things.

I’ve turned what could have been seen as a weakness into strengths. While I didn’t start in the field and I’m not an engineer, I’ve worked across many different aspects of our business and have a diverse background, which gives me the ability to bring together the different threads of what we do to drive success in many areas.

What advice would you give to young women interested in your industry?

It’s the same advice I would give young men — be open-minded to where your career can go, be willing to try new things and don’t limit yourself.


Elizabeth Killinger

copy-of-ek-shaleReliant and NRG Retail, President

What does your typical day at the office look like?

As President of Reliant and NRG Retail, I help power, protect and simplify life for consumers throughout Texas and the Northeast. Most days consist of time spent with internal and external teams — articulating my vision, discussing progress on an initiative or receiving an update on business performance. Depending on the day, I spend time on everything from business operations and customer experience to marketing and public relations, to mentoring or listening to employees and customers.

It’s also a privilege to be out in the community. Not only do we have a robust employee volunteer program, we also regularly partner with various community organizations to help reach our customers in different ways. Last year, we launched a new program called Reliant Gives, which enables our employees, nonprofits and the public to direct our charitable spending. In this program, our employees nominate nonprofits that matter to them and their communities. The public then votes on which organization receives different levels of funding. In the program’s first year, we touched more than 120,000 lives.

What do you like most about your position?

In my role, I am fortunate to work with so many different people in so many different capacities. Each day includes a combination of times when I am advising others and times when I am learning from others. I appreciate working in an environment where learning and development is continuous. I also deeply enjoy our company’s culture of giving back to the community. We get to be the hands and feet that make a difference in the communities where we live and work. Whether that is volunteering at a local nonprofit, sponsoring a community event or donating to organizations that make a real difference in someone’s life, I am blessed to be leading a company that commits to giving back to communities that mean so much to our employees, their families and our customers across the country.

What interested you in entering your industry?

If you had told me when I was in college that one day I’d be president of an energy company, I would have said, “No way!” Starting out, I imagined I’d follow my mom’s path of being a homemaker, but I ended up following my dad’s footsteps and getting an education in business and management information systems. Working as a Management and Systems Consultant, I was focused on building strong teams and helping companies find ways to improve their strategy, execution and customer satisfaction. When I started working at Reliant around 16 years ago, I was a Consultant helping the company navigate the transition to the competitive electricity market. I soon discovered a passion for the energy industry and a desire to grow and run a business. I was asked to join the company as an employee and made the transition from consulting to the energy industry in 2002. The industry is constantly growing and innovating, and I love being part of one that literally powers life as we know it. That keeps me challenged and focused on creating a brighter future for both today and generations to come.

What about your career makes you most proud?

I have a real passion for developing our people by giving employees the opportunities and support they need to be successful. If an employee starts in customer service and they have a desire to work in marketing, I want them to have that opportunity, and I want our company to be the kind of place where people can have a robust career. Numerous people on my team have had the opportunity to work in multiple divisions and leadership roles, fulfilling their career aspirations. Ultimately, I aspire for Reliant and NRG to be a company where our children can also have robust careers in leading the next generation of personalized energy solutions.

What advice would you give to young women interested in your industry?

Be the CEO of the job you have now. Doing your current job as well as possible is the best way to succeed as an individual contributor or to move up in the ranks. This is also the best way to become an asset to your team, your boss and, ultimately, your company. I have learned from experience in management consulting to always look at issues from one level up and then make decisions based on what’s best for the organization — not just my personal division or ambition. When management sees you can take a company-wide approach, they’ll see you are leadership material and will count on you to make a positive impact to the business bottom line.