Women in Leadership

AdobeStock 136203229
AdobeStock 136203229

Shanna Keaveny

Company name: Texakoma Operating, L.P. Title: Vice President Industry: Oil & Gas E&P

Tell me about your company. Established in 1982, Texakoma remains a family operated company. For the past 36 years, Texakoma has established and grown its oil and gas exploration, operation and production business, while remaining focused on the greatest asset: our people. Made up of respected, veteran engineers, geologists, landmen, professional staff and an executive management team, many of our people have more than 20 years with Texakoma. Together, we have been able to find, explore and develop numerous oil and gas fields in states such as Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

What interested you most about your industry? I joined the industry in 2005, although some would say that I’ve been involved with it for almost 40 years. As a third-generation member of the Texakoma family, I grew up learning about the industry — answering phones at the front desk, helping with filing or coloring production maps. As a child, oil and gas was just something my dad did, but as an adult, I see the value provided by the Texakoma business. It’s amazing that dozens of products we interact with throughout the day are made possible by oil and gas discoveries and production led by companies large and small. I find that the more I learn about the industry, the more interested I become in the business.

What does your typical day at the office look like? The excitement of the oil and gas exploration and production business and being a mom of four young boys ensures no workday is the same! The one constant in my day is knowing I have a group of top-notch industry experts and fabulous support staff to keep each day running smoothly. The best part of my day is interacting with all departments, which consistently reminds me of the tremendous value and talent of all our people.

What do you like most about your position and/or industry? Working with amazing people. Texakoma’s employees and our network of partners and vendors are an integral asset to the company. I feel fortunate to learn from these coworkers and partners as we collaborate through daily problem solving and strategic planning for the future.

What about your career makes you most proud? I am most proud of my contribution to a legacy — a legacy built on integrity, and with the right people. Being part of a family business gives me the special ability to merge personal knowledge and company experience from the past and use that to guide the business into the future. I hope that my kids and future generations will have the opportunity to build upon this legacy, too.

What advice would you give to young women interested in entering your industry? The energy industry holds so much more opportunity than what appears on the surface; interesting roles and projects are developing each day that did not previously exist. If you have a passion and drive for something, regardless if it may seem compatible with oil and gas, there is likely a role for you. I encourage women to consider evaluating their interests and applying them to this industry. My background was in communications, which isn’t an obvious choice for this industry, but the oil and gas industry has given me the tremendous opportunity for professional development and success.

Barbara A. F. Greene

Company name: Greene and Associates, Inc., A Career Partners International Firm Title: Founder & CEO Industry: Human Capital Transformation

Tell me about your company. Greene and Associates, Inc. is a company I started and which I have built from the ground up thanks to an outstanding group of client organizations. My initial goal was to partner with their leadership to accelerate their success in an ever-changing economy. The mission of my work is to champion organizational review, rebirth and resilience. Simply put, I apply myself by engaging with clients, and challenge their currently held notions while starting conversations about new possibilities moving forward.
Greene and Associates, Inc. is a trusted resource that provides human capital services to include: executive coaching and onboarding, leadership development, career management and career transition (offboarding). Our customized approach is a differentiator.

My company helps me to realize my life’s passion: to help people and organizations recognize where they are today and, through collaboration, create a literal road map to get them to where they desire to go. I, along with my local and global Career Partners International (CPI) team, have facilitated transformations of leaders from several business and corporate entities, and nonprofit organizations.

What interested you most about your industry? I was initially drawn to the human resources consulting industry after realizing early on that the key to a successful business almost always depends on the people who work there. As I explored the client services industry, it became apparent that too many organizational practitioners employed a one-size-fits-all approach to all of their clients. In response to this, I developed and applied a new method — an entrepreneurial-based approach, which encourages our clients to participate as equal partners in the transformation process. To that end, I customize my services to the client’s goals utilizing flexibility to address today’s challenges, while facilitating opportunities at an accelerated pace to improve impacts on the enterprise for the future.

What does your typical day at the office look like? Quite frankly, there’s never a “typical” day in my line of business. Every morning brings new challenges and possibilities and requires a nimble, flexible approach. My clients often tell me that they appreciate my accessibility and flexibility.

That said, my typical workday includes reviewing and researching materials on new and innovative approaches to organizational transformation. I attend various seminars as a participant or speaker. These opportunities fuel my awareness of the current vital discussions occurring within the various industries. Regular visits with colleagues’ spur vigorous discussion regarding industry trends and patterns, and afford me the opportunity to consider insights that question the “common wisdom.”

Whether I am with clients or in-between, I am in learning and listening mode — engaged and willing to place myself in momentary discomfort for the sake of questioning any of my own long-held beliefs. This openness to evolve and engage improves my professional temperament — which, in turn, benefits my clients with whom I work.

What do you like most about your position and/or industry? Today, more than ever, the business community is coming around to embrace the maxim of the importance of human capital — the people who build products and provide services. As a result, our industry is being called upon to bring our best ideas and practices into play and engage in extraordinary transformation. For example, in the realm of executive coaching, the practice of developing leaders to their full potential has differentiated themselves from the competition and shown a standard for excellence. Executive onboarding is another approach growing in popularity, mainly because it quickly ramps up an employee’s productivity from the moment that they arrive at work. These approaches represent some of the best that our profession can claim.

For me, significant collaborative efforts with my clients are the key to the ultimate success of a transformation. Collaborations support the involvement of the entirety of a client organization and impact it positively — with every employee being tested and challenged, and stretched to their potential. Having a client gift me with the awesome responsibility of leader and organizational transformation is not taken lightly. In fact, it is the most satisfying and gratifying aspect of my work.

What about your career makes you most proud? Integrating the world of business with my family, even when there have been struggles, makes me proud. In addition, the great people that we work with who soar beyond their own perceived possibilities provides me with a tremendous degree of positive energy. I’m fortunate to have been a part of their leadership journey and organizational resilience. Through collaboration and trust, I can help employees understand how their productivity improvements can lead to successes outside of work.

As for myself, I leverage and share my success by serving on boards and commissions, bringing my work expertise to take on the problems facing foster youth, for example, or mentoring and guiding young leaders. These activities address my desire to improve my community by bringing my talents and resources to be used where they are most needed. Giving of one’s self can be a most satisfying activity — something that I recommend to everyone.

What advice would you give to young women interested in entering your industry? Generally speaking: Make a job — don’t take a job. Know that you are the CEO of your company, Me, Inc. By owning who you are and what you want to do, you will be a contributor to the world. Remember that you define yourself through your actions and words. Realize there is a reason for every person you encounter, though you might not understand it at the time. Therefore, build relationships genuinely and not only when you need people.

Obtain the right education. Undertake studies that provide for qualitative insights into the human condition, but make sure to acquire the quantitative skills to run a business also. Learn to observe and listen well in the situations that are available to you — whether it be in the classroom or the boardroom, conference room, work room, plant floor, work field area — wherever you find yourself. You must always continue to learn, even after acquiring your diploma. Remember to be bold in your choices — fight for what you believe.

Finally, volunteer for a variety of civic causes and offer to serve on boards and commissions. Volunteering is another great way to gain insights into organizational behavior. Take on leadership roles and significant projects to gain real-world experience. By leading, you exercise the art of influencing people while gaining their cooperation, trust, respect and support. As an effective leader, you will find yourself “coaching” people to improve their performance. If you enjoy the experience of coaching others, then a career in dynamic organizational and leader transformation could be for you.

Melanie Sukolics

Company name: Katy Plantations Handcrafted Shutters Title: Owner Industry: Manufacturing Window Treatments

Tell me about your company. Katy Plantations Handcrafted Shutters was established when owners Rick and Melanie Sukolics were on vacation in Burton, Georgia. Rick admired the shutters he saw in the cabin he was staying in but felt he could build a better product. Once home, Rick spent six months creating his first handcrafted panel. The final product was so well-liked, Rick began building the handcrafted shutters out of his garage for family and friends. Over time, the products produced by Katy Plantations gained a reputation for having quality products and excellent customer service. After a period of growth, the operation needed to be moved to a larger space. Melanie spends her time selling the shutters and operating the business. Together, they make a good team.
Family-owned and operated, Katy Plantations now produces its products out of a 5,000 square foot warehouse in Katy, Texas, of which 3,000 square feet is dedicated to manufacturing and painting of the handcrafted shutters. All of our shutters are handcrafted on site and built to last for years to come.

What interested you most about your industry? The most interesting thing about our industry is the homes you get to see and the people you get to know. I have seen some of the most beautiful interiors of homes and take great joy in helping others beautify their homes even further. Home improvement and interior design have always been a passion for me. Katy Plantations has allowed me to share my passion with the community.

What does your typical day at the office look like? I have a very busy day normally. I typically arrive at the warehouse early in the morning. After some time there to complete business-related tasks, I leave the warehouse to visit with current and prospective clients to give quotes and take measurements. My day usually ends anywhere from 5 to 7 pm.

What do you like most about your position and/or industry? I probably like the flexibility the most. Being a business owner allows me to have family time when I need it. Being a successful mother and business owner are my greatest goals, and I love that I have the opportunity to do both.

What about your career makes you most proud? I am most proud when clients get to see the finished product. To see smiles on their faces because of my shutters makes my day. I take great joy in knowing my passion for design and decorating helps other’s to enjoy their home to the fullest extent. As a business owner, it’s important that your product or service brings joy to others. That’s what makes my time and dedication worth it.

What advice would you give to young women interested in entering your industry? Stay determined, stay focused and keep your head up. The manufacturing and home improvement industry are male-dominated industries, and more women are needed in this field to add to the creative talent available.


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