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High-Performer Spotlight: Jennifer Shafer, Aftermarket Services Marketing, GCFP Manager, Caterpillar Oil & Gas

Shafer is a graduate of the Council’s Executive Leadership Program and recently shared her insights on the OFS sector.Jennifer Shafer, Caterpillar Oil & Gas

COUNCIL: Why did you join the oil and gas industry? Was there an individual who influenced your decision? Was there an event or piece of technology that got you excited?

Jennifer Shafer: I joined the industry purely from an opportunity to relocate from the small farming community where I grew up to Houston. The idea of working in the energy sector in one of the largest cities in the country was fascinating to me.

COUNCIL: What individual has been most instrumental in helping with your career? What did their mentorship look like and how did it guide your path?

JS: I’ve had several mentors including teachers, coaches and professional peers who have given great advice. I also consider those who created a negative experience as mentors because those situations are opportunities for me to think about how I would take a different approach to improve the situation. One “negative” mentor told me that it’s impossible to give “110%.” I will always remember that conversation and have worked to prove that statement wrong. 

COUNCIL: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?

JS: Growing up in a small farming community in the Midwest, I had little knowledge about the industry. My first impression was what I saw on the TV series “Dallas,” which seemed like men in business suits striking oil.

Fast forward, my impression of the industry has evolved significantly, and I admire the hard-working people who contribute to serving one of our basic needs: energy. The oil and gas industry is critical because every life is impacted by the work done by the men and women in the industry. The commitment our customers have to power our world is remarkable.

COUNCIL: What has surprised you most about the industry? 

JS: I was warned how cyclical the industry can be, but what surprised me the most is how quickly the industry can rebound and how important it is to be ready when that happens. I was also surprised by the acquisitions, start-ups and spin-offs within the industry and how tightknit the industry really is.

COUNCIL: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?

JS: I hope our commitment to ESG changes the way people think about the industry and eliminates any fears about entering the industry.

COUNCIL: How has your involvement in the Council supported your career goals? 

JS: My involvement in the Executive Leadership Program has guided my approach and completely changed the direction I thought my career was heading in the future. The tools, mentorship, training and hearing people in other organizations talk about their experiences significantly changed my approach for the better.

COUNCIL: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?

JS: Leslie Beyer has changed the way I think about the industry through listening to her talk about her own experience on her podcast and reading the many articles on the Council’s site.  In addition, I want to recognize my Executive Leadership Program mentor, Lindsy Sallee, NOV, who impacted my thinking about how I approach my career and provided great advice that I use for myself and have passed along to others.

COUNCIL: What project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?

JS: I’m a “Six Sigma Blackbelt” so I’ve worked on many projects that I’m proud of. A recent project was leading the United Way campaign for our local office and finding unique ways to engage and encourage our employees virtually to give back to our community.

COUNCIL: What’s a technology or innovation you’ve seen in the OFS that impressed you?

JS: The innovation and continuous advancement of digitalization and real-time data analytics has impressed me the most. Digital solutions not only benefit our customers through increased productivity while decreasing costs, but also provides many job opportunities in the industry and will continue to advance and be widely accepted by the industry as a standard.

COUNCIL: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?

JS: Join an organization like the Council and take advantage of every opportunity to learn as much as you can about the industry. And hang on! It’s a roller coaster ride and what goes down must come up!

COUNCIL: What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?

JS: Oil and gas is more than the fuel in your gas tank. Almost every aspect of the world depends on oil and gas, and the men and women who work every day to bring energy to the world are dedicated and committed.

COUNCIL: What do you do for fun?

JS: I enjoy spending time with my family and supporting my kids in their activities. I also enjoy my four dogs, running and shopping.

COUNCIL: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?

JS: Relaxing on a beach with no set schedule.

COUNCIL: What’s a fun fact that people would never guess about you?

JS: I’m an Ironman Finisher (full triathlon distance sport: 2.4-mile swim / 112 mile bike / 26.2 mile run). I trained while working full time and raising four kids and four dogs!

For more information on the Emerging Executives Committee and High Performer Spotlights, contact Council COO Molly Determan.

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