Nancy Zakhour, Associate, Piper Sandler, is a member of Energy Workforce’s Emerging Executives Committee. She recently shared her insights on the energy services and technology sector.
ENERGY WORKFORCE: What is your role with the company? What does a typical day look like?
Nancy Zakhour: As an investment banker on the Piper Sandler Power and Energy team, I am involved in a variety of transactions ranging from oil and gas to renewable energy to carbon management to power and utility deals that are essentially shaping our power and energy landscape.
EW: 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?
NZ: Growing up in Lebanon, where oil and gas exploration and development were not as prominent as the rest of the Levant region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, my exposure to and understanding of the industry were achieved through hands-on and on-the-job experiences that started with a Schlumberger field-based internship. The organizational culture, access to resources and training to further skill and career development, and the focus on innovation and technology within the firms I worked for and the industry as a whole motivated me tremendously to develop and contribute. Additionally, being part of the planet’s workforce working diligently to provide energy resources broadened my appreciation to the cruciality of the industry and its role in delivering access to energy around the globe.
EW: What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
NZ: The industry is known to be cyclical, and I strongly believe that now more than ever, the industry is adaptable as oil and gas continues to play a prominent and impactful role in the energy transition space.
EW: Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
NZ: The industry’s success and ability to overcome adversity lies in its people. In the near term and long term, I hope to continue seeing the industry focus on its talent to develop skill and ensure retainment.
EW: What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
NZ: As a striving value creator, I see myself supporting the industry through the transition, bridging technology and financing to drive clean, commercial, practical, socially responsible and profitable results.
EW: Who are one or two individuals you’ve met while working in the industry who have impacted your thinking?
NZ: Andrew Gould. I find his balanced approach of focusing on execution and results alongside empowering talent and fostering retention to be exceptional.
EW: What advice would you give someone just getting started in the oil and gas industry?
NZ: My advice for young professionals starting in the oil and gas industry is to challenge yourselves, stay hungry and passionate about your roles, strive to acquire new technical and transferrable skills, work smartly, collaborate effectively, and aim to look for or create opportunities where you can make a meaningful impact on your teams, organizations, yourselves and the industry.
EW: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
NZ: Traveling to new destinations and learning about different cultures and languages. There is an incredible amount of perspective, experience and education that can be learned just by listening to people’s stories.
EW: What’s a fun fact people would never guess about you?
NZ: I am a children’s book author. My book “Elissa Uncovers…The Origin of the Alphabet” promotes diversity, history, education, family values and is meant to empower all kids through the journey of a young girl’s adventures discovering how the alphabet came to be. This is part of a larger series of Elissa’s pursuit to discover the world around her where each individual book introduces novel educational concepts.
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