OUR GREAT MINDS

Suzanne West

Suzanne West

Serial Entrepreneur. President & CEO of Imaginea - A company that stands for a new way of doing business.

Born in Southern Alberta, Suzanne West’s foundation in life and the world of business came from moving around the globe where she learned about different cultures, and the importance of caring for our planet. Suzanne also grew to love the complexity of the energy industry and the opportunities that it holds, “I have also been motivated in business by showing that we can be successful with a different organizational model – one that reaches deeper in the potential of people and an organization to achieve even better results. I have pioneered my organizational model and it is based on learning from nature’s wisdom. My model includes:

  • It has no hierarchy, but instead teaches self-management, initiative and strong accountability.
  • It values collaboration, teamwork, equality and authentic communication. It seeks out each individuals’ unique value (“mojo”) and fosters personal development and growth.
  • It draws on people’s passion/drive, creativity and problem solving to reach audacious goals.”

“I tried for several years to change the big companies
I was in, but I then decided the only real way was to put my money where my heart was. At the age of 33, I remortgaged my house and started my first oil and gas company and I have never looked back.” she says.

Suzanne has prospered in her career with development of five companies; Touchstone Petroleum, Chariot Energy, Auriga Energy, Black Shire Energy and now Imaginea Energy. Succeeding with every undertaking Suzanne’s philosophy and leadership culminated in her last company sale of Black Shire Energy, which was sold for $358 million.

Suzanne outlines here strategy, “I started Imaginea right after I sold Black Shire. Two major events in my life were the inspiration for Imaginea (which stands for Imagine a new way of doing business).

First: I applied and was invited to come to Richard Branson’s conference in February 2013 called Necker Meets Oxford. For that conference, he brings academics from Oxford Martin School and entrepreneurs from around the world to have a “think tank” type week to discuss some of the serious problems facing the world. It was a game-changing week for me and I came away resolved to make a bigger difference in the world, having experienced some key epiphanies that week:

  • What we are doing is not sustainable – we are consuming our planet in an unhealthy way. We need some significant changes in our awareness, our thinking and our choices/decisions. We must start doing something, start trying to do things differently.
  • Energy can be such a force for good and yet it is known more for its pollution and waste.
  • We have polarized society in too many unhealthy ways–in my industry you’re either a crazy tree hugger or a greed capitalist–as an entrepreneur it occurred to me that we are missing the huge space in between which are AND solutions–how do we make great profits AND not wreck the planet at the same time.
  • I knew I needed to do more.

I came home and wrote Project Step which is a manifesto that describes how we can create a new type of oil and gas company that values all three facets; Planet, People and Profit.

Project StepUp is all about adopting the mindset and mandate of “AND” solutions–finding better ways to develop our resources–incorporating more
creativity/innovation, more collaboration, more analysis, more tenacity, thinking about things more long term, reducing our waste or turning it into something of value, more awareness of our impact, more caring about our impact, more partnership with Mother Nature etc. Imaginea is based on the principles of Project StepUp.

Second: In August of 2013, I spent two and a half weeks in Ecuador living with indigenous people learning how they live in harmony with Mother Nature. It was also an amazing week that crystallized the importance of what Imaginea needed to do. The indigenous people and jungle really taught me a lot about what AND meant. We are at a critical time that we need to choose a different future NOW.”

Imaginea’s goal is to inspire people with new possibilities of our future ahead–a future we can choose. Possibilities that include rather than
exclude, possibilities that increase the size of the pie for everyone rather than fight for the pieces, possibilities that are based in AND not OR, possibilities that can we can not only do better for the planet, but better for ourselves and better for long term profits.

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Tina Olivero

Tina Olivero

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