OUR GREAT MINDS

Julia Turner

Group Lead, Communications, Cenovus Energy

A communications professional by day and a photography enthusiast by night, Julia Turner is a born and raised Calgarian. She loves living and working in her hometown, but has a passion for traveling the world and venturing off the beaten path. Julia graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in communications and a double minor in business and media.

Six years ago, she started working on the communications team at EnCana, and when the company split in 2009, she went with the new kid on the block—Cenovus Energy, a Canadian oil sands company. She’s worked on both their internal and external communication teams, doing everything from soup to nuts. In her current role, she’s leading an internal communications team that’s focused on improving people’s understanding of the oil sands, using print, web and video.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Julia planning her next trip (Antarctica is on the list) and playing with her two dogs—a rottweiler/shepherd and a border collie/lab.

We asked Julia:

The OGM: What does sustainability mean to you?

Julia: Sustainability is about adaptability. The energy industry is constantly changing, and to be sustainable you have to embrace change and adapt promptly. You have to understand the challenges facing your business and make the conscious decision to stay ahead of them. It might be a lifestyle change, a technology change or simply a change in approach. The important thing is not to be satisfied with being good enough.

The OGM: Have you had a mentor?

Julia: There are a lot of people who I’ve learned from and look up to, but I was lucky enough to have someone who took an interest in my career growth early on. They’ve offered me inspiration, guidance and the occasional reality check—which I credit for making me a better person and professional all around.

The OGM: What does success mean to you?

Success to me is about going to work feeling challenged and going home at the end of the day feeling satisfied. When I get home from work, and the first thing I want to talk about is the exciting project I’m working on, I know I made the right career choice.

The OGM: If you were to describe your career in three words what would they be?

Julia: Fast-paced, fulfilling and fun.

The OGM: What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in the Energy Industry?

Julia: Be willing to do anything, even the unglamorous jobs, and do them exceptionally well. You’ll quickly establish yourself as a go-to person and opportunities inevitably grow from that.

The OGM: Describe a milestone in your career?

Being promoted to a supervisory role at the age of 28. It comes with a lot of responsibility, accountability and high expectations. But in an industry where experience counts for a lot, it’s great kudos to have your abilities considered over your age.

The OGM: Describe a challenge you faced in your career?

Julia: Working on Cenovus’s first-ever annual report. As a new company, there were a lot of eyes on our first report, and it was a critical part of our introduction to the investment community. At the time, I had no annual report experience, so it was like learning how to build a plane when you’re already in flight. I got a crash course in annual report project management and my first dose of editing at 3 a.m. I learned a lot in a short time, and helped produce a report that I’m darned proud of.

The OGM: What impact does Technology have on your career?

Julia: Technology is changing how we deliver our message and engage with our stakeholders. With social media, apps and online news, there’s a lot more competition for our audience’s attention. Technology is also a critical part of the growth of our industry, so it’s important that I’m plugged into those developments.

The OGM: What do the next 5 years look like in your career?

Julia: There will be a lot of good work, with a great team of people and new things to learn. I’m looking forward to it.

The OGM: Were you always interested in a career in Energy?

Julia: My dad was a geologist in the energy industry for 30+ years so, like it or not, our family vacations included regular stops to analyze unusual rock formations. At the time, it seemed incredibly boring and completely unnecessary, but over the years, it gave me an appreciation for where natural resources come from, and how smart we have to be to get them out of the ground. It gave me the thirst to learn more.

The OGM: What interests you to sustain a career in the Energy industry?

Julia: I’m a self-proclaimed environmentalist who drives a 4×4 pick-up truck. It sounds like an oxymoron, but I think people should be able to live their lives comfortably and still be part of positive change. It’s exciting to work for a company and an industry that’s not interested in good enough. We’re going to keep getting better at getting oil and gas out of the ground in a way that’s respectful of the environment. And I want to be part of that progress.

The OGM: Do you have a role model you look up to?

Julia: My parents immigrated to Canada from England 32 years ago with little work experience and even less money. They taught me the harder I work, the luckier I’ll get.

The OGM: What does Energy mean to you?

Julia: Energy is about forward motion. Whether it’s the gas that fuels your car or the passion that drives you personally—energy keeps us progressing.

The OGM: What is your favorite APP on your phone?

Julia: Words with friends. I’m always interested to see which “Q” words people come up with when they’re stuck without a “U.”

The OGM: What impact will the Millennial Generation have on the Energy industry?

Julia: I think this generation will bring an element of entrepreneurial spirit to the industry. We’re keen to learn; we’re ready to turn on a dime when the industry changes, and we’re eager to make our mark.

The OGM: What’s your take on Social Media and our ever changing digital world?

Julia: I think social media has its place, but it’s not the be-all, end-all. It’s great for efficient communication, knowledge-sharing and networking, but nothing can replace a handshake and a conversation.

The OGM: What Social Medium do you use on a daily basis?

Julia: BBM—I like to know when my message has been read.

The OGM: Do you use Social Media for work?

Julia: Yes. It’s valuable for getting our message out there, but even more valuable for listening to what people are saying about us. Corporate communication used to be a two-page brochure—now it’s a two-way conversation. We can respond to questions, address concerns and connect with people who are interested in our business.

The OGM: What do you think of Social Recruiting?

Julia: I think it’s clever. You no longer have to hope the good people will come to you; you can go online and seek out the best and brightest yourself.

The OGM: Why do you love what you do?

Julia: I’ve frequently said I got the job out of school that I was hoping to get 15 years into my career. Cenovus has exposed me to some of the most creative, interesting and challenging communications work happening in the oil and gas industry—and that makes me love what I do.

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