OUR GREAT MINDS

Kay She

Policy Advisor, CAPP

Kay is a government and policy advisor at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which represents over 90 percent of Canada’s oil and gas upstream industry. In her role at CAPP, Kay focuses on the oil sands portfolio, with a particular emphasis on market access of oil sands to the U.S. and other international markets.

Kay was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada at an early age. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. During her university career, Kay was elected VP External of the Students’ Union and has represented over 24,000 undergraduates to the municipal, provincial, and federal government.

Kay completed an internship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. She consequently fell in love with the city and hopes to return there one day in her career.

Outside of work, Kay sits on the Board of Directors of the Young Professionals in the Energy Calgary Chapter, and volunteers with various political campaigns and community initiatives. She enjoys rock climbing, hot yoga, traveling to different cultures to learn more about how they govern to improve the lives of their people.

We asked Kay:

The OGM: What does sustainability mean to you?

Kay: Sustainability is predicated on a simple principle—that our survival and well-being, not just today but in the future, depends directly and indirectly on the environment around us.

The OGM: What does success mean to you?

Kay: Success is setting goals for yourself, understanding why you want to achieve those goals—why they are of value to you, and then achieving them.

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

Kay: Ha. These questions always make me laugh because they remind me of three words that people running for office put on their posters. Impactful. Insightful. Innovative.

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

Kay: Put yourself out there and let people know that you are interested and eager. I suppose this applies to every sector, not just energy. When I started looking for a career in the industry, I wrote a letter to the president of the company I wanted to work for. The letter expressed my interest in the projects that the company was pursing, the skills I could offer, and my eagerness to work hard and learn. The best case scenario happened to me; I was hired a month later into a role that later evolved to be my “dream job” coming out of the university. You never know what can happen when you put yourself out there.

The OGM: Describe a milestone in your career?

Kay: I’ll always remember the first time I stepped onto Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for work. Ever since I started my university studies, I’ve been fascinated with U.S. politics— everything that happens on Capitol Hill has some reverberation in global politics. It was a surreal experience to try to influence public policy from inside the Beltway.

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

Kay: A challenge in my career was deciding whether or not to return to school for a graduate degree after being in the workplace for a couple of years. There’s a certain opportunity cost once I started working that I wasn’t sure I was willing to give up. What eventually made my decision was understanding that the further I progressed in my career, the higher my opportunity cost would be to go back to school.

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

Kay: Everything. Innovations in technology were what allowed unconventional resources such as the oil sands to be unlocked, and it’s the thing that continues to drive improvements in every facet of our operations—energy efficiency, environmental performance, workplace safety, etc.

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

Kay: Lots of traveling, getting more international experience, perhaps moving to a different sector to broaden my horizons … but apart from that, I’d like to leave it pretty flexible.

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

Kay: No. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to people who worked in energy, so energy seemed like a very technical and difficult-to-understand industry. But that’s the great thing I’ve learned about this industry, it needs people from all disciplines to optimally develop and produce our resources.

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

Kay: There are qualities from many people that I try to emulate. In particular, I’m always awe-inspired by women who hold leadership positions in their sectors and maintain a healthy work/life balance after they have children. My observations thus far lead me to believe that women can “have it all,” so long as they can have flexibility in their work schedule. The question then becomes how to create work schedule flexibility, especially in sectors that are traditionally very rigid,—but that’s another issue in itself!

The OGM: What does Energy mean to you?

Kay: Energy is quality of life.

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

Kay: Well, I have a Blackberry, so apps rarely seem to work on my phone. But I do covet my friends with iPhones who have the Nike+ Running app, which keeps track of your run details. (And no, I did not receive compensation from Nike to say this.)

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

Kay: The millennial generation will usher in a greater normalcy and relaxed approach around social media and information sharing.

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

Kay: Social media is becoming more integrated into our daily lives and has proven its ability to catapult change. Companies who are unafraid to empower their employees in this realm can reap great benefits.

By the same token, employees need to recognize that they are fully accountable for their actions on social media. A colleague of mine said it best, “If you don’t want your mother to see it, or if you don’t want your boss to see it, don’t put it out on the Internet!”

The OGM: What do you think of Social Recruiting?

Kay: It’s brilliant. It’s another venue for employers to begin their search for their ideal employee.

The OGM: Why do you love what you do?

Kay: Energy is a vital part of everyone’s life, and I love working in an industry that deals directly with an issue that matters so much to people.

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