by Amelia Irion Drnec '93
Several years ago, three female colleagues and I decided to start a monthly get-together. One female engineer colleague noted that in order to have coffee with another female engineer, she needed to walk to another level and then to the other side of the building. We wanted to create a better way to meet one another and to learn more about the organization. Our group started in Houston,Texas, with only a few members, but grew quickly into a group called WISE (Women in Schlumberger Everywhere). After growing to several hundred members in Houston, it has sparked chapters in different cities, with women networking and mentoring each other in a positive way within the company. Our Houston chapter organized speakers who ranged from internal senior managers in the organization to external speakers who gave tips on balancing work and family life.The group has also reached out to the community to support educational efforts that encourage girls to keep studying math and science and found strong participation for the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Race for the Cure.
It helps to work for a company like Schlumberger, which is committed to supporting diversity. Schlumberger is the world’s leading supplier of technology, project management, and information solutions to the oil and gas industry.The company, believing that diversity spurs creativity and collaboration, employs over 60,000 people of more than 140 nationalities working in 80 countries.
Schlumberger is strongly committed to gender diversity and promoting technical careers for women.This is evident by the support given from the highest level of management, our chairman. In a recent international conference on women in industrial research in Europe, he presented the keynote speech,”Waking up to the Need for Women in Science and Technology.” Another initiative sponsored by the company is “Faculty for the Future,” a program that helps secure role models for the next generation of women in science and technology.
Commitment like this coming from the top permeates throughout the rest of the organization. This level of support combined with initiatives to continually improve work-life balance of employees is motivating.
Even though I no longer live in Houston, I stay in touch with women I met through our chapter there and correspond with them frequently for their input on various work-related issues. It’s these types of professional connections that are fruitful and lasting.