Innovative solutions and technologies are required for Africa to meet dual goals of facilitating continent-wide energy security while transitioning to a cleaner energy future.
Individuals such as Eghosa Ebube, Portfolio Analyst at Chevron Nigeria, are spearheading efforts to meet these goals, serving as a role model for aspiring women in the field of engineering.
Ebube is featured on the African Energy Chamber’s (http://www.EnergyChamber.org) list of 25 Under 40 Energy Women Rising Stars.
Please share a brief overview of your journey in the energy industry that led to your current role? What are some key achievements or milestones that you are particularly proud of?
I joined the energy industry through Chevron Nigeria in 2012, working briefly as a Project Engineer on a Major Capital project before moving to an Onshore Construction Engineer role in 2014, supporting construction planning activities in Deepwater operations. My technical interests led me to take an Electrical & Instrumentation Project Engineer position in 2016 where I ended up completing a couple of Small Capital projects that projected me for my first influencer role in 2018. My new role as the departmental Organizational Capability coordinator required me to work closely with leadership in shaping and deploying competency and training plans, strengthening engineering practice locally and promoting human capacity development across several platforms. I combined the role with a nomination in 2019 to lead the organization’s Agile transformation initiative as a BU Iterative coach. The experience of working in uncharted territory, developing, and implementing change management strategies emboldened me to apply for a Portfolio Analyst position in 2021 which I hold till date. In my current job, I analyze business performance metrics and have significant interaction with Senior Executives as I develop my professional, business, and financial skills. Some key achievements over the span of my career include:
- Establishing a hub in the organization to promote adoption of agile practices in the industry.
- Coaching the first fully Iterative team in the organization, using agile frameworks, to build and deploy in 18 months, a fit-for-purpose factory process which has been adopted to drive efficiencies, cost savings and schedule predictability in well maturation processes.
- Completing multiple successful pilots to demonstrate the business case for Agile methodologies and “Minimum Functional Objectives” approach (a bottom-up, incremental, value driven approach) in Project framing and alternatives assessments.
- Revitalizing engineering practice by catalyzing technical employee networks, initiating novel guided experience programs, promoting participation in the Nigerian Society of Engineers community, and mentoring the younger generation through enriched, structured Internship and human capacity development programs.
The energy industry is known for its complexities. What were some significant challenges you faced along the way, and how did you navigate through them to achieve your goals?
Navigating a vast, cross-functional industry: There are so many facets to the industry especially in integrated energy companies which requires teaming across functions and disciplines to achieve a common goal; you must make it your business to know a little bit of everything to team effectively. I had to acquire knowledge beyond my subject matter expertise by accessing training resources and technical mentors accessible to me and step out of my comfort zone, I continued to push beyond mentally imposed limits and maintained faith in my abilities to surmount any new challenges.
Innovating in high-risk, legacy infrastructure environments: Working in a high-risk industry which has operated for decades can slow down creativity and the pace of adopting innovation. To overcome these barriers, I strived to understand the cultural barriers to change, stayed curious and alert for trial opportunities to advance innovation, remained optimistic while relying on my personal conviction to recruit others to my cause, and influenced outcomes through servant-leadership and advocacy.
Managing complex stakeholder relationships: The expression “it takes a village” comes to mind; there are complex interdependencies that comes with the terrain due to the massive scale of energy development projects. This makes it an engagement and collaboration intensive industry requiring painstaking management for successful outcomes. Building my collaborative and engagement skills, understanding the different behaviors, interest, and drivers for both internal and external stakeholders’ and, building strong relationships based on trust, partnership and integrity have helped me with managing such complexities.
What advice would you give to young females aspiring to excel in the energy sector? Are there any specific strategies or mindsets that helped you overcome obstacles and reach your current position?
My advice will be to see your career as a marathon, know that it is shaped by little decisions you make each day, even before any job offers. Be intentional about your decisions, cultivate life-long learning and communication skills to accelerate your growth, always remember that your work ethics remains your best advocate. Do not be afraid to forge your unique path, stay true to who you are, but stay flexible on what path to take to achieve your career aspirations; the energy industry has many rewarding paths you can explore to reach your career aspirations as you contribute to shaping the future of energy.
Strategies and approaches which helped me thrive in my career include an agile and growth mindset towards new challenges, exercising mental resilience to bounce back from career disappointments and “playing the long game” as it eventually pays off.
A career in energy can be demanding. Could you describe a typical day in your life?
The pace ebbs and flows depending on the role, staying organized and flexible helps with the changing levels of intensity. A routine day for me as a Portfolio Analysts involves data gathering, analyzing inputs with some number crunching, holding collaboration meetings and teaming to arrive at finished products which inform key performance metrics and business priorities used in reports, industry updates, stakeholder messaging and decision making; schedule coordination is essential as timing is a key aspect of the job hence, self-management is a good skill to have. In addition, understanding the business value chain, what the key drivers are and how they impact the bottom line and what activities lineup with key business objectives are vital for accurately interpreting the trends. There are occasional peak days that stretch beyond work hours, but in all, it is a rewarding experience in terms of unlocking potential, career exposure and personal growth.
Looking ahead, what changes or advancements do you hope to see in the energy sector, and how do you envision your role in shaping that future?
Accessible and affordable energy remains vital to continue to accelerate and advance human progress. I believe the energy industry will play a leading role in the transition to a sustainable energy future. To do this, we need to rapidly reinvent how we deliver on our commitment to continue to meet the world’s growing energy needs through accelerated innovation and technology adoption. The skills and competencies I have, and continue to develop, will enable me lay an enduring foundation of processes, people and projects that are crucial to realizing a sustainable energy future for all.