Shell Oil panel inspires women


Los Medanos College and Shell Oil Companies teamed up for the Energize Your Destiny event held Wednesday Oct. 18 in the Recital Hall, focused on career and education for women interested in technical careers.

Many people who work at Shell refineries wanted to inform students that working in an industry like an oil refinery is not just a “man’s job.” Their goal was to prove both men and women can work in a job that requires a lot of hard labor.

LMC President Bob Kratochvil, who opened the event, said events like this are important because it represents what can be achieved when education and industry come together to offer a learning opportunity for students.

The forum, which included a keynote speaker, a panel discussion and hiring & resume workshops, touched on a variety of topics, from the importance of gas technology and the economic benefits of oil refineries to internships for students.

Plant General Manager Nicola Maher, who works for a Shell subsidiary named CRI Catalyst, highlighted some of the statistics from the oil business, including that 19 percent of the staff is women and while that is a small number, it includes desk jobs and manager positions like her own. She said it is proof women have a long way to go in the work field to increase the numbers.

“Women have had to face some challenges in their careers,” said Maher. “Knowing this information, we have to figure out why we don’t get as many women.”

Maher explained to students that for any career they choose — not just for oil refinery — they must know everything about it. “There’s no point in making money if you don’t like what you do. Fortunately for people here, they like what they do.”

Later on in the event, an all female panel with workers from Shell refineries were asked questions ranging from who their biggest inspiration was to what it was like to working as a woman in what was traditionally a man’s field.

In response to a question focused on things they wished they knew more about, Reliability Operator Nicole Sibley said she wished she had been more involved, since there are opportunities beyond just being an operator.

“There are tons of career paths out there,” said Sibley. “If you are motivated, driven and you like to get involved there’s a lot of jobs for you to be a part of. I wish I had known that earlier. Don’t be scared to ask anyone about a position you’re curious about.”

More information about Shell and its job opportunities can be found at