Shell Oil encourages women to take the lead


Los Medanos College invited students, as well as others from local area schools and workforce development organizations to attend a Shell Oil sponsored event highlighting opportunities available to women in technical education and career fields.

The Energize Your Destiny event came to LMC Wednesday for the second straight year and celebrates its 10-year anniversary this fall.

In his opening remarks David Esquibel, workforce development manager for Shell Oil, emphasized the power of diversity.

“We know the strength women bring to the table,” he said. “We want to welcome more females to the industry.”

The event provided attendees with a wide range of information. One presentation outlined various obstacles women face when pursuing jobs in male-dominated fields. Keynote speaker Nicola Maher, process safety manager at Shell Martinez Refinery, underscored the cultural barriers that still exist for women today.

“Historically, it’s a man’s job. Girls were not encouraged to pursue STEM careers,” she said.

Another presentation offered hands-on assistance, providing resume-building tips and personal review of attendees’ resumes. LMC Process Technology instructor Jim Martin detailed the importance of a properly worded and well-organized resume to help stand out when applying to highly competitive job openings.

The most effective segment of the event might have been the question and answer panel that consisted of current female employees with Shell Oil. The audience asked detailed questions and got real responses from women who have experienced and overcome the obstacles highlighted in the keynote.

Two of the panelists, Heather Slinde and Nicole Pitts, are graduates of LMC’s Electrical and Instrumentation Program. When one young woman from the audience asked the panel their motivation for working in the industry, Slinde responded, “As a woman, I knew I needed a foundation of skills that no one could ever take from me.”

Attendees traveled to LMC from all over the East Bay. A group of students in the Edge Academy at Antioch High School eagerly awaited the event while eating the sponsored breakfast. Seniors Jetzi Guzman, Columba Barron, Andrea De Anda and Caroline Preece explained how they wanted to attend to explore new opportunities and learn from the experience of women in the trade.

“I’m just excited to hear everything they talk about,” Barron said.

LMC ETEC students were also in attendance. Sophomore Alzhan Tulegenov prioritized networking at the event in hopes of finding a job since he’s graduating this December. An ETEC student since 2016, Tulegenov offered some of the event’s more memorable moments when speaking about his own experience working with female students in class.

“Men a lot of times, we want to show off, you know, do things fast,” said Tulegenov. “With women it’s different, they’re collaborators, always willing to help.”

Shell Oil provided breakfast, lunch, and handed out a generous goodie bag with lots of resources for those interested in further exploration of the field. The event also featured a raffle with prizes that included gift cards, Bluetooth speakers and an iPad.

For Preece and Guzman, the event lived up to the hype.

“I loved the panelists and learned a lot more than expected,” Preece said.

Guzman was most excited to learn about the Shell Oil scholarship.

“LMC is definitely an option for me,” she said.