One of the key features of volunteering, particularly with committees and workgroups, is that it can allow you to manage projects and teams even if you are not in a position to do so at work. You can succeed in large-scale projects amid your peers and prospective employers and showcase what you are able to do given the opportunities. And when the time is right you can draw on that experience in your professional career. Amber Sturrock is a wonderful example of this.
A risk and interface engineer at Chevron, based in Houston, Sturrock first got involved with SPE in 2001 when she was studying petroleum engineering at Louisiana State University, as one among her several other extracurricular activities, including the Tiger Marching Band and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee. Sturrock found that by keeping her schedule busy, she had to work extra hard on her academic studies.
“I realized that success [to me] hinged on having a full schedule beyond just my career, including professional volunteer engagements, sports interests, and greater involvement in professional organizations. At that point I applied for and was selected to be a member of the SPE Gulf Coast Section Young Professional Board.”
Since then Sturrock has been an integral part of a wide number of SPE events, committees, and projects. In addition to her work with the SPE Gulf Coast Section, she has been a member of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) Network Committee, The Way Ahead Editorial Committee, and the SPE Women in Energy Network. She has helped plan several events, including Applied Technology Workshops as well as the D5 and The Next Wave programs held during OTC. She recently completed her tenure as the managing editor of The Way Ahead committee and is currently its advisor.
Sturrock’s volunteering experience with publications and events has allowed her to lead teams of more than 50 members and coordinate complex events and activities. This has connected her with a wide range of key figures in the industry. In her message to young professionals, she emphasizes the role of inclusion in the success of volunteer management and mentoring others by sharing the skills.
“I realize that the best way to help ensure sustainability with volunteer engagements is to delegate the work as much as possible. For the events I volunteer, I have ‘handed the reigns’ over to other volunteers such that they will take charge of the planning efforts. By coaching others through the process, I help improve their leadership and organizational skills.”
With her engagement in a wide range of SPE activities and programs, Sturrock has shown herself to be capable of managing complex volunteer-managed tasks, complementing her considerable achievements in her career.
The purpose of “Spotlight on Young Professionals” is to share interesting voluntary contributions and technical achievements of young professionals with their peers. If you know someone who deserves to be put in the spotlight, tell us via our online form.