Be Inspired: Takeaways From the Emerging Leaders Alliance Conference

The 2015 Emerging Leaders Alliance (ELA) Conference was held last November in Reston, Virginia, located approximately an hour from the US capital, Washington, DC.  Supported by 10 professional organizations including SPE, the event attracted 90 attendees. SPE generously sponsored 10 young professional members from around the world to attend. 

I was fortunate enough to represent SPE at this event and came away inspired with much more confidence about my leadership capabilities.


Here are my top three key takeaways from this rewarding experience:

  1. Great people skills involve learning about yourself. Part of being a great leader involves having great people skills, which starts with being aware of how others see you and your behavior. By being aware of your “social style,” you learn to understand how others like to operate. Rather than treating everyone the same way, we learned to interact with people based on their preferred style. 
  2. Cultures may not communicate, but individuals do—a great quote from Rahul Dogra’s session on “Global and Virtual Team Leadership.” As a result of technology, working in dispersed teams has become common.  You may have team members scattered across continents, countries, cities, buildings, or even different floors—the same communication principles apply in all these situations. Dogra highlighted the importance of engaging dispersed team members and introduced communication tools and ideas to bridge the gap.
  3. It does not take much to stand out. In the session on “Managing Up,” Ian Cook gave some practical tips on how to build and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with your boss. These include identifying what your manager (typically) wants, and doing what you say you will do. Sounds simple, but Cook explained that you will be surprised by how few people actually take the time to do these things properly. 


In addition to the formal sessions, there was plenty of time for networking with a diverse, yet like-minded, group of people. As emerging leaders, they face similar challenges. I found that it was equally as beneficial to learn from other attendees as it was to learn from the instructors.  The interdisciplinary nature of the event also provided the opportunity to expand your horizons beyond the oil and gas industry. 

For young professionals’ benefit, the ELA sessions from the 2015 conference and previous years, going back to 2010, are recorded and available for viewing at the SPE Young Members Video Library.