Business Management and Leadership Skills Sessions

The Business Management and Leadership Committee offers sessions on a variety of subjects adaptable to full-day, half-day, and one-hour time slots. Please contact if you would like to schedule a training session.

  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Effective Communication
  • Integrity and Ethics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Intrinsic Motivation
  • Collaboration
  • Networking and Mentoring
  • Career Options for Young Professionals
  • How to Write Technical Papers
  • Soft Skills improve Business Performance
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • Global Communication
  • How to make a Breakthrough
  • How to Start a Business

“Diversity: Focusing on the Value and Relevance in Global Business”

This interactive workshop will focus on the deliverables in learning the value of diversity in a global business. In any business, but especially in a global business, success is directly related to the understanding and acceptance of the importance of diversity.  In today’s global business atmosphere, we must take the variety of differences between cultures, genders, cognitive, leadership and negotiation styles into consideration. Diversity is composed of differing elements, especially the inclusion of people of different nationalities, cultures, genders, physical and cognitive abilities, experiences and backgrounds. The purpose of this workshop is to learn to “expand your paradigm” by expanding your soft skills to include an understanding of diversity in all areas of global business, so you can bring the value of diversity to your workplace. In every aspect of a global business, diversity plays a critical role in the successful growth of the company. Understanding diversity and inclusion supports development of the soft skills of teamwork, cultural mental models, and conflict resolution.

Facilitated by Lori Dalrymple, Ruben Caligari, Helena Wu

“Effective Communication: Gaining an Edge in the Industry”

There are many ways to communicate, and as technology transfer changes, new ways are continually evolving.  The way to ensure Effective Communication is to strengthen the ability to convey a message, whether verbal, nonverbal, written, interpersonal, cross cultural, or emotional. In this workshop we will learn the keys to effectively communicate a message through the Communication Style, Intent, Impact, and Overview. Through interactive activities, participants will have the opportunity to sharpen their Presentation, PowerPoint, and Negotiation skills, and become better at Listening and Positive Feedback. In the current industry atmosphere, Effective Communication is a key to conveying difficult decisions, and generating trust and respect. It is the key to gaining an edge in the industry whether one is a young professional, mid-career or seasoned professional.  Understanding Effective Communication supports development of the soft skills of negotiation, persuasion, and diversity.

Facilitated by Lori Dalrymple, Bob Balch, Helena Wu, Andrea Rowe, Marinma Dorado

“SPE Professionals Exemplify Integrity and Ethics”

An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility is paramount to every SPE member working in the petroleum industry. However, the ethical dilemmas they experience while progressing through their career stages can vary in nature and complexity, spanning a broad spectrum from student issues to those encountered at an executive level position. Common ethical issues include confidentiality, conflict of interest, copyrights, intellectual property, data fabrication, misrepresentation of safety, compliance with regulations, reserves overbooking, corruption, plagiarism, cheating, and incomplete citations of others’ work. Ethical behavior is required to manage relationships with contractors, vendors, partners, land owners, competitors, governments, regulatory agencies, employees, management and co-workers.  This workshop is designed to raise ethical awareness and to facilitate SPE members in understanding and following the twelve canons in SPE’s Code of Professional Conduct.  The goals of the workshop will be achieved by engaging the workshop participants in discussing well known case studies from the oil and gas industry, as well as from other industries.  Understanding integrity and ethical behavior supports development of the soft skills of leadership and diversity.

Facilitated by Abhijat Dandekar, Bob Balch, Susan Howes, Peggy Rijken

“Critical Thinking for Effective Problem Solving”

Problem solving is a soft skill that remains valuable throughout one’s career. Effective problem solving is characterized by some of the following: taking into account the content and the context of the problem; understanding of what creates the current reality or status quo; the ability to perceive beyond the immediate assumptions, focus on the symptoms, and explanations for the current state; the ability to think creatively and innovatively; and the application of a systems thinking approach to solving the problem. These are the bedrock of critical thinking.
Through exercises and simulations, this workshop on critical thinking will provide guidance for important aspects of problem solving by focusing on: a) the how to of problem definition, b) hypothesis development and testing of current reality, c) development of multiple sustainable solutions through accessing of tacit knowledge and expertise, and d) clarifying of implications of solutions to processes and people affected by the proposed solutions. Understanding critical thinking supports development of the soft skills of leadership, systems thinking; and creativity, innovation, and imagination.

Facilitated by Rita Okoroafor, Narandja Milanovich, Susan Howes

“The Impact of Intrinsic Motivation on Business Results”

This interactive workshop is centered on the fundamental importance of both Intrinsic Motivation and Optimal Leadership to generate engagement and excellent performance in the workplace. Intrinsic motivation is the necessary basic ingredient to start any journey towards high business performance, innovation, customer satisfaction and excellence, but it needs to be nurtured and supported by good leaders with passion and full commitment. As most professionals today work both as team members and as team leaders in different projects, they are required to learn the skills of how to act simultaneously as self-directed, engaged workers and as effective team leaders. Understanding Intrinsic Motivation supports the Soft Skills of Leadership, Establishing Direction, Innovation and Resilience.

Facilitated by Giovanni Paccaloni

“Collaborate through Understanding the Dynamics of Facts and Opinions”

Facts and opinions underpin all decisions and actions we take. They determine the quality and effectiveness of all human interactions.  Facts provide for a foundational starting point of any conversation and trigger the process of formation of opinions. Opinions provide an entry point for clarification of standards, objectives, and concerns and move us toward action.  Understanding the differences and similarities between facts and opinion creates potential for mutual understanding and identification of shared objectives.  Using the tools that de-construct facts and opinions provides the opportunity to glimpse at the subtext of difficult and emotionally laden interactions.  Understanding the source and subtexts of opinions creates the context for effective collaboration, conflict resolution, and sustainable relationships. Exploring the dynamics of Facts and Opinions supports Soft Skills of Integrity, Effective Communications and Critical Thinking.

Facilitated by Narandja Milanovich, Behrooz Fattahi, Gary Eagleson

“Networking and Mentoring to Build Beneficial Relationships”

Networking is one of the most powerful tools for accelerating and sustaining successful careers.  Networking is about making the right connections and building beneficial relationships.  Learn how to grow your networking skills to influence change and to build collaborative relationships in order to add value for both your career and for your employer.  Mentoring will always be an integral part of our development, this relationship based process for the transmission of knowledge (relevant to work, career or professional development) will enable us to gain personal and professional skills needed to face the challenges ahead. Its importance becomes evident as we recognize the value of networking, advice and support a mentor can give us when developing a quality and healthy relationship. Building fluency in the use of Networking and Mentoring supports the Soft Skills of Networking, Diversity, Mentoring and Teamwork.

Facilitated by Susan Howes, Peggy Rijken, Caroline Huet, Hernan Buijs

“Expanding Opportunities for Young Professionals in Industry: Thinking outside Technical and Managerial Roles”

The Oil Industry is increasing becoming diverse and new career opportunities are emerging. Roles are no longer either pure technical or managerial roles, but mix of techno cum managerial cum commercial roles are emerging. New roles are attracting entrepreneurs in new petroleum start-ups, finance specialists in planning and trading, techno-MBAs into oil and gas acquisitions, and science-rooted professionals into research and big data analysis.
This workshop shall provide opportunity for young professionals (YPs) to learn about emerging career opportunities in petroleum industry which require a mix of technical and managerial skill set. The workshop will have a panel discussion comprised of panelists with diverse backgrounds - entrepreneur, researcher, leaders of new business development groups, asset managers and career counsellor.

Facilitated by Manish Choudhary

“How to Write a Technical Paper”

All technical professionals want to tell their technical story of the work we have done.  We can effectively communicate the results of our work in two ways; writing reports, notes for file, or conference papers and orally through making presentations at meetings and internal conference.   Writing reports is by far the most important tool we have to record or work and to show our colleagues and management our technical capability. Usually, written reports are followed by presenting a summary of the key messages.  Presentations of final reports and or work are made for 2 reasons; 1) for informational purposes or 2) for making decisions.  Presenting the results of reports in a brief, clear and logical fashion will enable the audience which is typically management to be able to make decisions. The purpose of this workshop is to present tips on writing good presentation papers and making effective presentations for both SPE and your work.  The workshop is designed to be interactive.

Facilitated by Byron Haynes

"Personal Mastery of Soft Skills leads to improved Business Performance"

Professionals train for years in academia to gain technical skills and knowledge to prepare themselves for the business world. Adding soft skills and an understanding of how systems work to their repertoire, enables professionals and managers to reach higher levels of performance. Instructors will use a system level gap analysis and closure model to clarify how softs skills are employed with the five system principles to achieve desired results.  System Principles: A system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets, no one individual can see the whole system, systems have a purpose, in large systems cause/effect is not easily perceived and information is the lifeblood of the system. Soft Skills: Engaging the whole system, Productive Conversations, Mental Models, Emotional Management, Advocacy and Inquiry, and Balancing: Task-Self-Relationships.

Facilitated by Narandja Milanovich and Gary Eagleson

“Negotiation and Conflict Resolution - Proven techniques to achieve a win/win solution”

Negotiation skills and the ability to manage and resolve conflicts play an important role in the life of a petroleum industry professional. Examples range from negotiating an employment contract to establishing partnerships in oil and gas ventures and on to arranging business alliances with service providers. Conflicts can happen in a competitive or collaborative work environment, and if not managed properly, they can result in significant losses and failure to achieve business objectives. This 3-hour workshop, intends to emphasize the critical importance of negotiation skills and conflict resolution in the workplace environment. Hands-on, realistic examples will help to demonstrate the need for soft competencies for all professionals across the workforce generations.

Facilitated by Maria Fitch

“Communicating Across Cultures: Strategies for Global Communication in the Oil & Gas Industry”

As companies expand across the globe, challenges to communications grow as well. To work effectively with others from different cultures, the first step is to recognize, and understand differences, then deal sensitively with people from other backgrounds.To communicate effectively, a company must recognize that cultural differences (not just the language) can be a barrier to, or hinder, the effective exchange of ideas or information. All people, of all cultures, want to feel valued, respected, and understood. The challenge is in knowing which words or actions will be perceived as such, allowing for open lines of communications.This session will be helpful to supervisors and managers, however, it's beneficial for upward or downward communication. I've taught this to many young professionals who want the training for a better chance to move up.This session will also be good for anyone who is interested in strategies to improve their communication skills internally or externally, and across cultures. There are often unknown barriers to effective communication because of the perception of the sender or receiver. It can be language, culture, or simple lack of communication.

Facilitated by Lori Dalrymple

“How to Make a Breakthrough”

This session outlines a study that investigated the common characteristics among eight 'breakthroughs' in drilling and completion performance. The breakthroughs studied came from a wide range of operations – deep water drilling, shallow on shore wells, gravel pack completions, heavy oil fracking and re-completion, extended reach, and others. These diverse operations all had one thing in common: they increased value or decreased the costs of these operations by 33% to 50% in almost a single step. This session also finds the common character ties between all of these step changes to find the keys necessary to “make" a breakthrough happen in other areas.

Facilitated by Ford Brett

“Personal Branding”

Creating an authentic, compelling, “stand-out” personal brand is one of the strategies for successful career management. The low oil price, fewer projects, extreme competition for jobs and the explosion of online information and social media mean that a strong professional brand is now a necessity. It is a key differentiator. Across every industry sector, we are seeing a rise in personal branding and its direct correlation to influence and leadership. This personal branding webinar is for professionals who want to raise their level of influence in their a rea of expertise, stand out in a crowded market and ultimately create new career opportunities for themselves.

You will learn:
• What a personal brand is and why it will help you stand out
• Transforming from self-promotion to authentic personal branding without feeling like a fake
• Mistakes people make with their personal brand and how you can easily avoid them
• 3 easy things you can do today to kick start your personal brand

Facilitated by Molly Green

“Beyond Bias and Stereotypes: Embracing Multiculturalism from Within”

Shifting our own perspectives about other cultures is a result of an internal reflection and approach to work and life that proves to be pivotal in to enable progressive career paths and business expansions in the oil industry worldwide.

Facilitated by Maria Angelo Copella

“Diversity Fuels Innovation”


Petroleum engineers are challenged to address complex problems with numerous constraints in volatile markets. Since diverse groups of people produce better outcomes than similarly skilled but non-diverse groups, fully leveraging the value of diversity to fuel innovation is critical.
How do we foster the authentic contributions of all members of a diverse team?
With a focus on gender diversity, this webinar will address:

  • Creating an inclusive environment that captures the unique talents of all team members
  • For women, being effective in a male environment

Facilitated by Betty Shanahan

“Factoring Personality Type in Your Professional Development and Career Choices- An Introduction to the MBTI and it’s Applications for Young Professionals”

This session will introduce you to the concept of personality type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a tool used worldwide to help individuals gain awareness of their strengths and blind-spots, focus their development for increased interpersonal effectiveness, and make career choices that are more likely to bring them satisfaction. The MBTI is also widely used to help build mutual understanding and tolerance, identify opportunities to leverage personality differences among team members, and improve overall teamwork effectiveness. Join us to learn about why this tool has gained such popularity in a variety of environments, from leadership development programs in many of the Fortune 100 companies to career centers, and marriage counseling services.

Facilitated by Sabrina Gesto

“Innovation: Soft Skills Requirements—You and Your Team”

Innovation has always played and will continue to play a very important role in our industry.  Research shows that the best innovation emerges from team work rather than individual effort given that the complexity of today’s problems often demand a combination of a variety skill sets which are best found in teams rather than an individual.   This webinar will present several components of the drivers for innovation. The role of the individual and skills needed to bring into team work will be discussed, as well what soft skills are necessary to be a successful member of a team.  This webinar will include the possible impact of the current product price on the drive to reduce cost through collaborative effort.

Facilitated by Egbert Imomoh

“New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together”

Why do women often feel belittled, betrayed, or sabotaged by other women in the workplace?  Why do women so often report feeling unheard and unsupported in workplace environments?  Based on her original research, published in her book, NEW RULES FOR WOMEN: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together (Third Bridge Press; September 2014), Dr. Anne Litwin reveals startling paradoxes that spur misunderstandings, conflict, and between women on the job, along with structural issues that can make it difficult for women to feel valued or supported.  She will share powerful solutions and tools for ways male and female leaders can create work environments that truly value the contributions of both women and men.
Learning Objectives:

  • Learn what patterns exist in working relationships among women and how women's expectations can create misunderstandings
  • Examine structural issues that create unique challenges for women in organizations
  • Learn what male and female leaders can do to help women succeed

Facilitated by Anne Litwin