By Stephen Whitfield, Associate Editor
While the oil and gas industry has a reputation for its deep engineering talent, it’s perhaps less known that people from all kinds of backgrounds can build a rewarding and productive career in this industry.
Kristina Mays is one such person. “There’s a place for everyone here,” she said. “There are a lot of different backgrounds that come to the table in order to figure out how to tackle different projects and how to solve problems.”
While Ms Mays was no stranger to the industry during her childhood years – her grandfather worked in refineries, and her father worked for a number of E&P companies, first as a geophysicist and then in safety – she didn’t aspire to work in oil and gas growing up. She initially wanted to be a doctor, a career path favored by several family members, and entered Washington University in St. Louis majoring in pre-med. After switching her major, she ended up graduating with a BS in finance and a BA in management in 2003.
Her first job out of college was with a biotechnology startup, managing the data submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration and facilitating the approvals process for the company’s newly developed medical devices. After two years, she switched gears and joined a consulting firm to work as a financial analyst.
In 2006, she decided to join the oil and gas industry after being scouted by a headhunter for a Marketing Analyst position with Transocean. “I enjoyed the work at the consulting firm and was really happy there, but the oil market was really picking up at the time, and the opportunity at Transocean sounded so appealing,” she recalled. “I loved everything I heard about the industry and the company. So, I decided to make the leap.”
In her new role, Ms Mays essentially played the role of a matchmaker for Transocean’s rigs – analyzing the market to find operators who needed rigs, and then marketing the company’s rigs to those operators. Her first 12 years at the company saw gradual promotions in this area.
Ms Mays’ data analytics experience served her well in these marketing roles where she had to deep-dive into analyses of rig markets and utilization, keeping track of contracts and extensions to make sure that the right rigs were available for the right operators.
Active community outreach
Within the past decade, Ms Mays began taking on a greater interest in community relations and sustainability – she had always admired Transocean’s prioritization of being a “proactive, positive corporate citizen in the world,” she said. So she began participating in the company’s community outreach activities.
Along with Terry Bonno, then Transocean’s Senior VP of Marketing, and Janelle Daniel, then-Director of Global HR Services, Ms Mays worked to create a formal role that would incorporate more community relations activity into her day-to-day responsibilities. In 2018, she was named Senior Manager – Marketing Services, Strategy and Industry Community Relations. Eight months later, she became Director of Community Relations and Sustainability, a role she holds to this day.
As part of her work overseeing the company’s community giving efforts, Ms Mays assisted with Transocean’s funding of international programs at the Texas Children’s Hospital Heart Center. This included bilingual educational programs, training, mentorship and logistical support for partner hospitals. The funding initiative, which Transocean kicked off in 2021, also covers funding of the translation of handbooks and other educational materials from the Heart Center into Spanish.
“These textbooks are really the definitive guide on how to manage pediatric heart care,” Ms Mays explained. “Translating them to Spanish really opened up that resource to many additional countries around the world. We’ve been instrumental in helping to facilitate that exchange of knowledge and information around the world to improve communities.”
While Ms Mays has been involved with IADC since her early days in the industry, through frequent attendance of luncheons and conferences, she stepped up her involvement in 2021 when she joined the newly formed IADC Sustainability Committee. This year, she was named Co-Chair of the committee, along with Jennifer Guidry, VP of Global HSE and ESG at Precision Drilling.
Her term began just as the group was about to officially launch the ESG Reporting Guidance, which was developed to assist IADC members with evaluating whether and how to report relevant ESG information in an annual sustainability report. In recent months, the committee has been focused on promoting awareness of the guidance document and looking at how to “help member companies use that guidance to tell their sustainability stories,” she said.
“This is a space that continues to change, and there’s always a new development coming through. As companies utilize that ESG guidance, they need to be fully aware of all the changes in the sustainability space so that they can effectively tell those stories within the industry.” DC