This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallege and all across the globe, men and women have been issuing their “Choose To Challenge” pledges:

“I choose to speak out against gender equality.”

“I would like to help create a more gender inclusive workspace.”

“I intend to support more female-led businesses.”

At the Kenson Group of Companies, we too have been on a path to spread the message of Gender Equality particularly in the Oil, Gas and Energy industry; an industry known to be male-dominated. Over the years, we have been blessed with outstanding female managers, supervisors and employees who are diligent, focused and superb at their work functions. In interviews with two such female employees, we explore their experiences working in male-dominated environments and how they were able to thrive. Here’s what they had to say…

 

Nikeda Baker, Employee Relations Manager, Kenson Group of Companies (14 years)

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am the Employee Relations Manager for the Kenson Group. I am responsible for managing and dealing with all facets of HR but mainly responsible for people resourcing and employee-related issues. Personality-wise, I would say that I am a resilient, business-minded, independent, people-centered and focused advisor, and a very willing team player. 

Did you hold any previous position with the company?

I started off as a Human Resource Officer, and eventually progressed accordingly: Human Resources & Admin Team Lead, then Human Resources & Admin Team Lead, then Human Resources & Administration Supervisor, served as Human Resources/Employee Relations Manager and presently, Employee Relations Manager.

What do you like most about your current position, and being a member of the Kenson team?

In terms of my current position, I enjoy the versatility of being a professional within Human Resources. I’ve definitely been able to groom and perfect my ability to multitask while maintaining quality delivery and service excellence. Kenson has also afforded me the opportunity to push myself and reminded me to work with humility. I also like the colleagues I work with… there’s never a dull moment, and I appreciate being exposed to every facet of Human Resources and the various departments within Kenson. 

How have you adjusted to work in the COVID 19 Pandemic?

COVID-19 has been challenging having to juggle my personal and professional lives. I am a mother of two (2) with one being a toddler. For women in general, this may have caused an emotional exhaustion given the closure of schools, and most times eroded the WLB (Work Life Balance) boundaries, most work from home days. For example, meetings may be hosted with your toddler present; you may also have to attend to your children while involved in a meeting, and most times your “lunch break” is taken up attending to your children which then pushes your actual lunch break to much later in the afternoon. While women and men do have similar challenges in balancing work and home, women tend to have added responsibilities and more demands on their time.

Working in a male dominated industry has challenged and motivated me to prove my worth and strive to excel. I have worked long hours and made sacrifices. Admittedly, initially I was hesitant in voicing my opinion in this strong male environment and I also avoided speaking up (because being an outspoken female you were perceived as being aggressive) but this is something I worked on over time and overcame. My professionalism is valued and respected by all. It has helped to boost my self-confidence and empowered me to motivate other women on my team. 

What advice would you give to a woman coming into this industry?

This industry is very fast paced and meeting the client’s needs are of paramount importance. Also, I think this quote by Sheryl Sandberg sums it up nicely; it’s from her book ‘Lean in: “Women, Work and the Will to Lead’: “We (women) hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. Removing all those internal barriers is critical to gaining power and a seat at the table.”

 

 

Amanda, Business Support Assistant, Kenson Group of Companies (6 years)

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

My current position at Kenson Group is Business Support Assistant. My responsibilities mainly involve providing general support to the Operations Support Team Lead whether by liaising with Coordinators to get quotations or creating and updating reports as required, among other duties. I believe that I am honest, ambitious and hardworking.

Did you hold any previous position with the company?

I have been employed with Kenson Group for 6 years. I completed the Offshore Production Operator Training programme with the Kenson School, after which I was hired as a Production Technician with the Group; I worked both on land and offshore. When I got pregnant, I worked as an Office Assistant in the Human Resources and Payroll departments. Now, I’m back in the Operations Department as a Business Support Assistant.

What do you like most about your current position, and being a member of the Kenson Team?

Right now, I would say that I have been given the chance to learn about the Business aspect of Kenson Group. Before, as a Production Technician, I would have been working in the field. I think I have been fortunate to experience the different departments in Kenson, and I have had the privilege of meeting different people, all of whom have made some impact on my life. 

How have you adjusted to work in the COVID 19 Pandemic?

The adjustment can still be very trying at times. I am a mother and working at home while taking care of a baby is a bit challenging but I do have some help so I am coping. 

If I’m being honest, when I worked as a Production Technician, it was not difficult for me. For me, I was respectful when working with and among men, and I was given respect in return. I am grateful that this was my experience, that I was (and still am) treated with respect. Some women can’t say the same, which is something we definitely need to overcome as a society. 

What advice would you give to a woman coming into this industry?

Always, always, always give your best performance. Stay true to yourself and never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do.

 

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