Helping others make informed fuel choices for a sustainable future and getting to engage and interact with a wide range of people are what Ms Clairin Loh enjoys most about working at Shell.
“It’s a big company and there are many opportunities to be involved in a range of jobs in different locations,” says the 37-year-old. In her current position as an Asia gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) market development manager, she works with major stakeholders - including producers, buyers, regulators and government agencies - to promote informed decisions about the role that natural gas can play in providing energy.
A nurturing environment
For the chemical engineering graduate, carving out a career in engineering was the natural step. The science enthusiast had joined Shell as a business analyst in the convenience retailing business after a stint at the Economic Development Board promoting foreign investment in Singapore’s oil and gas industry.
Since then, she has worked in different areas, from business development for alternative energy to launching a new marine lubricant to divest Shell’s businesses in the North Pacific islands. The diverse opportunities she has received over the years are a testament to the nurturing work culture within the organisation.
“Colleagues are always willing to take time out to help. The culture in Shell is very collaborative and inclusive,” she says. “The fact that the company and leaders have taken risks in giving me roles in areas where I have no experience says a lot,” she adds.
Ms Loh’s diverse job portfolio and the range of skills she has acquired in her various roles have come in handy for her current position. “I can apply my past experiences to a new business area, which is very exciting because LNG is a growth engine,” she says. Since Shell moved its Integrated Gas business headquarters to Singapore, there are now even more opportunities in this segment of the oil and gas market.
Ms Loh enjoys working with her team that comprises members from around the world. Through their weekly meeting via conference calls, she has learnt to appreciate working with a cross-cultural group of people with diverse viewpoints. She has also learnt to interact with different people during her time with Shell.
“Within just one year on the job, I got to engage with top policymakers, non-governmental organisations, academia, think-tanks, students, corporates and the public on various energy issues and share the benefits of natural gas,” she says.
For Ms Loh, her job is more than just work, as it helps to ensure that “the next generation can enjoy a livable environment”.
“I regularly talk about the challenges, such as air pollution and climate change impacts, that come with increasing energy use. By helping people understand the cause and effect of fuel choices, they will be more informed to make the right decision for a sustainable future,” she says.
Although there are sceptics who believe natural gas is too expensive for Asia, she enjoys the challenge of developing fact-based arguments to convince them otherwise.
That is why she feels a strong sense of achievement when the media, policymakers or key opinion leaders echo the causes she advocates. “Through this, we know people are listening to what we say and they agree that what we say makes sense,” she points out.
Besides providing staff with opportunities to grow, Shell also values and supports work-life balance and looks after the well-being of employees.
For example, Ms Loh currently has the flexibility to work from home on some days, and was previously granted a year’s sabbatical leave to spend time with her two toddlers.
“The organisation was extremely supportive and provided me a lot of help in finding a role after my sabbatical and easing back into work,” she says.
She travels frequently as hers is a regional position. However, with the company’s support, she uses technology, like telepresence – a video-conferencing system – and conference calls to minimise travel.
Shell also organises family events regularly, which her family participates in. Joining such events, she says, helps her family to get to know the company and her colleagues better.
Ms Loh says: “Now, my four year-old points proudly to the Shell logo whenever we drive past the Shell station and says, ‘My mummy works there’.”
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission