As a student, Sue Beattie, Maintenance and Integrity Manager in Perth, Australia, never thought about working for a big oil company. She admits to not finding the idea appealing because she grew up in an environmentally aware community. But, two years into a job at a different company, she was seconded to Shell for six months, working as a technologist at the Geelong Refinery in Australia. Soon, she was hooked on the Shell culture.
“People were striving to produce hydrocarbons in an environmentally sustainable way. It was also the time when Shell introduced the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit. To me, Shell consisted of real people trying to solve real problems,” Sue says.
Since her secondment 18 years ago, she’s worked as Shell Global Solutions Technologist and Production Engineer and Operations Manager in Houston, Texas as well as Business Improvement Lead and FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) Operations and Maintenance Manager in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Sue moved back to Australia in May to join the Browse FLNG (floating liquefied natural gas) project team in Perth. “It’s good to be back home. I was a little nervous, to be honest – I haven’t worked here for a long time and I’ve gotten used to the European diversity. In our team, people spoke ten different languages and we represented almost all age groups. Shell focuses strongly on equality.
My managers have been enlightened, treating all people as equals. But the company manages to get a good mix of people together, no matter where you are in the world,” she says.
Sue has always had incredible support from her managers. “Willem Verdaasdonk, my manager in Aberdeen, gave me an incredible opportunity to run one of the facilities as a standalone organisation within a Shell context. His ability to give that away and trust me to do well was inspiring,” she shares. “The Deerpark chemicals site manager, Mary Mujica, had a big influence on me. It was the first time I had seen a senior leader who reminded me of myself and she inspired me to put myself forward for leadership roles,” she added.