What does it mean to be a woman in energy? For Mervin Azeta, it means charting her own course while valuing the mentors who have helped her along the way. In honour of international women’s day, the African Energy Chamber highlights the unique career paths of inspiring young women and what they believe is essential for success in the energy industry. Their stories offer valuable insights for anyone seeking to enter or advance in this dynamic sector. Mervin Azeta is a manager at Schlumberger working in Nigeria, who has blazed the trails, flawlessly executing low- & high-profile oil and gas well-completion projects, in a mix of operating environments in Nigeria, Congo (Brazzaville) & the USA. Mervin is passionate about volunteering and inspiring the next generation of female science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals. She is a founding member of African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIN), and was recently awarded the prestigious Imperial College London Emerging Alumni Leader Award.
Mentors can play a big role in our careers, providing both advice and support when we need it most. For women working in energy, mentors can be especially important in helping to navigate male-dominated industries. What role have mentors have played in your career?
We know that role models are critical to having more diversity and inclusion in every organization. When I started at Schlumberger, I was assigned to a female mentor. She was my first female external mentor. She helped me get a fast grasp of what I was expected to do, as an employee and with respect to the technologies that we were deploying at the time; she would be available to talk and share her wisdom regarding many subjects. She helped stabilise me within the company. So now I try to replicate my experience for others, I lead an initiative for the company that helps women, who are currently in the field, have access to older women who can provide that guidance and support they need to navigate challenges – both personal and career-related.
Despite being a critical part of the energy industry, women are often underrepresented in leadership positions. Why is there a need for more women in leadership roles?
Diversity brings significant business value; it brings about innovation, enables diversity of thoughts and perspectives, which facilitates creative solutions to some of the problems that we have. There is absolutely no point ignoring half of the talent that the world has; or that a company, industry, or nation, could harness to deliver innovation or progress on as many fronts. We know today, women make up about 50% of the population so then why not leverage much more of the population. Women are also known to have exceptional skills that drive business success, like adaptability, empathy, initiative, learning and multitasking. There could be much more potential for success when integrating both genders into your business strategy.
What are your tips for success as a young woman in this male dominated industry?
Firstly, have a good sense of who you are, be clear on your purpose and what you want. You need to demonstrate competence and bring value to the company. I believe it is important to know and understand that you are an asset to the company, and you are not there just for the sake of quota. Be ready to roll up your sleeves, to do the work. Additionally, you must constantly upskill yourself and you must network. Networking allows you to find people with shared values and passions because you need people to build you up in the same way you also need to be able to build others up.
If you’re interested in a career in energy, or if you know someone who is, make sure to check out our Energy Pioneers Program for upcoming internships and the African Energy Chamber website for job opportunities.