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PESA High-Performer Spotlight: Kara Ellis, Commercial Operations Director, Baker Hughes

Kara Ellis,

Kara Ellis, Commercial Operations Director, Baker Hughes

What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?
Although not the most exciting answer, I had no specific reason for joining the oil and gas industry. I was looking to advance my career outside the electrical distribution space and an opportunity came about within the drilling sector. Looking back, I’m very fortunate for that opportunity as I am now going on more than nine years in oil and gas.

What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?
I came from a small, privately owned company, so at first this industry was somewhat intimidating, but now the fast-paced environment is one of the many motivators for me.

What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry?
Honestly, I never realized there was so much that goes into drilling a hole in the ground. From the outside looking in, the concept seems simple but after years of experience and learning, I’m fascinated every day by this industry and what it can do for customers.

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?
Collaborating across business functions can be challenging but rewarding. You need to step outside your every day operations and engage with diverse thinkers to achieve the best outcome. For me, I learn and absorb so much knowledge when working with my peers in other functions.

Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next five years?
There is a large demand for more efficient energy systems, improved technology and cleaner solutions around climate change. Inventing smarter ways to bring energy to the world with a reduced carbon footprint will be key to successfully moving forward.

What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future?
Over the years, the industry has evolved so much. Today we must be more innovative when structuring commercial deals so that we stand out from our competitors. The opportunity I have now allows me to be much more creative when formalizing unique commercial solutions.

How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals?
PESA has given me the opportunity through seminars, events and classes to focus more on my self-worth and how my individuality can make an impact in my company and my community.

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.
Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to work with a large, diverse group of individuals. Listening to different perspectives on a range of subjects has helped me stay open-minded to change, and it’s allowed me to think outside the box when problem solving.

What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry?
I am proud to be a part of a company that puts HSE, integrity and quality first. We are living in a decade where innovative thinking is not just about product design, it needs to touch all aspects of the business in order to stand out from the competition and provide solutions for the customer.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?
We all know this industry is cyclical, but it’s part of the challenge that keeps me interested and excited for the future. Part of what motivates me every day is arriving at work to solve the next biggest challenge. The best advice I can give is to get involved in your company’s internal organizations, as well as outside organizations like PESA to grow your network. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about the company you work in, as well as allow you to stay involved and updated on industry trends.

What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?
Oil and gas is rapidly growing in diversity. I’m proud to work for a company and be involved in a group like PESA that encourages people from every background, race, religion and color to set their personal bars high. We see more women in the industry today than we ever have and a lot of them in leadership roles. For me, this is really inspiring, and although I still feel there is work to be done on the diversity front, I’m excited to see where the industry is going.