Opinion: Beers, Guns and Babes Have No Place in Industry

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    Dear Dan Henderson, CEO of Henderson Rig

    Yesterday I was browsing our twitter feed to get caught up on #OTC2017Your advertisement for the big “afterparty” caught my attention.

    Quite simply: It’s offensive, rude, lewd, and does nothing to brand our industry.  It diminishes women and the work they do and the NextGen and it sends a message to the public that we’re who they think we are: greedy good ole boys who shoot guns and don’t care about our planet. 

    SMH: Shaking My Head…a lot!  It’s 2017 not 1997 or 1987!

    Dan, I’m an industry entrepreneur myself. In fact a guy named Bubba and I had a great conversation once back in 2013 about why a “pretty young lady like me is in a dark dangerous business like oil and gas”, and it woke me up to the fact that the stereotypes in our industry need to change for our sons and daughters.  (My Ally is 6 and it appears you have 4 of your own.)  It inspired me to form Pink Petro and it’s why I will spend the rest of my days on this planet to change the stereotypes.

    And hey Dan…buddy… I love to throw parties and celebrate good and tough times…yes it has been a tough few years… but guns and oil and beers and babes are all images that send a different message, especially to women IN industry.  (Lest we forget that children studying to become our next generation — in middle school and high school ATTEND OTC and use Twitter!) 

    And yesterday I spoke out via video...because there are so many things wrong with your idea of marketing.

    Dan…the other thing you need to know is that many women fear speaking out. (Yeah I know it’s hard for you to imagine that since you’re the boss.) But this gets to the cultural challenges and deep rooted issues we have to face changing the stereotypes that your “classy” advertising (your words not mine) is doing nothing to progress forward.

    But really, don’t just trust my view.  I’m a voice in energy for women but my community, Pink Petro is a global community in 120 countries worldwide with women and men who care about the future of the workforce and sector as a whole.

    So…here are a sampling of the nearly 40 notes overnight I received about your marketing from men and women who didn’t speak out on TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook posts.

    Let’s start with the men first…(after all you guys did come first in industry right?)

    A male CEO says, “Being cute will only get you in the door. Being technically competent will get the sale”

    A male business executive says, “II couldn’t help noticing Dan Henderson’s reply on your post of yesterday. I suggest reviewing acceptance.org on Twitter. It smacks of bullshit and is one of the most cynical things I’ve ever seen. Of course it would be difficult to challenge the motivation behind it without also coming off cynical, but it seems obvious enough to me that this superficial organization is little more than a promotional vehicle Henderson has used to shamelessly capitalize on people’s sincere beliefs for his own benefit without any real contribution to “acceptance” or anything else of redeeming social value.  I commend your courage for speaking truth to power.

    A female senior engineer at an oil company says,  It is disappointing to see the use of “booth babes” to promote this event. (Google it – that’s what it’s called). Henderson’s website includes a page on their values – including how they want their employees to treat customers just as they are treated as employees…and that people are the most important aspect to creating a sustainable company and culture. Is this truly representative of their company values? Unfortunately they are likely not the only company at OTC this week contracting out models to promote products and services. Take a lap around the exhibit hall….

    A female executive non industry says, Wow this guy’s marketing really makes me want to join the oil and gas industry. What was he thinking or was he thinking at all? You know I love your mission and what you do for energy but I have to say this is the stuff that will continue to plague your industry’s reputation.  Guns, oil and climate…it sounds so unattractive.  You’ve got your work cut out for you.  Keep going.  It’s making a difference. 

    A female geologist recent grad says, This guy could be dad.  It’s depressing to see people continuing the stereotype. There’s nothing about this party or advertising that makes me feel welcome.  

    A female buyer at a well known energy company says, Saw this yesterday (right pictured) BEFORE I saw your post on LinkedIn. So ridiculous. I’ve had men ask me what color my panties were at OTC a few years back and I was dressed in business attire.

    (Shame on Stallion Oil tools and the 86 likes on this INSTAGRAM POST)

    And the comments go on and on…

    Dan. I don’t plan to get any less louder about the need for industry to change its culture and you play a role in that, buddy.

    According to S&P Global (you know those guys right? …. they power Wall Street), oil and gas companies are dead last against other industries in the diversity of leadership and pipeline of next generation of leaders.  Investors, individuals and institutional, are putting extreme pressure on companies and those companies will be looking to their value chains — companies like yours to fall in line.

    The girl standing in front of the bull…she’s mighty, strong, brave, curious, and has a ton to offer and she doesn’t want nor care for your cheap marketing tactics.

    Thanks for the very public invite to the party tonight on LinkedIn.  It truly is appreciated.  I respectfully must decline.  

    Organizations like Texas Children’s Hospital are very noble causes but I would rather directly contribute to them than to be a part of guns, oil and babes, because quite frankly Dan…that’s the reality of today and the future and you’re a part of the past.

    Best regards

    Katie Signature

    Katie Mehnert, Wife, Daughter, Mother, and Advocate for Changek

    Note: The views expressed in this post are mine.  Pink Petro’s aim is to unite, connect develop and grow women including men in the process.  The Birth of Pink Petro and Our Manifesto speak to our core values.  

    Photo credit: AP/Wall Street bull

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