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Bevin VanGilder

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EMBA in Energy Alumni Spotlight: Bevin VanGilder

Headshot of Bevin VanGilder

Bevin VanGilder earned her EMBA in Energy in 2019 as a member of Cohort 10. Based in Houston, she works as the lower carbon director for Chevron, one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. VanGilder is responsible for reducing the carbon intensity of Chevron’s oil, products, and gas across the full value chain.

Why did you choose the EMBA in Energy program at OU?  

I was working a rotational schedule in Tengiz, Kazakhstan, when I decided it was time for me to get an MBA, so a virtual program was necessary. As I was evaluating alternatives, the EMBA in Energy Program at OU stood out among the rest due to its focus on the energy industry. I loved that our professors came from the industry and could share their personal experiences. I was also impressed with the leadership aspects of the program, including a personal career coach. Of course, the opportunity to travel during international week and meet with key leaders from other energy companies, including renewable startups, was also very enticing.  

What was your favorite or the most valuable aspect of the EMBA program and why?  

As I expected, my financial acumen improved tremendously through this program, broadening my skill sets and advancing my leadership capabilities. What I had not expected was the incredible comradery within our cohort. Despite our diverse backgrounds, we became extremely close in a very short span of time. Since graduation, we have remained close, sharing not only our work experiences but personal experiences as well. I know that I have made lifelong connections and friendships thanks to this program.  

How has earning your EMBA affected your career?  

The EMBA has allowed me to be more competitive at higher levels within my company. Since joining the program, I have changed roles within Chevron four times, increasing my responsibility with each assignment. Currently, as the carbon reduction director for upstream, I play a central role in influencing Chevron’s efforts to reduce the carbon intensity of our global upstream portfolio.  

What advice do you have for navigating change and uncertainty in today’s energy market?  

I chose engineering and the energy industry because I love problem solving and I wanted to travel the world. Chevron has allowed me to do both. I have worked on some thrilling, complex projects throughout the United States, Angola and Kazakhstan. While the energy market is full of change and uncertainty, I believe there has never been a more exciting time to be in this industry! The world needs affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy, and people in the energy industry have a key role to play in meeting those needs.  

When I came into my new role as the upstream carbon reduction director, I had a steep learning curve. I have realized that growth and career development require constant learning. Taking the step to enroll in the EMBA program at OU helped me to strengthen those “learning muscles.” I would encourage anyone to increase their fluency of the global energy market, climate policy and lower carbon technologies. Identify and grow your own skill sets to position yourself to be successful now and in the future. Work to expand your networks, not only within the industry but also within adjacent industries.  

What piece of advice do you have for women who desire to excel in the energy industry?  

I started out my career working as the only woman offshore. Every day that I worked beside those guys, I helped to change their perception of women in the field. It also gave me such an appreciation of the work that they do, day in and day out. Changing perspectives and building strong relationships takes time. And it starts with understanding others’ points of view. Take the time to learn about your coworkers’ culture and experiences. I have also found that humor can be powerful in breaking down barriers.  

Access and Opportunity within this industry have improved significantly since I began my career. Is there more work to be done? Absolutely, and it continues with each of us every day at work and in our communities. I encourage you to seek out role models and be a role model for others. Share your experiences and ask others to share theirs. Uncover unconscious biases and be open to questions and discussions. Get involved, whether that is with your company’s internal networks or through outside organizations.  

I have learned that because this industry is historically male-dominated, I am going to be treated differently, because I am different, and that is OK. The industry needs us. It needs qualified, competent leaders, regardless of gender, that bring different experiences and ideas. The value that you bring to work each day is different than the value any other person brings. It is your competitive advantage.