Aberdeen YP Section Makes Great Strides

The SPE Aberdeen Section is at the heart of the Young Professionals (YP) Program, which originated from the Emerging Leaders Program. The activities of the Aberdeen YP Program are managed by a volunteer committee with specific responsibilities. Current members are Imona Adebo, Eliana Arenas, Paul Eke, Masud Javaid, Basharat Khan, Fazal Khan, Anthony Onukwu, Celeste Pastorini, and Alessandro Pozzi. John Donachie is the current Aberdeen Section Chairperson.

The Aberdeen YP Committee was founded to bring people together in an atmosphere of education and fun. The committee provides a strong combination of professional development, technical learning, social networking, and educational support. The program is specifically created for and by the younger segment of the membership, which makes up approximately 30% of the Aberdeen Section members.  The Aberdeen YP group has seen major success the past few years, with a number of past committee members progressing professionally and personally. For example, our YP Program founder became the first SPE YP Committee Chairperson to become Section Chairperson. The YP Committee is driven by volunteerism and ideas. It operates with a degree of autonomy while also coordinating events with the Aberdeen Main Board Programme Committee and Career Guidance and Student Development Committee.

International Relations

Aberdeen’s YP community is very outward-looking and is internationally recognized for its enthusiasm and drive. Our diverse portfolio of professional-development events has been exported throughout the world through the SPE YP international forums. We also actively seek to contribute at a global level through participation in the Ambassador Lecture Program and contributions to TWA. In addition, we often draw on international activities and incorporate best practices from other sections into our program. Several of our committee members have served previously on other YP committees from across the globe.

Achievements of Committee Members

Members of Aberdeen YP committees have played key roles in shaping several YP initiatives. Currently, two committee members are serving as editors for TWA. Past committee members also deserve recognition for some notable achievements, including helping to establish TWA, the SPE Young Professional Coordinating Committee, the YP Network, and the first SPE International YP Forum.

Interview With YP Chairperson

The Aberdeen YP Committee is currently under transition as the role of Chairperson moves from Eliana Arenas to Anthony Onukwu, who has been serving as Vice Chairperson for the past half year. Arenas moved in January 2007 to work outside the region. Succession planning has been key in maintaining quality in the YP program for 2006–07. The two YPs have been working closely over the past months to ensure a smooth transition. In the section below, Arenas and Onukwu share their insights into the role of Aberdeen YP Committee Chairperson.

Outgoing Chairperson Eliana Arenas

What did you get out of your role as Aberdeen YP Committee Chairperson?

I have gotten unparalleled experience in working with teams and presenting to large audiences. The role has also brought me insight into managing a group of diverse individuals and motivating them to perform. This can be a challenge, because all the committee members are volunteering their valuable time. In addition, working with other YPs and university students has been a great experience and very much worth the long hours. I hope to have made as much of a difference in their lives as they have to mine. The pinnacle of my time as YP Chairperson came when I had the honor of being nominated and subsequently short-listed for the U.K. Offshore Operators Assn. Pearl Award for Mentoring.

What plans do you have for future involvement in SPE at your new work location?

I plan to use the valuable lessons learned in my role in Aberdeen to participate in the YP activities there. One of the strengths of SPE is that it is truly international and thus enables best practices to be transferred easily between regions.

Incoming Chairperson Anthony Onukwu

What plans do you have to keep the vibrant Aberdeen YP network going?

Based on the attendance of our program during 2006, there has been significant improvement in the responsiveness to our events compared to 2005. I believe the key to this is the healthy mix of technical and social events. Attendance has improved on average by 190% for YPs and by 120% for students. This is a great achievement. Looking forward, I hope our committee continues to provide an attractive program for our members.

As a next step, I would like our committee focus to move toward an even younger generation (i.e., school children). We would like to encourage kids to consider pursuing careers in the oil and gas industry. Much is being done by different organizations, but our “youthfulness” could make it easier to interact in a more effective way. With the help of other YPs in Aberdeen, we will endeavor to provide assistance in the form of career talks and support for math and science quiz competitions. Our YP committee will be working closely with the Aberdeen Main Board and Career Guidance and Student Development Committee on this issue.

What has been the main benefit for you personally from your SPE membership and work within the Aberdeen YP Committee?

SPE has provided me a platform on which to develop my career. This has happened through quality technical programs, conferences, training courses, and technical information available through the electronic library. Lest I forget, the networking opportunities have also been fabulous. As the Vice Chairperson of the YP Program, I had opportunities to organize energetic and mind-blowing social and technical programs that appeal to the young at heart. Being Vice Chairperson has also given me the opportunity to work with other amazing YPs, from whom I have learned a great deal.

What does “young” in “young professional” signify to you?

For me, it means energetic, vibrant, and “fresh leg.” It underpins the courage to challenge conventional wisdom in the industry, and most importantly it signifies continual contribution to the growth of the industry by taking on challenging roles within it.

Members of the Aberdeen section.


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