Women in the lubricants industry conference

Ukla Conf 800

Lube magazine speciality-chemicals

This week’s article comes to us from Lube magazine’s April issue. 

“A catalyst for positive change…”

…just one of the many positive and uplifting comments from an inspired audience of delegates who attended the inaugural UKLA/Lube magazine ‘Women in the Lubricants Industry’ conference last month. Held at the Institute of Directors in London on 11th March, this event was an industry first but will definitely not be the last.

The one-day conference was designed to explore professional development and leadership strategies with a focus on the women who work in this male dominated sector. Built around an innovative programme of presentations, discussions and inspirational speakers, including Dr Valentina Serra-Holm (UEIL President; VP Global Product Marketing, Calumet Specialty Products), Jane James (Chevron Senior Advisor, Corporate Affairs) and motivational speaker, Mandy Hickson, former RAF squadron leader and jet fighter pilot, the day examined many of the key issues affecting our industry, stimulating lively debate among the seventy or so delegates, both men and women, who attended.

Expert panellists represented companies from across the lubricants supply chain: Alison Fisher (Lubrizol), Jane James (Chevron), Catherine Caulfield (Argus Media), Neil Grieve (Q8), Jacquie Berryman (Infineum), Kerry Larkin (Petro-Canada) and Catherine Macklam (Q8). Moderated by James Moorhouse (ABN Resource) and Andrianne Philippou (Lube magazine), the debates ‘Closing the diversity gap’ and ‘Attracting the next generation’ were lively, with a fully engaged audience eager to contribute ideas, insights and personal experiences, enhancing the themes that came under the spotlight: diversity, gender engagement, recruitment attraction and retention, inclusivity, personal development, mentoring, leadership progression and support.

Mandy Hickson, keynote speaker, said; “From the outside one might question what a former fighter pilot and women within the lubricants industry have in common…the answer is simple… When you are working as a minority within any industry it’s important to build a network of likeminded individuals and that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday. Teamwork, resilience and determination are all essential…!

In an industry where currently only 11% senior leadership roles are filled by women, encouraging diversity and attracting and retaining an innovative talent pool is now a key business priority, critical for the success of future growth and succession planning in a sector that faces an ageing workforce.

It seems the wider conference aims, to broaden perceptions and encourage ownership and transformation industry-wide, were on target. Exciting developments are already beginning to shape the engineering, oil and lubricants industries; breakthroughs in attitude and company culture are taking hold and there are welcome signs of a more diverse slate being introduced through new approaches to business. Sharing best practice strategies and highlighting new ideas and methods currently employed by some organisations was a valuable takeaway for many of the delegates.

Dr Valentina Serra-Holm, President UEIL, VP Global Product Marketing, said; “Thank you for trusting me to deliver a speech so different from what I normally do…the success of the conference is a testament to your vision of putting the contribution of women to our industry in the spotlight.”

Jacquie Berryman, Infineum, commented; “Thank you to UKLA and Lube magazine for providing the opportunity for our industry to start this important conversation. IT was a thoroughly enjoyable day and a pleasure to listen to so many inspiring women. I was particularly touched by the comments about how women could support each other more and will certainly look at my own actions through this lens and take any opportunities to do this more.”

Alison Fisher, Lubrizol, reflected on the event; “I would like to recognise the speakers who were extremely inspirational and fantastic role models for women in our industry. The level of engagement from the audience was very high and it allowed for many issues to be openly raised along with best practices solutions to be shared. Lubrizol is proud to support the ‘Women in the Lubricants Industry’ conference and I hope this event can continue well into the future…”

Neil Grieve, Q8Oils Global Sector Manager, Automotive, said; “I am sure we will look back in years to come and remember today as a catalyst for positive change in our industry. Many thanks to the UKLA and Lube magazine for making this happen”.

“A totally inspiring event that not only gave us much on the day, but more importantly gave us solid ideas to take away and implement in our day-to-day operations,” said Catherine Macklam, Q8Oils UK Sales & Operations Manager.

Critically, understanding that a diverse workforce is good for business growth and innovation and driving the need to adapt and transform business practice, is a message that came through loud and clear; collaboration, mentoring and networking are vital to engage and motivate an inclusive ‘team’. Or as Mandy Hickson showed in her presentation: ‘TEAM’ – Together Everyone Achieves More!

The proceedings were chaired by Andrianne Philippou (Lube magazine) and the opening and closing address given by David Hopkinson (UKLA President, Multisol CEO).

“It was really encouraging to hear people engage in the talks about what we can do to improve diversity and to develop the next generation of talent. It was evident a lot of people benefited from mentoring, training and development to empower personal growth. The key action from the event is the responsibility of those that attended and we as an industry, now have, to act and inspire current and future generations for this vital industry.” Said James Moorhouse, ABN Resource.

Catherin Caulfield, Argus Media, said; “The event provided a platform for successful and inspirational women from all career stages and sectors of the industry to share experiences and advice. I left feeling positive and motivated to enact change in support of gender equality. It was a highly enjoyable and informative day.”

Key takeaways from the event were the value and importance of:

  • Building a strong and supportive network

  • Changing company culture

  • Leading change from the grassroots

  • Management to support the changes from the top

  • It is the responsibility of everyone to make this happen

Lube magazine and UKLA would like to extend warm thanks to all the sponsors who supported this pioneering industry event. Given the onset of Coronavirus – COVID-19 and its complications across every aspect of the business, professional and personal lives, they are grateful that so many were able to join them on the day. They thank each attendee for making the inaugural event such a resounding success and look forward to seeing what 2021 has to offer!