Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

by david

Creating Inclusivity During Ramadan – hosted by Hayley Meek


Neurodiversity Week 21 – 27th March

Let’s celebrate different minds – this week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week. An initiative that aims to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. We are proud to have the opportunity to share one of our member’s journey with Dyslexia:

Let’s talk about… Dyslexia

Living With My Hidden Disability in the Oil & Gas Industry. Read article here.


Meet Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee:

Committee Chair – Souhila Chetouane

I see diversity as the presence of difference while inclusion as a choice.

We go through life often gravitating unconsciously and sometimes consciously to those like us. because It provides great safety and a sense of belonging. This is part of being human. It’s called bias. It affects our choices and behaviours, but we can set an intention and choose to see different and be inclusive.

Inclusion is actually about looking at differences with curiosity. Treating people not as you wanted to be treated but as they want to be treated and vice versa.

As a female engineer and SPE Aberdeen D&I chair, I take D&I to heart and work closely with my team, our section members and the energy industry community to build awareness of our own biases and create an environment where those differences are looked at with curiosity and seen as an opportunity.

Committee Vice Chair – Hayley Meek

Diversity and inclusion to me is about being able to bring your whole self to the table, without judgement or fear. Differences ignite creativity and innovation. Differences are what makes us unique. Listening and learning from each other is what brings us together. I am very passionate about building safe environments that inspire authenticity and belonging for even single person regardless of background and differences.

As a female engineer, with a female partner and a long term relationship with my mental health, being able to be “me” has been a challenging journey – one I am still on today! I am truly excited to be part of the newly formed SPE Aberdeen D and I committee raising awareness and being agents of meaningful change, unleashing the full potential of all our SPE Aberdeen members and beyond. We hope to ensure a welcoming space and friendly face for all our SPE Aberdeen events, backed by a programme of informative and “human” events.


Committee Member: Richard Cooper

D&I to me is about including as much lived experience and as many varied viewpoints as possible to the table in order to enrich the knowledge and experience for all. It is about challenging closed-mindedness and accepting people for who they are. As part of SPE D&I, I try to deliberately position myself as devil’s advocate in our discussions to ensure we also challenge ourselves and our own assumptions, not just those of others. I also aim to bias us towards informed action and activity, to help take us that one step further beyond simple discussion. I also support the Podcast output and provide a link with the Schools & Career Guidance committee.



Committee Member: Karen Sinza

As an individual D&I to me it is the possibility to have equal opportunities to contribute towards a common goal, from my expertise and experience, and regardless of being a woman, mother, from a different ethnicity.

As part of a team, I believe D&I is the way to enhance collaborative work by achieving common goals while interacting with different minds (genders, ethnicities, backgrounds).

I am the international ambassador for the committee. My goal is to interact with another SPE D&I committees around the world to develop virtual spaces that allow us to know and discuss D&I in different working cultures.



Committee Member: Graham Dallas

I participate in the D&I committee as I feel strongly about the need for diversity & inclusion in all parts of life, not just relating to work and industry. Also, I think it is critical to have a good understanding of the bias (conscious and unconscious) that is received by others, ensure I do not display any bias, and support all colleagues within SPE Aberdeen.





Committee Member: Hazel Forgan

I want to help push for equality across the energy industry and be a voice for those who may feel underrepresented.






Committee Member: Elizabeth McAlpine

I have always been passionate about the importance of hiring people from all backgrounds as everyone has different skills that can provide and help to enhance our workplaces. Being part of the SPE D&I Team where I can assist in enhancing an inclusive and diverse environment, this allows more wider perspectives to be integrated when brainstorming, problem solving and developing new ideas in our industry sectors. It is about equipping our SPE membership with the skills to become future fit within our organisation to provide a greater Diverse & Inclusive environment.



Diversity & Inclusion Survey

To monitor our section’s success in creating a culture that embraces diversity, equality and inclusion, we have created a survey. The insights from this feedback will be put into action to help us evolve as a section. The survey can be accessed here. Thanks in advance.

Recent Events:

D&I Chair Souly Chetouane’s Vist to Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, October 2022

I recently visited the engineering and technology faculty at CBU, Novia Scotia; a visit which was organised by Professor Sean MacNeil, Lecturer of Petroleum Engineering and SPE Maritimes Chair.

During the visit I has to opportunity to speak to a group of very enthusiastic female engineers about diversity and inclusion challenges and opportunities in the industry, then a longer session on energy careers to a classroom. I also had the pleasure of speaking to Petroleum Engineering and Well Intervention classes about the energy transition to a sustainable energy mix, opportunities in petroleum engineering, careers in the energy industry, my story going a petroleum engineer working in oil and gas for over a decade to Clean Tech and Entrepreneurship, failures and successes along the way, the support network I have built within the SPE Aberdeen community and the importance of being an active SPE member. I also shared some insights, career guidance, lessons and tips to motivate and inspire these young leaders and engineers to make informed decisions about their future.

Career talks allow students to hear from real-life role models who can demonstrate the relevance and connection to what is taught in the classroom. Role models and mentors are very important in cultivating the next generation of leaders. Talking to university students is often as rewarding for me as it is for the students. If you want to have a positive impact in the life of our next generation of engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs, volunteer some of your time to share your experience and provide some guidance now.

I was given a tour of the university and was presented with a lovely gift (CBU shirt)! Many thanks to Sean MacNeil and Muhammad Jujuly for having me on the day.

‘Diversity of Thought’ Webinar, 9th September 2020.

This event was the first WIN collaboration between SPE Aberdeen and the Energy Institute Aberdeen Highlands and Islands was run online.  The event attracted over 50 delegates and comprised three speakers giving an overview of their career history to date and their thoughts on leadership, the energy transition, role models and mentoring, barriers and how to overcome them and inspiring future generations.

The presenters were Carla Riddell, Senior VP at Spirit Energy, Helen West, Head of Operational Excellence at Thames Water and Victoria Allan, Golden Eagle Offshore Operations Engineer, CNOOC International.  Common threads throughout the presentations were the need for strong leadership and role models, diverse teams for decision making, having goals in terms of your career path – long and short term, and more awareness at an early age of the industry and all the roles it offers.

The webinar is available here.