Can women succeed in energy corporations without acting like men?


At a recent Houston conference for women in the oil and gas industry, a keynote speaker, Pamela Beall, the chief financial officer for MPLX, a pipeline company, gave a presentation on how to “communicate powerfully,” in the business world.

One of the most important ways, Beall said, is with your appearance. She summarized the attitudes she has heard from male colleagues this way: “For women in business, the more flesh you show in a meeting, the less credibility you have.”

She said she was disappointed when she saw young women held back from key opportunities because they did not dress “appropriately.” This is something she wanted to be sure her audience got right, because otherwise, she warned, no one will listen to them.“What are the men focused on?” she asked, implying it would be something other than the content of the business presentation.

Beall isn’t giving bad advice. On the contrary, it is well-informed and well-intentioned, based on decades of working her way to the top of huge energy companies.


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