International Women’s Day Q&A: Emily Shults
International Women’s Day first began in 1911 and represents a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Recently, the day also serves as a platform to raise awareness of gender issues in corporate leadership.
Sempra Energy has long been recognized as a leader in workplace equality. Last year, our chairman and CEO, Jeffrey Martin, signed onto the Paradigm for Parity to further advance Sempra Energy’s commitment to gender equity in senior executive roles. Hundreds of female employees participate in leadership development programs and Lean In Circles at our family of companies. Championing people – all people – is a key value shared across our workforce.
As chief marketing officer, I lead the marketing and origination efforts for our liquefied natural gas (LNG) export infrastructure projects in development: Port Arthur LNG in Texas, Energía Costa Azul LNG in Baja California, Mexico, and Cameron LNG in Louisiana. My team is responsible for searching the globe to find creditworthy buyers of North American LNG to support a cleaner energy future for all.
There’s a lot I like, specifically – meeting people and experiencing new cultures! I’ve been part of the LNG team for eight months and I get to work with some super intelligent, dedicated and committed individuals who I learn from every day. I also enjoy interacting with buyers and doing business all over the globe. Most of my career has been focused on the electric industry, California and the western interconnect. It’s been interesting and exciting to build international relationships and learn about different cultures. I’ve gained a better appreciation for how good we have it in the U.S. when it comes to energy access, especially California.
Our biggest challenge right now is competition in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. There are many LNG projects competing to be part of the next wave of LNG. I’m confident that our Port Arthur LNG development project will be the one that prevails with great success! Sempra has more than 150 years of experience in natural gas, and that’s very attractive to customers who know that by partnering with Sempra they can source cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy.
The tone at the top! In my nearly 18 years with the Sempra Energy family of companies, I’ve personally witnessed an important focus on diversity and inclusion from our leadership.
I was a member of the inaugural Employee Diversity and Inclusion Council in 2009. That program has expanded to many employee-led local Diversity and Inclusion Councils across our companies. These groups educate our employees, host cultural fairs, celebrate and recognize global holidays, as well as organize panels such as “Women Mean Business” and employee immigration experiences.
Sempra’s commitment to diversity and inclusion helps us attract and retain talent and it plays a big part in our success — diverse points of view and experiences lead to better results!
It means that we’re committed to a cleaner, more reliable and sustainable energy future for our employees, partners, customers and those in the communities we serve. One of my personal mottos is, “Don’t be the same, be better!” For me, being and making things better is a significant part of delivering energy with purpose.
My hope is that young women will realize that we can do anything. My mother has always told me “you have to outwork the pack, but you can do it!” Words I now tell my two daughters. I’m a first-generation college graduate and began my career as a staff accountant at Deloitte and Touche more than 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working outside traditional accounting roles. I’ve learned so much and continue to learn on a regular basis.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help — it’s not a weakness. Help and encourage everyone around you to do bigger things in line with their aspirations. Be ready to accept new challenges and creatively challenge those around you to perform. You and your teams will be better for it!