Women in oil and gas: 5 questions with Trinidad Drilling’s CFO

Lesley BolsterIt’s no secret that the oil and gas industry has, historically, been dominated by men. But times are changing. Companies across the industry are working to shed the “no girls allowed” image as they realize that giving skilled and talented women a seat at the table helps organizations thrive.

Lesley Bolster has a seat at the table, and it’s an important one. She’s Trinidad’s CFO.

“Trinidad prides itself on selecting employees based on their skills, experience and knowledge – regardless of their gender,” said Bolster, a New Brunswick transplant to Calgary, who shot to an executive suite after only three years with the company.

We asked Bolster, who became Trinidad’s first female CFO in 2012, a few questions about the value women bring to the industry and the role Trinidad is playing in making drilling more diverse.

5 questions with Lesley Bolster, Trinidad’s CFO

Q: The oil and gas industry has a reputation for being an “all boys club.” Do you see that changing?

I think there has been significant improvement over the past 10 to 15 years in Calgary in the oil and gas sector, as you see more VP and C-suite positions held by females. And that trend appears to be growing. Externally, there are some outside players that still have difficulty understanding a female leading in this industry, but I think this will slowly decline as time passes.

Q: Is Trinidad playing a role in that change?  

I do consider Trinidad to be part of that change.

Internally, at Trinidad, females in management roles have always existed with the company’s original focus in attracting women to positions in finance and HR and, thereafter, in safety, engineering and manufacturing.

At Trinidad, we currently have a significant number of females in Director and Senior Management roles. Having women in these leadership positions encourages other female employees to pursue career growth and helps attract outside talent to the company, regardless of area or level.

Q: Why do you like working with Trinidad?

Trinidad prides itself on where it came from (Trinidad started out in 1996 as a small, Saskatchewan-based contractor), and that is engrained into all our staff. We all will roll-up our sleeves, regardless of what position we hold, to ensure the job is done effectively and accurately. Several of us started in lower-level roles and grew within the company, including our CEO (who joined Trinidad as a Field Supervisor after starting out in the industry as a roughneck). This philosophy has continued as we expand with increased levels of staff and into more countries. As a result of this growth, we have hired extraordinary staff. I work with some very intelligent, reliable and motivated employees and other Senior Management.

Q: What unique value do you think women can bring to the drilling industry?

There is some truth to the idea that females can bring soft skills to an organization, but they also provide more of a balance to all areas of the business. They may look at issues differently or develop strategies that their counterparts may not observe or relate to. Being organized, detailed and able to understand employees are keys to addressing significant issues within any company, and I believe women are very successful at this. Women can definitely understand oil and gas, educate others on the industry and can make critical decisions to lead companies to success.

Q: Why would you recommend a career in the drilling industry to other women either starting out in the trades or starting out in business?

There should be no barriers to a woman who is interested in a particular industry that is male dominated, including the drilling industry. A female should be driven by what interests her and what she wants to be successful at, regardless if it’s trade or business focused.

Moving the industry forward at Trinidad Drilling

Whether we’re finding ways to drill deeper, longer wells or developing the best talent to guide our team, Trinidad is committed to being a leader in the drilling business by looking forward to the future.

Learn more about what Trinidad Drilling is all about.

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