“On March 1st, 2018, WPTF awarded its 1st Annual Jackie Pfannenstiel award to DeDe Hapner. Dan Richard, Jackie’s devoted partner, presented the award and spoke of his love for Jackie and her impressive career. She was one of a kind – smart, funny, classy, full of grace, and tireless.
Our industry, our country, and our world are better for her having chosen to serve. This award was created to honor a true trailblazer in energy and a devoted mentor. It is also to encourage each of us to honor her legacy and to challenge each of us to carry forward that torch. “We carry that torch by seeking to be like her in our lives, our careers, in how we lead, and in how we seek out the best in others around us. What does that look like going forward? The energy industry is undergoing a transformation at all levels from the fast pace of innovation to leading the world in climate protections. In that Jackie served her country as the Undersecretary of the Navy, it is apropos to highlight a story by Mark Twain about a man entering Heaven and asking St. Peter who was the greatest general that ever lived. St. Peter pointed to a cobbler and the man said he knew that man from his hometown and he wasn’t even a general. St. Peter said ‘But had he been a general, he would have been the greatest general ever.’ How profound that the greatest general this world would have ever known never became a general. What did we as a society lose for that person not living to their greatest potential? What is our industry missing out on if we don’t live to our greatest potential? This transformation in energy does not require only the greatest generals we have already – it requires us collectively to seek out the cobblers in this world and encourage and empower them to become the greatest generals.
“Diversity is the key to creating the greatest generals as we embrace this new paradigm. Diversity encompasses gender, race, age, education, and expertise. We need people who can collectively think from a different viewpoint and challenge the issues and opportunities as we have defined them from our own limiting lenses. As Anais Nin said, ‘We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.’
“We need others who see the world as they are. We need to identify these greatest generals. We need to give them a seat at the table. We need to mentor them. Better yet, we need to sponsor them. We need their voices to be heard. According to a McKinsey study, in the US, for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior management team, earnings before interest and taxes rise 0.8 percent. In the UK, greater gender diversity in the senior executive team demonstrated that for every 10 percent increase in gender diversity, earnings before interest and taxes rose by 3.5 percent. At a time where there are more men named John on the boards of energy companies than there are women combined, we can do better. We must do better.
“This isn’t just a feel good policy, it yields greater results for your company. Our industry is more competitive than ever before and given what we know about the transformative results of diversity, it is better to embrace diversity now and invest in it for your company. Earnings prove that companies that embrace diversity will pull further ahead and those that don’t will fall further behind. Be the next Jackie. Be the one to identify and sponsor the greatest general our industry will ever know. Let’s commit to leave this world better together. This is how we honor Jackie’s legacy.