Powerful Women Of Energy

Suzanne West, Imaginea Energy, President & CEO "It Starts From Within"

Suzanne West, Imaginea Energy, President & CEO

“It starts from within”.

Changing an entire industry to collaboration and “AND” solutions for a sustainable future.

Using words such as “mojo”, “amazingness”, and “Mother Nature” are not the typical words in most oil and Gas CEO’s vocabulary. But for Suzanne West, President and CEO of Imaginea Energy Trust, they are her everyday inspirations.

“I care deeply about people and see them as fundamentally amazing. I look to help other see their own amazingness,” Says West.

For over 25 years, West has been making her mark on the energy industry by building her own energy companies such as Black Shire Energy Ltd., which was recently sold to Twin Butte Energy Ltd. in a deal worth $358 million. West also won the 2013 RBC Canadian Women PROFIT Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship, and she helps people develop their own “amazingness”.

What’s unique about West’s career isn’t that she has started numerous energy companies, or is a female CEO in a predominantly male industry. Rather, it’s her approach to how she runs her companies and the teams within that have made her a success.


Prior to running her own start-ups, West recognized the current way of running a team – the “command, control” hierarchy – did not work. A large part of this was because people were not being treated as a great asset within a company nor being helped to reach their greatest potential. When really, they should be.

West was given the opportunity to implement her own way of running a team, which is something she calls her “Secret Sauce”. Growing up, West always had this love of and connection with nature. She was ever in awe of how nature just knew how to survive and adapt. Recognizing a business system is very close to an ecosystem, West developed a new business model based on her understanding of how Mother Nature works.

First, nature has no hierarchy. There are no real middle managers but only a leader and people who know what they are doing. You teach people to understand how they impact others and how to grow the company.

Nature is evolutionary and is continually adapting to always get better. It’s about teaching organizations to be innovative, creative, and adaptive more than commanding and controlling.

Everything on earth has a special role and understands what this role is, no better, no worse. By helping teams to understand how their role fits, individuals typically find more menacing and satisfaction in their work. Finding this in people helps build/grow their role around their special abilities.

Finally, nature operates as an ecosystem where everything is connected and adapts for the greater good. Organizations and teams must stop being separated within themselves and focus on collaboration for their greater good. It’s about building an atmosphere that is not competitive but connected and focused on the same goals.

With her “Secret Sauce” in place, West saw her teams thrive and innovate by meeting and exceeding goals.


Stepping forward to early 2013, just prior to selling Black Shire Energy, West had the great opportunity to spend a week on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. After a week of collaborative thinking and sharing ideas with other leaders on how to better each other’s community, West had the realization that what the Energy industry was currently doing would simply not build a path of true sustainability. At the end of this week, West declared she was going to change her industry for the betterment of the entire world.

True change to an industry does not come from outside forces. Rather, it starts from within. Having already started to change how oil and gas companies can operate with her Mother Nature business model, West had set a foundation to build the next level, which she called Project Step Up. The sale of Black Shire inspired West to start funding for her new business venture, Imaginea Energy Corp, which is an energy company focused on people, planet, and profit. A company that focuses on how we can do better together rather than being better than everyone.

Now, with all funding secured, Imaginea will operate on Project Step Up’s four key principles of stepping up to sustainability, stepping up to our greatness, stepping up to our connectedness, and stepping up to an ‘AND’ solution (Abundance with No Division).


To further develop a solid foundation for Imaginea and the principles of stepping up, West travelled to Ecuador in August 2013 to live among and learn from the indigenous people of the Andes (Quichua) and the Amazon Rainforest (Achuar). On this life-changing experience, West gained an in-depth understanding of how people can live in harmony with the planet AND still profit. It’s simply a matter of looking at ways to see three sides: the side of people, the side of the planet, and the side of profits.

Already, companies are seeing the need for change. Oil and gas companies are looking at how to “fix” the land they’ve touched through reclamation initiatives, but what Imaginea is looking at is how to not even “break” it in the first place.

In the energy sector, there’s been a shift over the past few years. A shift where, “More entrepreneurial adventurers are gravitating towards [the industry],” says West. It is these innovative thinkers, in collaboration with the technology we have and the technology still yet to be developed, who will discover how we can still extract energy from the earth for the benefit of all people without hurting it in the first place AND still profit.

West is on a mission to empower and develop creative minds. She wants to make Imaginea a pioneering solution demonstrating we can have ‘AND’ solutions. The shift in her industry is showing people are ready to start living in harmony again with the planet but only by going forward with our innovation, technology, and people.

It’s a matter of asking simple questions like, “How can you make profit rom waste products?” or, “Can we reduce waste with a different type of operation?” Imaginea is empowering people to look for the solutions to these questions, and by building together, we will see the equal success of our Planet, our People, and our Profits.


When asked if West believes her gender provided any specific challenges on her journey to success, West responds, “No. It’s been a huge advantage, because I don’t have the need to be in charge [or] have power all the time. Instead, I like collaborating and having win-win scenarios.” For West, her success hasn’t been because she is a woman; although, she does admit she brings herself and her skills as a woman to the table. Rather, her success has been about who she’s surrounded herself with. It’s about the person, not the gender. She found people who believed in her own organizational model centred on integration and collaboration, and she proved these were keys to thriving in her industry.

Imaginea and Project Step Up will thrive through these same beliefs. They’re now more focused on finding new ways of developing the planet, people, and profits together.


“I have a very healthy imagination and see the world as a sea of possibility,” West continues. “If you can take an industry like oil and gas and show this ‘AND’ thinking works, you can bring it to any industry.” Imaginea is simply changing how we are living in the world with each other. It’s not about having more. It’s about having a greater positive influence right from the start. Let’s start!



Jill Drader, Steel Toe Stiletto Ltd., Owner, Founder, Public Speaker

Women in work boots. Find the dream, then find a way.

What we need is to connect through storytelling and sharing our passions – whether a man or a woman – we can only make changes through connecting.” Jill Drader has a mission: increase diversity in apprenticeship numbers, oilfield services, cargo and hauling, construction, heavy equipment repair, and business ownership. How? Through connecting, sharing, and storytelling. A tile setter by trade (Journeyman) and a love of research (University of Alberta, BA), Jill founded Women in Work Boots (WIWB) in 2009 to help fulfill her diversity mission, starting with her 100 Women initiative. 100 Women shares the stories of women who have seen success in the trades, construction, and energy sectors, and it connects them to other women who may not know what one can do or how to succeed.

To further help women once they’ve made the decision to enter the trades, Jill started Steel Toe Stiletto Ltd. through WIWB. This helps to provide navigation when entering apprenticeship programs, specifically starting one’s own contracting business or even provide consulting/speaking to organizations actively looking to focus on diversity initiatives.

In just five years, Jill has seen WIWB grow exponentially across Alberta. Most recently, with the release of the very first edition of the Women In Work Boot’s online magazine, Jill has received interest from across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and even Australia about how people can reach the women featured in the magazine, and when is a Women in Work Boots office coming to their area. Jill has opened a way for women to realize what their passions and dreams could be, and then she provided a guide for them to reach it. It’s easy to see the impact Jill’s vision is having, and it’s incredible to think of where she will take her vision in the next five years!



Anne-Marie Rush, Noise Solutions, Business Development Lead Calgary Women in Energy, President

Developing People of Energy.

Five and a half years ago, Anne-Marie Rush joined Noise Solutions and had her first encounter with the energy industry. At the time, Anne-Marie found access to powerful women in the industry hard to come by and noticed her direct supervisors and the majority of her colleagues were male.This caused her to actively seek out women in the industry to learn from and share growth with.

This having to seek out a mentor began Anne-Anne-Marie’sMarie’s passion for increasing the number of women in the energy sector. So much so that Anne-Marie currently serves as the President of the Calgary Women in Energy (CWIE). She helps herself and other women become more confident in what makes them unique and utilizes these unique skills to encourage their further participation within the energy industry. She builds people up on their strengths by using her empathy and compassion to connect with other women, clients, and her sales team.

Ultimately, Anne-Marie’s vision and hope for the industry is the removal of the “Women of Energy” slogan. This should become a “People of Energy” industry where women are no longer an exception but the norm alongside their male co-workers. While she knows CWIE is giving women a platform to build their confidence and better understand their influence on the industry, the main goal should be about eliminating the need for gender segregated groups. It’s about supporting your peers and appreciating the differences each gender has from developing relationships and clients on compassion and empathy to enthusiastically celebrating successes.

Committed to educating, socializing, and giving back to the industry by drawing on the strengths of both women and men, Anne-Marie sees a better, more rounded and balanced industry developing right before her.



Shannon Cameron, Baker Hughes, Account Manager, Calgary Women in Energy, Vice President

Empowering women to step up.

Empowering women to step into their confidence and embrace what they can uniquely offer drives Shannon Cameron, both within Baker Hughes and as Vice President of Calgary Women in Energy.

Born and raised in Calgary, Shannon has always been intrigued by the Energy industry. While she doesn’t bring a technical background like many of her field and operations counterparts, she does bring a unique business mindset. She adds benefit to the teams she has been a part of by asking questions such as, “Why?” and, “How?” instead of doing what has always been done.

In just seven years, Shannon has set herself apart through her willingness to focus on her own development, specifically within the technical training and leveraging the resources available to her in her organization. She also understands the strength that comes from a community. She wants to be a part of the discussion, whether it be how to improve a team or increase the number of women within the industry.

Shannon recognizes the importance of connections, which has allowed her to seize opportunities to make an impact within the industry. Her current company, Baker Hughes, intrigued her by having a Women’s Resource Group to help promote diversity and inclusion within the energy industry. Now the co-chair of this group, Shannon is thrilled to be able to promote inclusion, knowledge, and empowerment from within an organization in addition to the work she’s been doing with the Calgary Women in Energy.

As Shannon puts it, “When [women] are all looking towards the same goal, that’s when the difference is made. As long as we can be there to support each other, encourage each other, and lift each other up, that’s how we’ll continue to make further impact.”



Denean Tomlin, WaVv Business Development, President & COO

Linking innovators across industries.

Denean Tomlin connects across industries for innovations, people, and technology. Co-owner of WaVv Business Development, Denean strategically helps businesses within the Aerospace Defence and Security (ADS) industry to strategically expand their reach. However, what captured Denean’s passion was helping companies better understand how to diversify their technology across various industries for advancements.

With the Energy and ADS industries’ innovations being so closely linked, Denean is now looking for ways to best connect the people with these world class developments and technologies. One way she is furthering this connection is through WaVv’s yearly conference WestDef, Western Canada’s Premier Defence and Security Conference. Now in its fifth year, the conference has become the third largest aerospace and security conference, and it draws in attendees and presenters from the energy industry due to the crossover of multiple innovations and technology.

Through WaVv, Denean looks for win-win situations for the benefit and safety of all industries and people. It is her strong belief that, “Technology is the enabler of all industries. Why wouldn’t we take our investments and advancements and find ways to exploit them to better our city, our province, our country, [and] our people?” Whether protecting our environment or protecting our people, investing in them is paramount. It is the connection between the two, the connection of innovations and technologies, that will move industries into new areas of thinking outside the box and understanding where they can go in a whole other light.

Believing there are not barriers in this world, rather just a lack of asking how one can be involved, Denean is someone who leads by example, asks where she can utilize her ability to connect, and then empowers innovators to do what they do in even more impactful ways.



Tina Olivero, OGM Founder

Transforming chance into change.

Behind every great vision is a story of determination, positive influence, perseverance, and the commitment to see the vision through.

Tina Olivero, founder and editor in chief of OGM Magazine, transformational leadership speaker and mother of three, took a leap of faith 22 years ago by starting an oil and gas magazine without any actual industry background. Skeptical at the time, she now realizes you don’t have to know it all in an industry that is constantly changing and growing.

As a 27 year old single mother living in Newfoundland with a background in graphic design and teaching, Tina recognized the early 1990’s brought a turning point for the Province, the turning point of what was now going to be their primary resource. After attending an oil and gas conference focused on offshore resource growth through collaboration, she knew she could best help by creating a vehicle for communication. As Tina points out, “Energy is everyone’s business. We all have it and we all want it.” After speaking with over 40 industry people, Tina knew her contribution to this growing industry would be through a magazine, which gave birth to The OGM.

Tina recognized energy wasn’t just about cultivating resources, it was also about enhancing a culture. A culture of simplified communication that allows information to be easily understood. “We wanted to create an open platform for ANYONE to understand the industry,” she says.

For Tina, The OGM was about communicating what is possible while focusing on being a positive change agent. Committed to growing the industry and seeing her province prosper, The OGM wholeheartedly helped continue to spread the news throughout Atlantic Canada and later make its way into Alberta with the help and expertise of Munaf Samji. Sharing Tina’s vision and passion, Munaf has been instrumental in helping grow and expand The OGM’s vision into Alberta and across the Globe.

It is clear when Tina speaks, people listen. As an author, world renowned speaker, coach, and Corporate Speaker, Tina’s newest company, “Transform with Tina”, helps thousands of people around the world embrace their full personal and professional potential. With a passion for seeing people fulfill their goals and an insatiable appetite to make a difference in people’s lives, Tina’s programs take companies from limited performance to peak performance.

Investing in ourselves and proving circumstances are never bigger than us, Tina has not only changed individual lives but a province’s industry all because she had a vision and the drive to succeed. After all, as Tina tells it, “Life only gets exciting when we get up on the black diamonds and leave the green runs.”

For more information about Tina visit: www.transformwithtina.com.


Nadene Bateman, Taylor Land Services, President/ CEO & Co-founder

Taylor Land Services is a full service, surface land consulting firm. By blending modern administrative tools and old fashioned land work, Taylor Land has built a reputation for taking the stress out of surface.

Nadene and the Taylor Land team build and maintain relationships with stakeholders, the regulatory bodies, First Nation Communities and clients. And with this personal approach, comes trust, collaboration and the opportunity to work with someone who knows your exact needs at all times.

Industry relationships are the foundation for Taylor Land’s success. Nadene has built strong strategic partnerships with industry leading suppliers. In doing so, Taylor Land Services can manage a project from proposal to completion.

Nadene is a CAPLA Board Member and a strong supporter of CAPLA’s education mandate. Nadene also instructs a CAPLA course and encourages knowledge sharing amongst industry.



Cathy Lotwin, CAPLA, President

Cathy Lotwin, CAPLA, President

CAPLA helped her stay one step ahead during her successful career in land asset management

Cathy joined the Canadian Association of Petroleum Land Administration (CAPLA) one day after it was formed 20 years ago. Ever since, she has relied on CAPLA whenever her career entered a new phase.

“As I faced new challenges in my career, if I needed to take a particular course or develop a particular skill, CAPLA always seemed to offer what I was looking for,” she said.

“Involvement in a professional association like CAPLA gives you the opportunity to build a broader skill set than you could in your own workplace.”

After serving CAPLA in various volunteer capacities for 20 years, Cathy assumed the role of Board President in 2013. Currently working as a Team Lead in Talisman Energy’s land department, she sees her CAPLA presidency as, “An opportunity to enhance my leadership skills in ways that might only happen if I was in a senior management role within a company.”

Cathy says CAPLA’s 20th anniversary has been an important opportunity to promote the association, which now represents 2,800 people working in land asset management across Canada. She said CAPLA continually strives to elevate the profile of a discipline that has changed significantly since the organization was created.

“The expertise required of CAPLA members has dramatically increased in complexity since 1994,” Cathy said. “The expectations for sophisticated analysis, legal awareness, and an under­ standing of technical aspects of operations are much greater today.”Cathy said CAPLA is a widely ­recognized and well­ respected professional association within the Canadian oil and gas industry. “If you work in any aspect of land asset management, being a member of CAPLA is important both to take advantage of all that CAPLA offers, and because it has become an industry expectation.”