Renee Semiz knows what it’s like to be the only woman in the room. Working as a technical services advisor during her twenties she would regularly find herself the only female in a vast oil refinery during the night shift.
“I don’t know if it was whether I was worried about being female, or just being young and wanting to be respected, but that was a little scary at first,” she smiles. “But in every case I had the same hard hat, and the same steel toed boots as everyone else. We had a job to do.”
Now, as UK managing director for marketing at international energy firm Phillips 66, a company she first joined in 2005, Semiz takes a similar view on what it feels like to be one of only a few women working in a heavily male-dominated industry.
“Early on there may have been some perceptions I had to overcome, but in every case I have always proved myself to be competent and perform as well, if not better, than my male peers, so I gained credibility very quickly,” she says.
Semiz wants the same for other female marketers too: “If women could do anything differently it’d be to have the confidence to do more, to go into a field typically dominated by men and if they do, they’ll find they can be very successful.”