A day in the life of… Lydia Balogun-Wilson

Role: Regional engineering authority for the Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkiye region for bp

Duration in current role: 13 months

Current work location: UK and Azerbaijan

How would you describe your job to a 10-year-old? My role involves leading a team of engineers to check that people are doing their jobs in a way that will not hurt people or damage our environment. Should we find a situation where this could be the case, we share the solution to correct it. My job also involves working on how to make things better and simpler.

What part of your job do you find most interesting? My role gives me exposure to how we work in our various sites to produce energy. I have the gift of helping engineers to interpret how we apply engineering and safety procedures, standards, codes and practices. I enjoy coaching and mentoring people and this role gives me plenty of opportunities to do this.

What part of your job do you least enjoy? I don’t like when people get hurt at work and doing all I can to help avoid this, is what drives me in my role. Knowing the potential impact it can have on a person and those who depend on them breaks my heart – it’s why I believe its crucial to learn and share from safety events.

What inspired you to choose your career? My parents encouraged my logical thinking as a child. This taught me to figure things out on my own, and I think also helped develop my love for science and mathematics. I found engineering to be a good fit and pursued it. My passion for chemistry and physics made me choose Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Engineering as my areas of specialisation as an engineer.

What or who has had the greatest influence on your career progression? My greatest ally is my husband. He encourages me to be ambitious and always works with me to go after the roles I like; we work together as a team and as equals. Women like Angela Merkle and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also inspire me. These are women with strong work ethics and integrity, which are values that I hold dearly. I have mentors both within and outside my profession that provide me with coaching and ideas on how to be a great leader. I am naturally self-driven, which I believe is a key trait for career progression.

Name one practical thing we could do in the oil and gas industry to shift the dial on equality. So much work has been done to hire more diversity into executive roles and to close the gender pay gap and this is commendable. However, we need to build a sustained talent pipeline that will organically pull diversity through various levels of leadership. We also need to support and promote social mobility.

What is the last song you listened to? (Be honest!) You are the reason by Calum Scott

If there was a parallel universe with another version of ourselves, what job would you do there? I would probably still be an engineer as I love what I do. If I can’t be an engineer, I would be a doctor because I like looking after people.

If you could solve one problem, what would it be and how would you solve it? I would eradicate diverse economies and create a single economy. This is how I believe the world can get rid of poverty and hunger. All nations would be equal and resources could be evenly distributed.

Tell us something about yourself that may surprise everyone? I run a non-governmental organisation with my husband called Lydia Wilson foundation. Our mission is to improve the quality of life, wellbeing, and aspirations of vulnerable members of our community regardless of race, religion, gender, or nationality; everyone deserves to live a life of dignity. You can find out more on our website.