Name: Terry Allan
Role/Company: Executive Director, Global E&C
How would you describe your job to a 10 year old?
Although not quite 10, my oldest son Josh is 7 and he often asks what I do. He is an Arsenal fan (most days) and the way I explained it to Josh was that “I’m like Mikel Arteta” (the Arsenal Manager).
My job is to help set the vision, ethos, formation and to recruit the best players – who are often far more talented and creative than the Manager themselves.
I then have the privilege of working with the team to ensure we are aligned on the vision and that we promote the right behaviours which are consistent with the type of team we aspire to be. That sounds really simple, but that’s pretty much what my job entails
What part of your job do you find most interesting?
The most interesting part of my job is working with our teams to deliver on the goals we set ourselves, whether that’s strategically or around the broader health of Global E&C. That includes exploring strategic options, generating new ideas, challenging existing ways of doing things and progressing key workstreams which ultimately make us a better, and more successful, business.
What part of your job do you least enjoy?
The difficult decisions that need to be made to stabilise a business during market downturns, like we’ve experienced in the last 12 months. Making changes to a business structure or cost base which impacts people is tough, and it should be.
Last year impacted the morale of our whole business and it was important that we reacted in the right way. We have since secured several contracts and I’m delighted that we have now recruited more people back into our business than were impacted at the peak of the pandemic, many of whom are returning employees which is something we are very proud of.
What inspired you to choose your career?
Growing up in Aberdeen my career path was always destined towards the energy industry and I’m glad that it was. I’m not sure there was a single inspiring moment that defined my career choices, but rather lots of interdependent situations that influenced where I am now.
What or who has had the greatest influence on your career progression?
My parents, through the values they instilled in me as a child. My mum and dad were teenagers when I was born, my dad was a Welder and my mum was a Hairdresser.
My mum retrained as a nurse 30 years ago and has worked for the NHS ever since, my mum’s career choices taught me the importance of supporting others and having a purpose bigger than yourself. My dad took a risk in his mid-twenties and started his own recruitment business, his drive taught me about hard work and what you can achieve when you’re focussed on your goals.
Name one practical thing we could do in the O&G industry to shift the dial on equality?
The O&G industry has made good progress in improving equality on crucially important areas such gender and ethnicity. That being said, I believe we have some work to do in understanding hidden differences in the same way. Neurodiversity is an area that we absolutely need to shift the dial on.
Neurodiversity is a broad topic, however given we are in April is feels appropriate to specifically mention Autism. April is celebrated as Autism awareness month.
As an industry we rely heavily on engineering talents and in the future we will rely increasingly more on the skills of data scientists and programmers as we digitalise our operations. Institutions like the University of Cambridge have already published heavily on rule based, problem solving, professions like these having increased number of people with autism. This rings alarm bells for me from a D&I perspective in our industry.
Silicon Valley is a great example of an industry championing Neurodiversity, many tech companies are now actively recruiting people who are Neurodiverse because they recognise the huge untapped intellectual potential that people who think differently bring to the table. The O&G industry is often a little traditional in its perspective, we could learn a lot from the recruitment drive of some of these tech companies and how they set up their workspaces.
What is the last song you listened to? (be honest)
Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader.
If there was a parallel universe with another version of ourselves, what job would you do there?
Any parallel universe today has to be far away from lockdowns, closed hospitality and restrictions on travel. The job I’d love in a parallel universe is to be a Golf Caddie.
The thought of walking the most iconic golf courses in the world, spending time outdoors, keeping fit and sharing a few laughs over dinner sounds spot on to me. If I was more talented, I’d say a Professional Golfer but even in a parallel universe that’s a stretch for my golfing abilities.
If you could solve one problem, what would it be and how would you solve it?
One problem we need to overcome is clearly COVID-19 and a return to normality, but thankfully we seem to have a way through that problem via the vaccination programme.
At the risk of sounding like a politician, you don’t need to watch the news for too long to realise we have some significant problems to overcome in the world today – no more so than climate change. That problem isn’t one that we can simplify but I watched a documentary the other day and one simple statement that stuck with me was “no one person can do everything, but everyone can do something”. So, the solution is simply to help amplify important issues and let people decide what they choose to do about them – something or nothing.
Tell us something about yourself that may surprise everyone?
When I was 15, I loved spending time with friends, playing football, playing golf, playing rugby and playing just about anything that distracted from doing actual schoolwork.
I was an average pupil and I was ok with that, that was until the results of my prelims for Highers. I failed all my subjects, all of them!
Thankfully I got a second chance and corrected things, but that experience kick started a completely different academic focus and a passion for learning which I still have today. It’s ok to fail – it is often the best bit of education we get.