Fueling the Future for Women in the Energy Sector
See how this trailblazer in the energy industry is powering change and becoming an industry role model.
“Remember to be yourself” may be an overused personal development mantra, but that’s not the case when it’s delivered by Michele Jones, Corporate Client Banking & Specialized Industries (CCBSI) Energy Group Managing Director at J.P. Morgan, whose successful 30 year career in the oil and gas industry can be traced back to those four words.
Growing up outside of Houston, Texas, Jones always knew she’d find a role in the energy industry. After graduating from Baylor University in 1988—where she now sits on the Baylor Business School Advisory Board—Jones landed her first job with Prudential Capital as an analyst working on their oil and gas direct investment portfolio - a precursor to today’s private equity firms. Jones knew that making a name for herself in the male-dominated oil and gas business wouldn’t be easy and credits a female mentor on Prudential’s leadership team with helping her find her voice.
“As soon as I showed that I was interested in the material and had mastered the facts and figures, I was brought into the conversation,” said Jones.
She acknowledges that while she was typically the only female in client meetings, by staying true to herself and “being smart, responsive and genuine,” she earned the respect of her peers and began to shape her position in the energy world. After nearly 25 years of reputation-building at Prudential Capital, Bank of America and UBS, Jones joined J.P Morgan’s CCBSI Energy Group in 2014.
The tenacity for learning and leadership that has guided Jones throughout her career recently led her to another podium position: The first woman to be appointed Chairman of the Dallas Wildcat Committee (DWC), a 90-year-old networking organization for the biggest players in Dallas’ energy business consisting of over 300 members.
The DWC was formed in 1929 by three brothers whose “idea was to band a few pioneer Dallas oil men together and create some stature for a local industry that had only recently come into being,” said Jones. In 1934 the larger Dallas Petroleum Club (DPC) was formed from the DWC, with both groups catering to the energy industry’s patrons. Jones also sits on the DPC Board and served as its Head of the Membership Committee last year.
As Chairman of the Wildcat Committee, Jones “works with the Board to make sure we’re honoring the right people and preserving the spirit of the organization” she said.
A lot of time also goes into ensuring the industry readies itself for challenges ahead. “The industry as a whole is in a period of transition,” said Jones. “We’re always going to need oil to play some role, but we have to be prepared for whatever may come.”
Becoming an Industry Role Model
When speaking to Jones, it’s hard to imagine how she finds the time to be a single mother, a highly-respected banker and now the Chairman and Board member of two industry organizations.
“You’ve got to do your best at what’s in front of you,” she said, crediting J.P. Morgan and her manager, Mike Lister, Head of the CCBSI Energy Group, with building a supportive network that enables its employees to thrive both professionally and personally.
“Michele’s selection as Chairman of the Dallas Wildcat Committee is a significant honor,” said Lister. “She’s a trusted advisor to many of our country’s top independent oil and gas companies, as well as a leading voice and role model for women in the energy industry.
It’s clear from the recognition Michele Jones has received from both sides of the fence that living by the mantra, “remember to be yourself” has truly put her out front.