Defined by the grit and the grime when oil once gurgled out of the earth, the oil and gas industry has been filled to the brim with old-fashioned masculine moxie for over a century. But just as production has been redefined over the years, so too have the faces of the industry, and it’s starting to look, well, more refined. While the confines of The Petroleum Club in Houston exudes old world comfort and luxury — a place where if the walls could talk they would reminisce of the days of a good ole’ boys club — a new era has been ushered in.
At the entrance to the grand ballroom of the Houston Petroleum Club, donning a polished black skirt-suit with impeccable style and a smile that would give warmth to a hearth in winter, strolls Nell St. Cyr, the club’s out-going president. “Hello, welcome to the Club,” she exclaims as she welcomes guests into the room.
Unlike those before her, St. Cyr, is the first female President of Houston’s long-standing and prestigious Petroleum Club. Selected out of eight other nominees, St. Cyr was responsible for overseeing the board, board meetings and operational matters with the staff of the club. “Being selected was such an honor. So many people were supporting me among the membership and most importantly the employees,” said St. Cyr.
St. Cyr’s appointment as president comes after almost 68 years of male representation at the city’s historic club. This monumental shift in leadership garnered recognition for St. Cyr by the Dallas-based organization Women That Soar (WTS), focused on celebrating the achievements of “legendary women” as a Legacy Award nominee. St. Cyr was grouped with Former First Lady of Mexico, Marta Fox, Former President of the Women’s National Basketball Association, Donna Orender and Princess Reema Bandar of Saudi Arabia, to name a few.
The award was eventually given to St. Cyr. The organization’s CEO, Gina Grant, said, “She won the award because she was the first female to be president of the Petroleum Club. It’s a legacy she has set; it paves the way for other women in that club and in other organizations where the leadership is predominantly male. It tells women that no matter what barriers there are that they can do it too.”
The honor of being recognized for her achievements meant a great deal to St. Cyr . “I grew up in the energy industry. My dad was a landman and my uncles were with major oil companies as well. I was what you would call an oil field brat. So it was just a natural fit for me to be in the petroleum industry, and I am filled with pride to follow in that legacy,” she said. “I believe WTS recognized that the petroleum industry is still male dominant but that we’re working to increase the amount of women in the field. We need to cultivate and increase our voice and our reach to garner interest with young people,” she finished.