CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Women in energy are striving to break the "gas ceiling" by expanding the "Women's Energy Network" (WEN) into the Coastal Bend region.
The WEN South Texas Chapter hosted a breakfast at the Omni Hotel on Tuesday, which brought in guest speakers and panelists to inspire and connect women in the energy business.
The Port of Corpus Christi was an inaugural sponsor of the event.
"This is a wonderful program that will invite women from the energy industry to network, to share ideas and collaborate, and ultimately build a coalition of strength in numbers," said Sean Strawbridge, CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi.
Historically, the energy sector has been dominated by men, but women currently are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields at a higher rate.
"There is definitely tremendous growth for female engineers, in particular," said Nueces County Judge and guest speaker Barbara Canales, who also is an engineer. "There's been an empty seat at the table and I think when you bring in a different perspective to any type of homogeneous group you're going to benefit."
Even though there has been growth of female leaders in the energy business over the years, WEN is hoping to retain those leaders in the workforce while inspiring them to grow.
"When we look at the future of this industry and the future of this gateway, women play a pivotal role in our future," said Strawbridge.
The Port of Corpus Christi is the third largest port in the country, and over half of its departments are run by women.
"Here in the Coastal Bend, we do a great job of showcasing fine females at the highest level corporate structure," said Canales. "That's why we are here today, because we can learn from them and hopefully translate it to our sisters, our daughters, and our female friends."