ROGERS, Minn. — Women make up 3.5 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, but a study by Goldman Sachs found that companies with more women in management and board positions outperformed their more male-led counterparts.
That’s why there is now a push to get more women into some male-dominated industries, like the oil and natural gas industries. Only 22 percent of workers in the natural gas industry are women.
“It can be really challenging,” said Carissa Skorczewski, the first female CEO of the natural gas company Groebner.
Skorczewski wants her company to challenge the status quo when it comes to gender equity. She’s the third generation of her family to lead Groebner.
“The company was started 46 years ago by my grandfather. He actually started the business out of the trunk of his car just to find a better way to provide more customer service in the energy industry,” said Skorczewski.
Decades later, Skorczewski is keeping her family legacy alive while changing the way things are done. She’s focusing on encouraging more learning in the workplace, embracing new technology, and getting more women into the industry.
“I think we can do things a lot faster with women involved,” said Skorczewski. “I think we can do things a lot better. Again, it's just all about diverse, diverse backgrounds and bringing a different perspective, and right now, we're really underrepresented.”
Research supports Skorczewski’s goal. According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, $12 trillion could be added to our economy by advancing gender equity in the workplace.
Researchers found that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same.
Additionally, having women in decision-making roles has been found to help companies better serve diverse clients and consumers.
“A lot of women are really great at problem-solving, and that's what, you know, at the end of the day, we're solving problems for our customers,” said Skorczewski. “Women are really great at empathizing with people and understanding what those problems are so that we can provide better solutions.”
Since taking on the CEO role, Skorczewski had Groebner certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise, hoping that it will signal to female clients and employees that equity is valued here.
“There's just this feeling of empowerment as a female in the company, just seeing like, 'OK, wow, look at look at where she's at.’ You just have that renewed energy to want to exceed, excel, set bigger goals and try and achieve those goals,” said Kimberly Peterson, the Minnesota Branch Manager for Groebner.
Skorczewski is also hoping her certification, promoting women, and teaching women in the community about the oil and natural gas industry will raise industry awareness among women. There are high-paying careers in this field, and many don’t require a four-year degree. Skorczewski wants women to see the opportunities that exist as places for women—not just men’s work.
“Welding is a career that starts out at six figures, and we have a lack of welders, and it's a great career with a lot of opportunities and flexibility,” said Skorczewski.
“If we can get more word out there, I think it would be a bigger shift,” said Peterson. “There are opportunities out there regardless of who you are.”
For more information on Groebner, click HERE.