This is the fifth part of a series titled ‘Up Close and Personal’ covering the career path of several steering committee members of LebNet communities, spread across the US and Canada.
Nancy Zakhour built a name for herself by leading by example and taking on challenging roles throughout her career, most recently at Occidental, an international energy company with assets in the U.S., Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In her role, Nancy works as a well design lead, managing a team of subject matter experts overlooking drilling, completion and production engineering design and optimization in the Permian Basin.
Zakhour also chairs the completion engineering sub-committee of the Department of Energy-funded joint industry program Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site II (HFTS-II). Prior to her current role at Occidental, she was a completion engineering adviser leading multidisciplinary and cross-functional projects focused on developing breakthrough solutions by leveraging geoscience, engineering, data analytics and data management.
Zakhour is a recipient of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Regional Completions Optimization and Technology Award and Hart’s Energy 40 under 40 Award. She has served as a panelist, speaker and presenter at various leadership and DIB workshops, including technical SPE conferences with over a dozen publications. She is the North American Regional Lead for Jobs For Lebanon, a volunteer and member of SPE, baMa, HAN and LebNet. Zakhour earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the American University of Beirut, an MBA from Rice University and is a certified project management professional.
She is currently leading the fundraising program for LebNet’s Women in Tech community. We’re honored to have her part of the team!
1- How would you describe your career path and what do you enjoy most about your current job?
Road less travelled. What I enjoy the most about my current role is the ability to think outside the box and bring ideation and innovation to challenges ranging from the simplest to the most complex within the energy realm. I love working in a fast-paced and thought-provoking environment that enables and encourages game changers.
2- What is a unique experience or specific event that led to where you are today?
Working internationally, across North America, and in field-based roles throughout my career has given me the opportunity of meeting with and learning from phenomenal colleagues, mentors, supervisors, and friends. They have all deepened my appreciation of culture and of the Energy industry, along with its rooted impact on our world and daily activities. Being able to connect with professionals from all around the globe is a blessing on a professional and personal level that I have grown to appreciate and cherish every day.
3- What are you looking to achieve or excited about as a Women in Tech steering committee member?
Connecting with and supporting Women in Tech, along with encouraging women to be more supportive of one another especially in industries that tend to be male-dominated. This platform and the support it provides has the potential to have a profound impact on the careers of many women.
4- What were some of the challenges you encountered in your career and how were you able to overcome them?
One of the more prominent challenges of working in the Energy industry is its cyclical nature which pushes its workforce to retrain, rebrand, and repurpose itself. The continuous need to adjust and adapt to new standards naturally makes one more resilient and capable of seamlessly dealing with uncertainty and unpredictability. I find myself repositioning with every cycle to focus on influential avenues that can best move the needle for my organization and industry as a whole.
5- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Playing an effective and inspiring role within the energy transition space by supporting and enabling emerging green technologies.
6- How do you maintain a good work/life balance?
The key to a healthy work/life balance is enjoying and loving one’s work. While this is easier said than done, being able to find purpose and meaning in the role and task at hand makes a substantial difference in one’s ability to maintain a healthy balance. I strongly believe that enjoying your role is a fundamental part of ensuring that you have enough energy to excel in both your work and your personal life.