As Vice-President, Human Resources at Cenovus Energy, Sarah Walters knows how to build a team that is effective, skilled, and inclusive. With more than 20 years of international strategic HR and organizational development experience gained within the rail, National Health Service and oil & gas industries, bringing large scale, multi-skilled teams together is her bread and butter. But her journey to the top of HR hasn’t been without risk, setbacks, and surprising twists.
Want to hear more from Sarah and two other power-house female energy executives? Join us in Calgary on October 4 for our luncheon event Women In Power: Calgary’s Senior Executives Weigh In.
My first job ever was… Debt Collection Officer for local government in the UK
I chose my career path because… I love the impact people can have on organizational performance and I just love the variety that comes with my role.
My proudest accomplishment is… My current role and position on the Leadership Team of Cenovus Energy.
My boldest move to date was… Asking my husband to quit his career and move to the USA with me, especially when he had a far more senior role than I at the time.
I surprise people when I tell them… I took an assessment to be a train driver and passed.
My best advice to people starting their career is… Be open to all opportunities, make the best out of all of them, be positive, be inquisitive and always be kind.
My best advice from a mentor was… Be confident, be authentic, dive in and embrace the challenges that are put in front of you.
My biggest setback was… As with many people, we all suffer from setbacks during our careers but I am a big believer that this is how we learn, develop and grow.
I overcame it by… In all the setbacks I have had in my career, I do my best to find the positive, find the learning and focus on finding the best outcome possible. Then share those learning’s with others to help them avoid the same pitfalls!
Work/life balance is… Having the discipline to know when to stop and go home! Finding efficient ways of working and keeping it simple – don’t overcomplicate things. Recognizing the importance of your support network outside of work and being as committed to them as you are to your work.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I am a grannie to a 6 year old boy.
I stay inspired by… Surrounding myself with positive and driven people and finding the positive in any situation.
The future excites me because… Who knows what new learnings it can bring and how it can make things better for everyone – I love to see progress.
My next step is… Who knows! I have never really planned any of my moves but have always embraced them when they have presented themselves!