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Behaviors of an Inclusive Leader: Painting a Vision for What is Possible

Feb 06, 2020

Like many leading companies, RLG is on a Diversity and Inclusion journey, expanding our thinking, adjusting our processes and adapting our culture. As part of our journey we invited Helene Harding, retired VP from ConocoPhillips, to our Best of the Best event in Houston to speak to us on the topic “Behaviors of an Inclusive Leader.” At a standing room only session, Helene painted a vision of how leaders can start to establish a culture of inclusion.

H Harding bioHelene Harding recently retired from ConocoPhillips after 37 years of distinguished service with extensive leadership expertise in upstream operations, capital projects, unconventional development, international business development and in delivering superior financial results. From 2018–2019 she was Vice President, Great Plains Business Unit, for ConocoPhillips. Previously, Helene was Vice President Gulf Coast Business Unit, Vice President Alaska North Slope Operations and Development, General Manager Subsurface Technology, and General Manager Gulf of Mexico and South Texas business units. Prior to joining Conoco in 2011, Helene was Asset Manager for BP’s Western Gulf of Mexico Shelf and prior to 2010 Helene held leadership assignments in ARCO International including Finance Director for the Former Soviet Union and Engineering Manager for Worldwide New Ventures. Helene was Executive Sponsor of the ConocoPhillips Women’s Network and was selected as one of the “Women Worth Watching in 2013” by Profiles in Diversity Journal. In 2015 she was named one of the “Women in Energy” by Houston Business Journal.

There are thousands of articles, training courses, consultants, and best practices out in the marketplace that claim to have the answer for how to become a diverse and inclusive organization. How do we make sense of it all and identify the tactics that work? It can be a difficult journey to navigate successfully. Thankfully, nothing inspires one more than hearing how leaders personally take on the responsibility to create an inclusive culture. Helene spoke powerfully to her own continuing journey on what it is to be an inclusive leader and for nearly 90 minutes, she went beyond the numbers to the heart of what she found that truly works.

“It starts with us as leaders promoting an environment where all people are treated fairly and with respect. They feel welcomed and understood. They are appreciated for their uniqueness. Their voice is being heard and they feel like they have an equal opportunity to succeed. These all-important aspects create a sense of belonging which is critical when it comes to getting the best out of people.” 

Over the next two weeks we will present parts 2 and 3 in this series of Behaviors of an Inclusive Leader. We hope you find it as useful and interesting as we did. Interested in continuing the conversation? Join us on our LinkedIn company page and comment, share or like.

“Helene’s insights were outstanding, thought provoking, and eye opening.  Her simple analogy taken from a quote by Verna Myers that ‘diversity is being invited to the party  while inclusion is being asked to dance’ and her personal experiences as a leader, brought home the challenge that many of us face as leaders in how we can be better.”

Jerry Weisenfelder- RLG Executive Vice President

Inclusive Leader

Next Article:  Part 2 - First Things First: Self-Awareness And Authenticity
Next Article:  Part 3 - Inclusion Is The Key To Benefiting From Diversity