The Petroleum Club of Houston, during its recent 75th year celebration as an outstanding Houston-based business organization, selected Paula Harris to be President of its Board of Directors. She is the first African American and second female in the history of the Petroleum Club of Houston to be named President.
Harris was educated as a Petroleum Engineer at Texas A&M, where she progressed into leadership roles in operations, training, sales and ultimately, in Environmental Social and Governance, which includes over 34 years of experience in international oilfield services with Schlumberger Ltd. Harris developed and implemented measurable, cost effective sustainability programs for successful operations worldwide.
During her leadership tenure in training and sales, she developed a life-long civic interest in educational instruction and a personal interest in mentoring minority female engineers. From 2005 to 2010, Harris was the Global Training Manager, where she designed the curriculum and a global sales training program to transform over 500 oil and gas technical engineers into skilled sales engineers with a value focus on retaining current customers while developing new ones. She designed and implemented a diversity recruiting program to identify top female engineering candidates in universities, to build relationships with these students and their faculty with the goal to recruit more females (increased by 12%), particularly female minorities (5% increase) to Schlumberger. From 2010 to 2015, Harris was the Director of Community Affairs, where she developed community engagement plans primarily through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. She designed the instruction framework to include classes in robotics, coding and real-time energy problems for university students and educators in Tunisia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Trinidad. She initiated a Schlumberger program to build and support fabrication labs in Ecuador and Russia and at Stanford University. She most recently served as Director of Global Stewardship for Schlumberger from 2015 until her retirement in June 2020. Harris led a team of 30 professionals who developed a global database of local employment and environmental regulations by country along with the ES strategies for each Schlumberger customer. She led the development and implementation of metrics-based, cost efficient ES programs tailored to meet the local needs of stakeholders, employees, communities and customers. Implementation of the program helped in aligning negotiation strategies and winning successful new business tenders in Russia, Europe, Nigeria, Venezuela, China and Australia. She was responsible for this program, aiding the delivery of the long-term Schlumberger sustainable development goals in carbon reduction, energy efficiency, increased green technology sales and increased female and minority employees.
While working, Harris authored and published two books: For Sister, The Guide for Professional Black Women (2002) and When I Grow Up I Want to be an Engineer (2009).
Harris currently serves on the boards of: The Vantage Group, The Houston Children’s Museum, Energized for STEM Charter School, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America’s Energy Education Center. She is a founding board member of the all-girls engineering school, the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy, serving primarily minority communities in Houston to graduate girls prepared to understand and appreciate the value of the energy industry and to attend top engineering universities. Previously she served on the boards of the Houston Independent School District, the Space Center Houston, The Texas Energy Council and numerous other education and outreach associations. In 2020, she received the Women Who Mean Business Lifetime Achievement award from the Houston Business Journal, and in 2019, she received the Women on the Move award from Texas Executive Women and the United Nations Global Citizenship Award. In 2020 she also received a Certification in Sustainability Leadership, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.