That’s exactly what I was asking myself last week as I enter the conference hall to find a seat in a group of strangers. Luckily I’m not shy…and I bumped into a friend of a friend right as I was walking in to the conference. I was introduced to some other very fascinating attendees! I got to try GoogleGlass! I was encouraged to become more familiar with Google+ (and no this is not paid for by Google! ;o) and I was very impressed with the diversity of the guest speakers.
So why was I there? I asked my self these repeatedly as my husband and I drove to Stavanger Norway to attend the first annual EnerWE Energy Communication Conference. After a life spent with a man that was was a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering, I had picked up a little along the way, but I was obviously conflicted about the potential involvement with an business sector that, I felt like was in complete conflict with my personal values and interest. After all, I started a blog a year ago to keep myself busy while waiting for my Norwegian version of a Green Card for living and working permission focused on Fairly Traded and Ethical Business! Wow. I felt like I was deviating way off track on this excursion.
Why was I venturing into a market segment that was so “opposite” of my blog focus and my value center? Why would I want to become associated with a business segment that struggled with bad PR? Environmental catastrophes and negative social perceptions at every turn? Then I reflected on something my father once said why discussing politics and why I had chosen to change my political party. I felt like there was no reason for me to be affiliated with an organization that was moving in a direction that was very different than my core values. But he said, “Why not become more involved and try to make a difference? Why not stick it out and be a positive support to other people that may feel the same way that you do but don’t know how to change the problems?” Then I understood that maybe there is a demand for more Social Responsibility in this market segment as well? The interest in the dynamic prevalence and growing marketing channel of Social Media was the initial reason for my participation in the conference.
I was fascinated as we learned from the EnerWE conference that the industry is aware of it’s challenges and some companies are focusing on addressing the issue. Øyvind Ihlen, Professor at the University I Oslo, drove right to the most important concern for me and apparently a growing concern for the Social and Environmentally aware energy companies: “The Elephant in the Room for Energy sector:
Climate and Environmental concerns of neighboring communities. How to improve public relations? Bringing High tech oil and gas industry to the level of local communities and individual neighbors..”
BINGO! There it was! My theory was confirmed. My mission was defined and my purpose was justified!
Overall I would say the conference was well worth my time to learn more about the North Sea Petroleum and Energy companies and how they perceive themselves. But best of all was the journey the people that I met along the way!
This morning I was greeted by a tweet that I and another conference attendee had won the EnerWe Instagram contest! WaaHooo! Check it out on Twitter.
You can find other pics from the conference at #enerWe on Instagram.