“As women, we need to not only be invited to the party, but we also need to make sure that we are asked to dance.“
You might say refining is in Gabi Bergeron’s blood. Both of her parents worked in the refining industry so when it was time for the New Orleans native to pick her career track, she already knew what she wanted to do.
“When I went to LSU for chemical engineering, my goal was to work in a plant environment,” she says. She started her career at a Phillips 66 plant in Ferndale, Washington before transferring to LyondellBasell Houston where she currently works as a Process Engineer supporting the process monitoring and optimization of crude units.
Gabi loves the analytical aspect of her profession. “I enjoy the complexities of my projects and the creativity required to create solutions,” she says. “To this day, my favorite part of refining process engineering is problem solving. I like to dig deep into a problem and work toward a solution increasing operations or profitability.”
She sees the continued push to produce cleaner burning and sustainable fuels as a challenge for the global refining industry. “The future need for circular and low carbon solutions will be a key business driver for the industry,” she says.
But because Gabi loves a good problem, she is up for the challenge. “I am eager to be a part of a more sustainable future and see firsthand how that increases opportunities for female engineers,” she says.
Gabi would like to see more mentorship in her industry, which she feels could bridge the gap between generations in the refining community. She underscores the value of building relationships between younger professionals and more seasoned veterans so newer hires can learn from the successes and mistakes of their more senior colleagues.
“I have seen many colleagues get discouraged and sometimes pursue other opportunities outside of this field, and I often wonder if having a mentor to speak to about career growth and development would have influenced a different outcome,” she says.
Gabi has an innovative way of looking at the challenges faced as a woman in a male-dominated field.
She quotes Verna Myers, who said “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
“I believe the most important way to work on inclusion, as women, is to build each other up, perform to the best of our abilities, and continue to prove that we provide quality work in the industry,” she says. “As women, we need to not only be invited to the party, but we also need to make sure that we are asked to dance.”
Within the refining community, however, she has not felt the sting of exclusion, but rather like her dance card is always full. “As a younger engineer, I am grateful for the women who came before me who earned a seat for me at the table,” she says. “I have never felt like I didn’t have a role in refining.”
She also credits LyondellBasell for being an innovator in promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion, which she cites are integral components to the LYB mission.
Gabi is not only a second-generation female engineer, but her family makes a business of females pioneering in engineering fields. Gabi’s mother is a mechanical engineer. Her sister is a mechanical engineer, and her first cousin is a chemical engineer. In fact, she and her sister inspected and tunneled their first tower together in 2019.
The refining industry is fortunate to have engineers like Gabi in their ranks and we are thrilled she is a part of our Refining Community. We look forward to watching the upward progression of her career.
Connect with Gabi on LinkedIn.