A few months ago I was asked if I would like to be a part of a committee which would be organizing a symposium for the CSEG. Being a student, I wondered if I may be a little out of my league but I reluctantly accepted anyway. My position was to assist in securing sponsorship for the event, and I felt that it could be something that I could do. My mentor, Carmen Swalwell, was also on the committee and she promised to give me direction, which alleviated some of my anxiety.
I attended the first meeting where we went to work setting up the focus of the symposium. It was decided that we would honour an individual annually for their notable contributions to the science of geophysics. The committee also came to the conclusion that the talks given should be based on case studies, which would add to the value of attendance. Sitting in a board room with a group of distinguished geophysicists made this student feel like a pretty small fish swimming in a very large pond. I kept thinking to myself, how can I contribute? And then it hit me.
I figured that if there was going to be a university presence on the committee then there should certainly be a university presence at the symposium. So I went to work sending emails to a number of the professors asking if they had a talk that they would like to give which would fit our criteria. I am very pleased to say that Dr. Larry Lines has graciously accepted our offer will be speaking on Cold Heavy Oil Production. As I have said before, the universities are the future of the industry so I truly feel that this is a worthy contribution to an otherwise impossible task.
With the theme and speakers decided, Carmen and I went to work securing sponsorship. Once again the feeling of being a “little fish” consumed me. Did these people really expect me to just waltz into the Chief’s office and ask for sponsorship? Yep, they did. So I began sending emails to a few of the Chiefs that I had met at various functions throughout the year and crossed my fingers. Each one got back to me without hesitation and seemed quite receptive to the idea of a symposium. I made it a point to meet face to face with the people who responded. I felt that dealing with such a sensitive matter could not be done over email.
While not every meeting was a success, the opportunity to sit and have coffee with the Chiefs of various major oil companies was truly a thrill. I made sure to take the time to get personal with everyone and not just make it about sponsorship. Now, with all of the finances sorted out, the symposium is set and we are just putting on the finishing touches. It is really shaping up to be a first class event.
This experience has taught me a great many things. I learned how to conduct myself with confidence in meetings and also be able to voice my ideas during brainstorming sessions. I have gained insight into what it takes to organize an event of this magnitude, and I am truly grateful to be a part of it.
I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their hard work and for allowing me the opportunity to become involved. I would also like to thank my mentors (you know who you are) for their guidance and support.
Due the sensitive nature of these case studies, there will be no published articles or recordings.