By Nancy Nguyen, Marine & Logistics Category Manager at Woodside Energy, UN Women NC Australia MBA Scholarship recipient and current student in the University of Sydney Business School MBA program.
“I’d rather be poor and educated than be rich and ill informed”, are values inspired by my mother who risked her own life to flee war-torn Vietnam to ensure my siblings and I had the chance to a future with limitless opportunities in Australia.
My mother grew up in a small town called Dalat, in the southern highlands of Vietnam. The high altitudes meant it was often cold and wet, requiring locals to use rudimentary energy sources such as wood or coal to cook, bathe and stay warm. I remember as a child my mother reminding me every day before she went to work to remember to prepare the rice in the rice cooker for our dinner. Some days, I would complain because I was lazy, but she would remind me to be grateful to have the convenience of a machine to cook the rice. My mother was only six years old when she made her first pot of rice on a coal stove. She would sit for hours every day fanning the coal fire to ensure the rice cooked properly. Today, many still rely on these as sole energy sources due to limited access to other clean fuel sources. Approximately 41% of world’s energy supply is still heavily reliant on coal, with the demand expected to continue to increase with population growth (International Energy Agency, 2016).
Luckily, growing up in Australia has gifted my family a high standard of living, education and amenities, which would not have been readily available if my mother remained in rural Vietnam. I am grateful for these privileges, which have driven me to seek ways to contribute to a nation that has afforded me so much opportunity.
I was awarded the UN Women NC Australia MBA Scholarship with and began my MBA at the University of Sydney Business School in 2014. From the very beginning, it has been a dynamic, challenging and all immersive experience. The MBA has pushed me to understand myself and my blind spots in order to become a more effective leader of change. It has been highly rewarding to apply what I have learnt to become the best leader, more equipped to energise and leverage the diversity of my team to build an innovative culture.
My team has become a more flexible and responsive unit, which works together to adapt to change and adopt early innovation. Together, we have successfully positioned Woodside to bring the first LNG powered marine support vessel to Australia. The innovative LNG technology is a significantly cleaner energy source than traditional diesel fuel. LNG emits 2.5 times less greenhouse emissions compared to the coal lifecycle, and is far easier to extract, transport and store (Gas, 2016). Australia is on track to become the world’s largest producer of LNG, so it makes perfect sense to build dual-fuel capabilities for our marine fleets here.
The MBA has also helped my team shape the business’ appreciation of shared values, where business and social opportunities work hand in hand. Improving access to LNG will enable Australia to meet tighter emissions regulatory requirements agreed by 186 countries post COP21 at the UN climate change forum in 2016.
In April 2016, Woodside signed a five-year charter contract with Norwegian company Siem Offshore Australia Pty Ltd — an agreement that will deliver Australia its first LNG-powered marine support vessel in 2017.
Woodside’s new vessel will be greener — reducing vessel greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions and the reliance on imported diesel — while providing safe, reliable support to Woodside’s assets in Western Australia’s Exmouth and Pilbara regions. Woodside will continue to seek to expand the application of LNG-fueling in transportation in WA.
The UN women NC Australia MBA Scholarship and my MBA experience at the University of Sydney Business School has truly been rewarding and I’m proud to be applying my leadership skills to transform the future with clean energy for our many generations to come, this is my Future Anything!