Five Questions For … Katie Mehnert, Founder and CEO of Pink Petro

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rewards that come my way. [Success] kind of feeds the drive more.

X: What did you want to be when you were a kid?

KM: I think I’m a true entrepreneur at heart. I broke my leg roller-skating, and I went home in my cast. I made my little sisters help me paint a bunch of cards, and drag me around in a wagon to go door-to-door selling cards. I remember, I called it The Creative Card Shop. I got the neighbors’ quarters to help pay for medical bills. I was 7 years old.

I didn’t want to be an engineer like my father. I watched him lose his job in the ’80s with the oil bust. He was like, “Do not do this job; do not enter the oil and gas industry.” I got to college and decided I wanted to be a lawyer. But I have a little bit of ADD and I couldn’t hack the reading. I like speech and debate; I just didn’t want to do all the book stuff. I got a communications degree, got out of college, and still had no clue. But one of the best things about having a communications degree is that you learn your audience. You know how to ask the right questions, dig in, and learn. It’s served me well. Oil companies not very good at communications. I was once asked, what kind of engineer are you? I said, “I’m a people engineer.”

X: Equity in pay and roles is increasingly in the public’s awareness. Energy is a male-dominated field. How do you navigate that both in your corporate roles and now with Pink Petro?

KM: Five years ago, it was hard. Today, it’s not as hard. It’s a unique time. I think social media and societal forces are creating these bigger-picture conversations about gender and diversity and inclusion. The makeup of the world is changing.

It’s going to have to get easier because the world is getting louder about it. There are a lot of men out there who see their daughters and wives and see the gaps. There are people out there that absolutely believe no problem exists. I’m not out to reach them; I’m not going to change their minds.

X: If you got stranded on a desert island, what’s the one thing you would have to have with you?

KM: My daughter; she makes me happy. (And my husband!) But my daughter, she makes me laugh; she’s entertaining. She is a little mini-me. I get to see a lot of me in her. I could spend every day with her on a desert island and we would find something fun to do.

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