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Events Energy Policy

Student Roundtable: The Energy Transition with Gretchen Watkins

Past Event

February 21, 2024

9:00 am - 10:00 am est

This roundtable is open only to currently enrolled Columbia University students. If you are no longer a student and would like to be removed from this mailing list, please reply directly to this email. 

Every energy company in the world is in the process of adapting to the energy transition. Please join the Women in Energy Initiative program at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, for a student breakfast roundtable discussion with Amy Myers Jaffe and Gretchen Watkins, about her experience as president of Shell USA, Inc. and her insights on a changing energy system.


Gretchen Watkins

As President of Shell USA, Inc., Gretchen Watkins oversees the strategic integration of all Shell businesses in the United States and leads the US country coordination team. Since being named to this post in 2018, she has become the company’s leading voice, with public and private leaders, across a wide range of energy-related policy and societal challenges. In addition to these responsibilities from May 2018-June 2021, Gretchen also served as executive vice president of Shell’s global shales business, overseeing the exploration, development, and production of Shell’s upstream shale oil and gas portfolio, which included assets in the United States, Canada, and Argentina. Before joining Shell in 2018, Gretchen served as the chief executive officer of Maersk Oil, following two years as chief operating officer. Gretchen’s tenure at Maersk coincided with a low-price environment for oil, but under her leadership, the company delivered above-target operational and financial results, enabling a safe and successful enterprise sale of Maersk Oil to Total in 2017.

Gretchen began her career nearly thirty years ago as a facilities engineer for Amoco in the Gulf of Mexico. She then worked as a trading manager for Amoco and BP before commencing an international career that has included a variety of senior executive roles at BP, Marathon Oil, and Maersk Oil in North America, Europe, and Asia. She has led joint ventures and negotiated contracts with countries and companies across the upstream, midstream, and downstream businesses.

Gretchen currently serves as a non-executive director of the Mosaic Company, one of the world’s leading producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, and previously served as a non-executive director for W. S. Atkins, a global engineering consultancy and FTSE 200 company from 2014 until its merger with SNC Lavalin in 2017. Gretchen graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and has had executive education at Cambridge and Stanford Universities.

Amy Myers Jaffe

Amy Myers Jaffe serves as Director of the Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab at New York University’s School of Professional Studies and is a research professor who teaches graduate-level courses examining global climate finance, energy and climate justice, and clean technology innovation and business. A leading expert on global energy policy, sustainability, and geopolitical risk, Jaffe is the author of several books, including her most recent book, “Energy’s Digital Future” published in 2021 by Columbia University Press. Ms. Jaffe is co-chair of the Women in Energy Initiative at Columbia University and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Jaffe served as senior advisor on sustainability to the Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the University of California, Regents, where she helped design the sustainable investing framework for the UC’s $140 billion in pension and endowment funds.

Registration is required. This roundtable is open only to currently enrolled Columbia University students. To register, you must use the email address that contains your UNI. 

This event will be hosted in person and capacity is limited. We ask that you register only if you can attend this event in its entirety. 

For more information about the event, please contact [email protected].


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