Shell Trading Career Stories: Christine Sullivan, Senior Trader

I was a mechanical engineer by degree. I went to work as an engineer
at the Shell Deer Park refinery and then went on to an operations role in the natural gas liquids trading group,
became a trader in that group, and then moved onto
the crude trading group from there. Having an experience
out in the various sites, whether it’s a refinery, a chemical plant, really helps you
when you come into trading because you’ve seen first-hand
how the sites make their decisions, what are their economics,
what are their drivers, where they get their value from and you’re able to then use that
to help you optimise things for them, but also make money for trading as well. I think a lot of people can feel
intimidated coming into trading and feeling like they don’t know things
about the trading business. So, being willing to ask the questions, being willing to come out
and say what you don’t know and ask somebody, because there
are resources literally everywhere, people with all kinds
of different experience, and I find
– because it still happens to me after all my years in the business –
there are things that I’m learning still and people are very willing
to share their knowledge. One myth I’ve heard about
the trading business is that it’s hard for a female to come
and succeed in this group. Work-life balance is cited often. I’ve had three children
during my time here and have a very busy family life and, you know,
it’s worked out fine for me. Trading is a very
uber-competitive environment, but people are willing to help,
I mean it behoves everyone for people to be successful. It’s very much a team effort, so even though people are
obviously assessed as an individual, teamwork is a big part even of how
an individual is assessed because if the team doesn’t work,
the whole group doesn’t work. What I like about trading is every day I can see the impact
I’ve made to the bottom line. You see that moving up, hopefully,
on a daily basis and it just makes you want to do more.

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