Day in the Life: Lise – Senior Advisor, Community & Indigenous Affairs
- 4 min read
Nine years ago, Lise began pursuing a career in oil and gas. Since landing her job as a Senior Advisor for Community & Indigenous Affairs at Cenovus Energy, she’s welcomed the opportunity to tell the industry’s and the company’s “good news story.”
The Cenovus story is based on developing energy resources efficiently, ethically and responsibly, working to continuously improve its operations and practices, embracing innovation and developing meaningful relationships with communities, especially Indigenous ones.
“So much of what we use and depend upon daily in our lives and in our community, relies upon the development of oil and gas,” Lise says, “and the global demand for oil, will remain for years to come. We need to be strong advocates for Canadian oil and gas.”
Through the course of almost a decade, Lise says she has gained “an immense amount of knowledge and respect for our energy sector and an appreciation for how rigorous Canadian standards are from a regulatory standpoint, in terms of resource development.”
So much of what we use and depend upon daily in our lives and in our community, relies upon the development of oil and gas, and the global demand for oil, will remain for years to come. We need to be strong advocates for Canadian oil and gas.
Lise, Business Administration and Management Diploma
A Typical Day
While her job is grounded in respect for energy, Lise’s day-to-day work is untethered from routine.
“I never know what any given day will bring. There is a lot of variety in my position.” She can be dealing with trappers one day, coordinating a large donation the next, meeting with an Indigenous community another, while preparing for a business presentation or community event. “There is always a new flavour of the week.”
“I would break this job down into three main focus areas. They are community consultation, community engagement, and community investment,” explains Lise.
When Cenovus consults with communities about its upcoming work activities in and around its Christina Lake operations, Lise’s job can be intense. There is a time-sensitive regulatory process that involves strong two-way communications with local Indigenous communities and stakeholders.
Such work hinges on a high level of engagement, which involves collecting feedback and questions and providing technical information about the proposed projects. Documenting details of consultation proceedings and outcomes is imperative so the company can achieve and sustain project and operating approvals.
Throughout the year, Lise deals with a steady flow of queries about how Cenovus can support and assist the community in a myriad of ways.
“There are ongoing requests and inquiries about business opportunities, investment and sponsorships, employment and a genuine interest in knowing more about our operations,” she says.
A role with variety
Lise’s role also sees her attend special events on behalf of the company and regularly meet with internal and external stakeholders. Community Relations also supports communications in times of emergencies such as fires, floods, and to provide a more recent example, reporting on community impacts with the COVID-19 global pandemic. She is involved with the coordination of site visits and open houses when those local requests come in, which brings an opportunity to showcase our best in class facilities.
“By far, communications and building and sustaining strong relationships are the biggest components of my day-to-day job,” she says. “Fostering trust and creating respectful dialogue are critical to doing business and engaging with our communities.”
She adds: “There is much more of a personal connection created over time, not just a professional one. In this role, I have had the opportunity to learn about and be exposed to Indigenous communities and their cultures. As a result, I have developed a deeper understanding and respect and am so appreciative for that experience. I have also made some great friendships with co-workers and fellow stakeholder-relations professionals from other companies, as we have a common connection in the work that we do. Our role is very important to our respective operations.”
By far, communications and building and sustaining strong relationships are the biggest components of my day-to-day job. Fostering trust and creating respectful dialogue are critical to doing business and engaging with our communities.
Lise, Business Administration and Management Diploma
Lise’s ties to the community of Lac la Biche are strongly bound. She’s lived and worked here her entire life. While she’s always been a familiar neighbour living in the community, how others view her has shifted since joining Cenovus.
“It goes without saying I’m an ambassador. Cenovus is a well-known company in this area and a lot of people recognize that part of my role exists to support the community,” Lise says. “Despite the fact that there have been impacts on our industry, we still maintain committed to making a positive difference in our local communities.”
Some of the notable projects Cenovus has supported that Lise is proud of are: assistance towards securing diagnostic equipment for the Lac La Biche Regional Health Centre; sponsorship at the Bold Center (Lac la Biche’s state-of-the-art recreational multiplex); and its recent commitment to provide funding to six local Indigenous communities to help build new homes. Other notable projects include support of the local food bank, shelters, victim services and ongoing educational and literacy outreach programs.
For Lise, it’s rewarding and fulfilling work.
Recently Cenovus reached a milestone in its billionth barrel of oil production. “I’m proud to work for a Canadian oil company, whose focus is on innovation, strong governance and social and environmental responsibility. I look forward to being a part of what Cenovus achieves in the next decade while working on my own personal milestones.”
$54,000 to $83,000
Business Administration and Management Diploma
Salary, education and advancement may vary from company to company.