AAPG needs to build membership groups within our organization that are strong and innovative, because it is by building strong community that we can achieve our mission to serve our members and industry.
If you have attended any AAPG function or convention recently you have seen that we are striving hard to ensure that diversity and inclusion are upheld in everything we do.
What does diversity and inclusion entail, and why are we striving hard to factor it into our planning? Does it skew our planning in favor of one group or another? Is it a quota system mandated by the government? Are we doing this just to be “fair”?
Finally, why does an old silver-haired dinosaur such as myself champion the importance of diversity and inclusion within AAPG?
Currently, any meeting or event planned by AAPG emphasizes diversity and inclusion as a major component. When we set up a committee in AAPG or nominate candidates for office, diversity and inclusion are important factors in our selection process. No one is forcing the organization to do this, nor is any quota system being followed. However, we do use this approach in the hope of skewing our planning in favor of one group within AAPG. That group includes everyone within AAPG. Although diversity and inclusion are the “fair” way, being “fair” is not the main reason we apply it to what we do.
The Value of a Multiplicity of Perspectives
Let me digress to an example to explain why we emphasize diversity and inclusion within AAPG. If you have read my past columns you probably expect a digression anyway. My wife tells me I digress a lot.
The example I want to use harkens back to the days when I was a young geologist working for an independent oil company. I was at my drafting table, having a frustrating morning trying to contour a structure map on a prospect on which I was working. Way back then we used a pencil and our mind to contour. The map was getting messier and messier as I repeatedly erased the contours that didn’t work. I knew what I wanted the contours to depict but, despite repeated attempts to generate a viable map, I failed over and over again. I finally lost patience with myself and sat down at my desk to cool off and take my mind off the problem for a while.
While I was at work at my desk, Jim Murphree walked into my office and stood beside my drafting table. Jim had many years of experience and more than 30 successful prospects with field discoveries under his belt. He was highly skilled at contouring. He glanced down at my map, picked up the pencil and drew one contour line on my map that clarified everything, all while continuing to talk to me!
The point is that I did not see the forest for the trees. I was focused on one perspective only. Jim took one look at my map from a completely different perspective and easily took care of my contouring problem for me. It was at this point when I realized that the more people with different perspectives work on a problem, the more likely you are to come up with a good solution for it. Large, diverse teams often find elegant solutions to problems that previously seemed impossible.
AAPG continues to seek solutions to address the financial and membership challenges that arise from changes in our industry and profession. We’ve had some success, but the underlying problems persist. It is apparent to many of us that we need to “think outside the box” and arrive at innovative solutions to solve our problems and guide AAPG to a solid footing with a strong future.
So, are we trying to be “fair” by using diversity and inclusion to help guide our decisions at AAPG these days?
Of course we are. We strongly support being fair to everyone within our large and diverse membership. But the main objective for which we strive is not just “fairness.”
AAPG needs to build membership groups within our organization that are strong and innovative, because it is by building strong community that we can achieve our mission to serve our members and industry. The bottom line is simply that by expanding diversity and inclusion in our decisions, we make AAPG stronger. I believe this strength is the key to protecting AAPG’s legacy and ensuring our future, and I fully embrace and support diversity and inclusion within our Association.