Safety Speakers Series 11: Nancy Navarro

Safety Speakers Series with Nancy Navarro

Safety Speakers Series 11

As part of our Kwema Safety Speaker Series, we highlight professionals from safety and security industries from across the globe; the unsung heroes keeping our communities and workplaces safe. This week, we spoke with Nancy Navarro, the Security Manager at The Martinez Refining Company Refinery  -PBF Energy in California. Nancy has more than 10 years of experience working in the Oil and Gas industry, and we’re excited she had the time to share some of her knowledge with us.


Kwema: Nancy, thank you for accepting our invitation. Let’s begin a bit more about your background and how you found yourself working in security?

Nancy: I am the Security Manager for an Oil Manufacturing Refinery Plant in Northern California. I hold a M.A. in Organizational Development and have held numerous security roles throughout my career.  Now, an experienced security manager, I worked as a Security Specialist and Ambassador for Shell Oil Products US and also held previous roles at United Parcel Services (where my career in Security began. How? By invitation.  I was so young and naive, but brave! I knew that I wanted to progress and was determined to learn the job in order to remain employed and advance my career. I have been blessed by always having mentors who allowed me to grow and who saw in me potential. We women are not good at recognizing this sometimes). I also worked for Securitas, a global leading security provider.  I love what I do and currently,  I am the only female in PBF Energy qualified as a Facility Security Officer and was the only one while working for Shell Oil Products as well.  My job gives me wide responsibility which includes regular liaison to regulatory bodies such as the USCG for production and marine terminal operations. I am also an active board member at the Northern California Area Maritime Security Committee. 



Kwema: You mentioned you had previously worked for Shell, what were some of the most important learning experiences from that role and how have you applied it to your current position?

Nancy: working for Shell was a great experience. Some of the most important learning experiences I gained was to stretch myself out of my comfort zone, trust the opportunities and better myself by developing in-role skills and knowledge. Shell is a great promoter of diversity and equity in the workplace and I cannot say enough about the power of allies and champions in the security industry. Particularly, if they are your managers. I had great leaders.  In my current role, I apply the gained knowledge everyday in all I do and I strive to coach and champion my direct reports and peers. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing people gain confidence in themselves and do well.



Kwema: How do you think safety and security have changed in the Oil and Gas industry over the last decade? Are we progressing?

Nancy: safety is at the hearth of everything that is done in the Oil and Gas industry. No one wants someone to get hurt. Security, nevertheless, doesn't fall behind. Security also protects the Oil and Gas must precious assets; people. We are definitely progressing in this area. Neverending threats arise for both safety and security performance and organizations are being nimble about them. A culture of care for people, planet and communities, Security included, is well embraced in the Oil and Gas industry.



Kwema: How do you think wearable technology like Kwema would benefit Oil and Gas companies when it comes to workplace safety and security?

Nancy: wearable technology can aid not only Oil and Gas companies. I see the benefit of such technology in any industry where the safety and security of all individuals needs to be accounted for.  Oil and Gas companies, nevertheless, would benefit from using this technology as it  enables Emergency Responders to know where individuals are in real time. In the unfortunate event of a “unit upset” for example, a  chemical release or a fire; this technology may enable emergency responders not only to account for individuals wearing the technology, but moreover, to save their lives. 



Kwema: You shared with us a staggering statistic: One out of ten people working in security are women. Your leadership and willingness to amplify women’s voices in such a male-dominated industry is an inspiration to us all. What advice would you give to women who just entered or are on-the-fence about joining the field?

Nancy: Security can be an intimidating field. It was for me when I started my career many years ago.  It is definitely challenging, but what job isn’t? The advice I would like to give to women who are new to the field or who are thinking about being a “woman in Security” is this:

  • The industry needs you! Go ahead and apply for that job you are seeking!
  • Man can be your allies, mentors and champions. They will teach you the way.
  • Bring your unique perspective. Your experiences allow you to see the world with a different set of eyes! Trust them!
  • Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Lean on other women’s knowledge and experiences and build from one another. We are good at this!
  • Network, I find this activity inspirational. You will meet incredibly talented and lovely people who are passionate about what they do. Find out what you have in common!
  • Lastly, do not be afraid, be yourself and enjoy your job!

  • Kwema: Nancy, we deeply appreciate the time you spent with us to learn more about your security expertise in the Oil and Gas sector. We hope our readers have obtained new insights and Nancy’s advice to better address security challenges in their organizations.

    We thank our audience for giving us their continuous support. Please don’t forget to share this interview with other professionals, and share in the comments below who would you like to see in the next edition of our Safety Speakers Series!




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