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Meet the Eastern Hemisphere’s youngest originator: Haena

4 December 2019
Haena joined BP on the Trader Development Programme five and a half years ago. With a business management degree, she initially wanted to become an investment banker. But eventually, she realised that physical commodity trading was more in line with her interests
Haena in the trading offices

Personal development was also key in her decision making. “I knew I wanted to work somewhere that would be willing to invest in young talents like myself, and that would give me exposure to different jobs and cultures”,   says Haena.


No two days are the same


Today, Haena is an originator in the Integrated Supply and Trading Team. She is the youngest originator that the Eastern Hemisphere has ever had – something she is very proud of.


“When I tell people that I work for BP, they usually respond by saying “Oh, so you work in oil and gas?” But there’s much more to BP than that: as an originator, I’m essentially a deal maker that helps to develop and deliver the company’s strategic choices by identifying and structuring offers that meet the needs of BP and its customers.”  


Being an originator requires you to be very versatile, dynamic and flexible – which is Haena’s favourite part of her job, but also the biggest challenge. “Since BP covers such a wide spectrum of markets and products, there really is no fixed routine”, she explains. “My days involve internal or external meetings to brainstorm or pitch new ideas, talking to experts in the company to do some modelling in preparation for a deal, drafting documents with the legal team, or travelling to meet clients.” 


In some ways, Haena has been preparing for this job for many years. She had an international upbringing: her family is Korean, but she moved to Cape Town for middle and high school, and then to Singapore for university – where she now lives. This prepared her for the originator role: “The fact that I moved made me more adaptive and independent, and less afraid to try new things.” 


A job with impact 


From where she sits – overlooking trade flows, supply and demand – Haena has witnessed first-hand how BP’s direction is shifting to address the dual challenge of delivering the energy our growing world needs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 



We hear a lot from our management that we need to find deals that align with transitioning towards low carbon. Undoubtedly, BP and other energy majors have a fundamental role to play in this energy transition, and I hope that – in whatever small ways – my deals are contributing to the company shifting in this direction, and in turn to society shifting in this direction.



Supportive teams and trusting relationships 


Haena joined the company fresh out of university, and she was positively surprised by the culture: 

Like many others, I had this misconception of traders being individualistic. Instead, I was really surprised by the amount of teamwork.

She has also always been part of friendly and supportive teams, and had strong, trusting and open relationships with her line managers. 


“This is crucial not only for my career development, but also for my day-to-day health and happiness.”

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