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Top Executive Award caps Susan Dio’s big day at Women of Excellence event

Release date:
4 December 2019
BP America Chairman and President Susan Dio became the first energy industry leader to earn the Top Executive Award from the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) yesterday, taking home the honor at the group’s annual Women of Excellence event in New York.

Susan Dio (third from left) was honored at the annual Women of Excellence event in New York

“As an energy executive, I’m aware that this honor comes with great responsibility for advancing women in STEM,” Dio said at the awards ceremony. “I don’t take that lightly, and I’m sure each of you feels the same responsibility.”


In naming Dio as this year’s top executive, NAFE recognized her career accomplishments and efforts in driving BP’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda.


“She has spent her entire career supporting the professional success of women through her thoughtful approach to mentoring, training and providing opportunities to help support women with their career aspirations,” the group said. “Susan has been particularly instrumental in challenging other women beyond the ‘they would never consider me for that role’ phase.”


Dio also delivered the keynote address at the NAFE event, discussing the importance of D&I and sharing her experiences as a working mother at BP. She also offered advice on how women should approach their careers, encouraging them to “plan it around purpose.”


“Perceptions will change, but purpose usually doesn’t,” she said. “In my experience, people who pursue their purpose tend to be more fulfilled and successful. I was fortunate to do that, and like each of you, I’m committed to doing everything I can to ensure women in my field have the same opportunity.”


Dio, who blogged about gender diversity on her personal LinkedIn page, began her 35-year BP career as an engineer. She qualified as a certified welding inspector and helped file two patents with a team of innovators before having her second child and switching to part-time work. She later returned to full-time work at BP when, as she described it, “the time was right for me and my family.”

At BP, creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, with all its people giving their best, drives better business results and helps the company address great challenges that the world faces — such as meeting growing energy needs while reducing emissions.

Susan Dio (left) wins Top Executive Award from NAFE

As Dio pointed out, research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform those that aren’t. “The future of our planet requires that we make energy an industry that attracts all available talent,” she said in her keynote address.

BP’s commitment to D&I involves striving to attract, motivate, develop and retain talented individuals from all backgrounds. To accelerate BP America’s progress, the company established a U.S. Minority Ambition for 2025, with goals of at least 30% minority representation among U.S. and at least 20% for all U.S. group and senior-level leaders.

This is just one of the ways BP is working to move from good intentions to accountability with D&I.


BP has also reached its highest-ever level of gender diversity, thanks in part to its global gender ambition. Women now account for 35% of its employees and are on track to represent 25% of its most senior managers by 2020. Additionally, women now lead some of BP’s most critical U.S. businesses, including Dio at BP America, Starlee Sykes heading the Houston-based Gulf of Mexico business and Janet Kong helming the 3,000-person trading team in Chicago. 

“I see women helping women now more than ever before, and it’s making a difference,” Dio said.