1999: Lisa Booth, From Intern to CFO
Lisa Booth’s journey on TAPS is one of many inspirational stories. Her introduction to TAPS as an intern in 1999 was the beginning of a long career that led to her current position of Vice President, CFO. Lisa’s visionary leadership is summarized by those who worked closely with her over the years (see the sidebar below), and her story illustrates career possibilities at Alyeska and the oil and gas industry. Enjoy this Q&A with Lisa of her memories, milestones and stories on TAPS.
What are your favorite memories working on TAPS?
“I really love seeing interns here long after their first summer with us. (Current employees) Nelson Carpluk, Brad Gordon, Jeremy Gustafson and Tyler Hendrickson all come to mind. Trips to the field, working on and completing big projects successfully are other things I love be a part of. I enjoy making memories in this new role as well, doing things like meeting with the First Alaskans board along with organizing and running a recent TAPS Strategic Planning meeting.”
What were some of your professional milestones at Alyeska?
“I came to Alyeska with just over half of my MBA completed. The company supported the rest of my education financially, and the CFO at the time, Art Mitchell, supported me getting transferred back to Anchorage from Valdez so I was in a better position to complete the program.
“The company also fully supported me by letting me move around the organization and learn about different roles and functions. Contracts & Procurement, Business Planning, IT, Human Resources, Alaska Native Program, Internal Audit and CFO are roles that I worked in and some of the departments I was both an individual contributor and manager/director. More recently while I was the General Audit Manager, I obtained an Internal Auditor certification (CIA). In my new role as Vice President – CFO, I have opted to keep the certification by getting continuing professional education. I really enjoy the topics they cover – governance, enterprise risk, IT internal controls, business continuity.”
After interning here, why did you want to continue working for Alyeska?
“Alyeska was starting a new program called Building Foundations for Excellence and had come up with unique role that would rotate through Contracts, Business Planning, and Accounting for six months each. It was a perfect fit for me because I was about halfway through my MBA. I flew to Valdez to do the interview and met Art Michell and Kim Hartman. Just as I walked in the door at home later that evening, they called to offer me the job.”
When did you know you could achieve CFO? Where were you in your career?
“I worked closely with all of the CFOs that were here during my nearly 23-year tenure – Art Mitchell, Mike Muckenthaler, and Ed Hendrickson – primarily as their Business Analyst or Director of Business Planning. I had lots of conversations with them and watched and observed how they ran their divisions. Being able to have that access gave me the insight and confidence to know that I could step into their shoes one day. It humanized them and the role for me. We are all here trying to do the best we can with what we have and accomplish a really important mission for Alaska.”
What advice do you have for employees with big goals and want to continue growing with Alyeska?
“Be confident in yourself and your abilities – it is noticed and rewarded. Knowing when and how to add value to every position you have is critical to the company’s success. Understand the constraints and find ways to improve processes when you can. Be a leader in every role you have. Know what you have control of and what you don’t and don’t focus too much on those things out of your control.”
What helped you along the way that might have been unusual or less conventional?
“Moving around the organization to different roles. I really took a zigzag path to where I am, but in terms of the system view, there really isn’t a better way to get it. I never thought I would work in Internal Audit, and it ended up being of my favorite teams to work with. The Audit team members are smart and work hard to keep TAPS employees safe, mitigate enterprise risks and help provide insight to potential blind spots. The work is totally up my alley because it boils down to being a trusted advisor for Alyeska leadership through careful examination of the policies, procedures, processes that Alyeska operates by and how we are doing in following them. Sometimes you find ways to accomplish the same thing but in a better way, that always feels great. It’s also a great way to have insight across the organization and do some deep dives with the teams. You could be focused on custody transfer one day, internal controls over financial reporting the next.”
You’ve gone through grad school and leadership development. Were there any mentors along the way?
“I finished grad school in 2001 and went through several great leadership programs, our own Alyeska Breakthrough Leadership, industry specific leadership programs, Center for Creative Leadership, Accountability Leadership, etc. I had so many mentors along the way – both informal and formal. (Alyeska lawyer) Susan Murto was my very first mentor during my BFEP, and her knowledge and perspective was invaluable to me to talk things over with! There was even a point in time that I was thinking about going to law school. After that, (retired CFO) Ed Hendrickson interviewed me for a position that I did not get but he had to have seen something in me because he then offered to be my mentor. A year or so later I was working for him.”
Where did your passion for business operations, math, numbers, leadership begin?
“My parents were teachers, and I can see now how they interact with my daughter the influence they had on me early in life. Even the simplest things are ‘learning opportunities’ to teach numbers, grammar, science. They were just visiting us the past few weeks and my dad was explaining leap years to Olivia and my mom makes math games out of everything she does with Olivia. I can remember in second grade my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him a cashier. Instead of telling if that was a good or a bad choice for a career, he just asked more questions and found out that I thought the cashiers kept all the money they get from the shoppers.”
What kept you at Alyeska throughout your career? There are so many opportunities out there, but you stayed.
“I stay for the people and the challenges. I often catch myself thinking there is no other group of people I would want to accomplish the mission with, and that was as true as it was 20 years ago as it is now. I have a lot of appreciation for everything that goes in to keeping our workers safe, keeping the oil in the pipe, and driving the company forward. I have been so fortunate to work in so many different teams and to work on projects that pull in people from all over the company. I love the challenges I get thrown my way, too, and know I can give it my all and harness the strengths of the team and leave things better than when I got them.”
We are celebrating 45 years of TAPS operations this year – what areas of our company have most evolved since you started?
“We were in business units at the time, so the centralized shift that happened in the early 2000s was a big but necessary change. That created a lot of unnecessary complexity – basically three ways of doing things like payroll, HR, etc. I think about some of the big things the company accomplished: technology improvements like the crawler pig. Really, I see us always looking for ways to improve, do better, keep the pipeline running safely, and taking good care of our people.”
Sidebar: What TAPS coworkers say about Lisa’s journey, work
Lisa Booth started a lasting career on TAPS interning in the CFO division. From there, she took on new opportunities throughout the division and spent time working in Alyeska’s Alaska Native Program. Before landing on the role of CFO in 2021, a few highlights in her career included: Supply Chain Performance Manager, Business & Strategic Planning Director, Alaska Native Program Director, General Audit Manager.
Lisa has worked with several work groups and individuals since 1999. Read below to hear a few perspectives about Lisa’s leadership and career at Alyeska from those who have worked closely with her.
We’re celebrating Lisa’s 1999 hire date as part of the TAPS 45th anniversary. What are your thoughts on this milestone?
Kim Kersten (Chief of Staff): “Lisa has devoted her career to Alyeska and has been an amazing example to others of how an individual can learn, grow and develop with a lot of hard work and dedication. We should all be proud that she is homegrown and that she chose to contribute to TAPS since 1999.”
Dan Flodin (Chief Procurement Officer): “Lisa epitomizes the TAPS spirit. She has worked alongside others and many teams, jumping in where needed. In several cases, her transitions between work groups at Alyeska resulted from direct requests for her skillset. Lisa takes on challenges with a steady problem-solving style, keeping logic and analysis at the forefront of her work. Lisa looks at challenges positive, ‘how can this be done’ attitude, which I would guess was a similar mindset of the original constructors of the pipeline.”
Nelson Carpluk (Oil Scheduler): “Her milestone highlights the growth and progression available within TAPS – Starting as an intern and now the CFO!”
You’ve worked with Lisa before she started her current position as CFO. What are some moments of leadership or partnership you witnessed from her before she joined the Executive Team?
Kersten: “I’ve learned so much by observing Lisa. Her ability to remain poised under pressure is truly remarkable. Lisa’s calm, confident presence is a great quality that add to the Executive Team. Her drive to deliver results and confidence to push back on issues that she feels strongly about are carried over from previous roles into her current position.”
Flodin: “I have witnessed Alyeska leadership look for someone to fill a critical, challenging role and arrive at Lisa to improve the role in a collaborative style. She doesn’t just fill a role – she breaks down barriers and improves cross-department work.”
Ailene Valdez (Supplier and Performance Compliance Supervisor): “I worked for Lisa shortly after I was hired at Alyeska in 2007. I was struck by how quiet yet strong she is. To this day, I still admire her ‘quiet strength.’”
Carpluk: “Lisa was my supervisor in the Business Planning group, and one of her best qualities is her ability to make each team member feel valued. She respects everyone she works with and highlights their strengths. This leadership style resulted in a tight-knit work group. I knew that if I was working on a tough issue or work deliverable, I had the support of everyone on that team – that’s the atmosphere she creates at Alyeska.”
What have you appreciated about working with Lisa over the years? Any fun memories you’d like to share?
Kersten: “Lisa is resilient. It seems the more stressful a situation is, the more she thrives. She has an amazing and supportive family, and her priority is and always will be her daughter. As a working mom, I have always respected this about her. She’s always offering tips and suggestions on how to balance it all – From Fred Meyer grocery pickups to traveling with toddlers. One time, she gave me a car seat that her daughter had outgrown. She wanted to make sure it was washed and clean because ‘her mom would be super disappointed’ if she were to give something away that wasn’t. I always think about that when I give something away now. Lisa – a few kids later, and I am still using that car seat, though it’s definitely not clean anymore!”
Flodin: “I always appreciate Lisa’s sense of humor and openness. We have journeyed through personal and professional milestones together at Alyeska over the past 22 years. Lisa started here about six months before I did in a similar business analyst role as me. We have been peers for well over 10 years in various roles, and I have been her supervisor at times and now she is supervising me. Throughout our careers here, we always manage to keep in touch regardless of our roles. I trust and know that she has the best interest for Alyeska and employees in mind when she makes decision.”
Valdez: “When I worked for Lisa, she would always take her directs to lunch on our Alyeska anniversary date. I appreciated that and it made me feel special to have lunch with the boss! She continues to keep up with different areas of her division, and recently scheduled time to meet with myself, Pam Chenier and Cyndy Strickland on our area of work.”
Carpluk: “I am someone who loves to travel, and it’s always fun to pop over to her office and share a flight deal or just catch up on travel plans she has with her daughter Olivia, which often involves a spontaneous trip to Disneyland!”
Lisa has held a number of roles on TAPS, mostly with the CFO group. How has that prepared her for her current leadership position?
Kersten: “Lisa has never failed to try something new and is always up for a new challenge. She is willing to get out of her comfort zone and learn a new skillset. Lisa delivers on what she says she will do and, I think most importantly, works well with others.”
Flodin: “Lisa has gained a broad perspective from her many roles at Alyeska in the last 22 years. This has allowed her to see the strengths and challenges from multiple perspectives and use a system view for decision-making.”
Valdez: “Lisa has actual, first-hand knowledge of the work between each department in the CFO division. This background and familiarity helps her as CFO.”
Carpluk: “Lisa has a broad view of the company – she’s been able to work with so many groups in her division. In her current role, that background, and understanding the ripple effects of decisions that impact multiple groups, can be a game changer. Lisa has a combined, extensive knowledge of the CFO division and working relationships she’s built over her career. She is uniquely positioned to excel at her new level of leadership.”
How has Lisa supported others at Alyeska?
Flodin: “Lisa helps others move toward career goals. One example is a time when she advocated for Brad Gordon. He expressed interest in a business analyst role several years ago. She helped make that happen and advocated for Brad, broadening his early career experience on TAPS.”
Cyndy Strickland (Sourcing Manager): “I haven’t worked directly with Lisa, but I approached her to get some guidance on key areas necessary to become a viable candidate for Business & Strategic Manager, the position Lisa held at the time. She was so warm and encouraging about my professional development. It helped my confidence in applying when the position became available about a year after our discussion – I felt she believed in me.
“Recently, I’ve shared with Lisa that I appreciate the time she takes during quarterly linewide calls to stay on and ensure all questions are answered by attendees. She reads every comment in the chat section of the meeting and acknowledges anyone who took the time to write a comment or question.
“Last week I had the opportunity to meet with several members of our Executive Team, a key contractor and representation from the Alaska Native Program. Being at the table with Lisa, Carrie Irwin Brown and Jessica Jacobsen was a moment for me. I loved seeing so many Alaska Native women at the table and sought out for valued advice.”
Carpluk: “I have always appreciated that Lisa prioritizes helping me and other team members move forward and progress in our careers. As a supervisor and a mentor, Lisa has continually helped me focus on the next step, the next skillset I should work on for short and long-term goals.”
Kersten: “Never underestimate her! I have yet to see her fail at anything she wants to do. I am confident that her positive, can-do attitude will set her up for success no matter what her future holds. I am honored to work alongside her.”
Flodin: “I’m just so proud of Lisa’s achievements at Alyeska. She is a genuine, good person and I consider her a leader that we can all support and take pride in.”
READ MORE 45TH ANNIVERSARY TAPS VISION STORIES:
2013: Tom Barrett — coming soon