Good morning and welcome to the 8th Young Leaders Advisory Board Town Hall. Thank you all for joining us, especially those of you who have traveled from outside of Dhahran. I always look forward to this Town Hall—it makes me feel much younger to be in a room with our youngest generation of employees!
Every one of these Town Hall meetings has demonstrated that our young people are ready to face the challenges ahead. And that’s really what I want to speak about today: Aramco’s future, and your role in it. But before that, I want to reflect on the past.
This year marks our 90th anniversary. Thank you for carrying on a long and proud tradition through your dedication, hard work, and in demonstrating the Aramco team spirit.
The history of the 20th century could not have been written without Aramco’s contributions. Already, we are having a similar impact on the 21st century…even without including the recent acquisition of Qadisiyah Sports Club!
The Kingdom is rapidly changing in the context of Saudi Vison 2030, and Aramco is a key catalyst for change. We have an ambitious growth agenda, aimed at meeting the demands of today and laying the foundation for a more sustainable tomorrow. Our 2050 net-zero ambition is the key driver of our growth strategy.
To execute that vision, we recently reorganized several aspects of our business.
We enhanced our Strategy and Corporate Development functions. By bringing these two together, we are better able to define and implement our long-term vision.
We established a new Technology & Innovation business line. This elevates our emphasis on integrating our work on lower carbon solutions with our digital transformation and IR4 technologies like AI, data analytics and machine learning.
Moving forward, we will also have two new positions: Upstream President and Downstream President, to help drive our long-term growth across our global portfolio and value chain.
These changes will help bring our internal structures even more in line with our ambition to be the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company.
But structures, systems and charts do not always guarantee success. I always say the best systems or technologies cannot guarantee success, it’s people who create and enable success.
That’s where you fit in, with your energy and passion.
People are the heart of our business. Every generation of Aramcons has risen to the challenge.
You’re already contributing to your teams. Some of you are leading teams and soon, many more will be leading teams. Eventually, the people in this room will become Managers, Directors, VPs, SVPs, and EVPs of Aramco. One of you could even become CEO.
It may be a little bit difficult to imagine right now. Some of you may be wondering what it will take to rise through the ranks.
I was once in your shoes—so allow me to share what I have learned along the way.
First, don’t be afraid of taking risks or fear failure. Your generation is more of a risk taker than our generation. But still, I want to stress this point.
We are a company of researchers, engineers, professionals, and problem-solvers. Failure is not a shortcoming; it is an essential part of the process. Only with consistent practice and seeing what works and what doesn’t can we eventually discover what does.
Second, expose yourself to new ideas and new ways of working.
Here’s a few thoughts to consider on that topic.
Learn to push yourself outside your comfort zone to expand your social skills and professional network. Sometimes, introverted people will decline to attend functions if they do not know the people attending. But there is a lot of value in meeting new people and being more inquisitive. That is how we can explore new perspectives than just those we are familiar or comfortable with.
Generally speaking, your generation is smarter than previous generations and more expressive in communicating feelings and emotions. While being expressive is a positive thing, it can become negative if you convey too much impatience and frustration. Our emotions need to be intelligent to support our goals. Be aware of your reactions, and learn how to manage your anger and disappointment.
I know there has been a lot of emphasis on IQ, but today we are also focusing on emotional intelligence and social intelligence. Many of you have untapped capabilities or ideas. Your ideas are valuable, and you’re passionate about them, However, if an idea doesn’t receive support, my advice to you: don’t take it personally. Learn how to adapt and how to build credibility of your ideas in a way that will make them receive more support and attention.
Aramco today is home to people of many different backgrounds and competencies. Your colleagues from another department or division from different backgrounds and competencies may have the answers to a question or issue you are stuck with. Collaboration is key!
Also, taking leadership roles and initiating programs that serve your communities is important, and it will help you to develop and build new skills. And it’s consistent with Aramco’s social responsibility.
Third, be resilient.
As in life, work is not always going to go your way. You will encounter setbacks—trust me.
For example, a project may not immediately achieve the desired results. Or you may not always have a fantastic connection with your boss or your colleagues. The true test of your character is how you respond, especially how you manage disappointment. Also, you need to have the ability to work through ambiguity or gray areas. Life isn’t all about black and white only. There are complexities.
Building this resilience will help you manage the ups and downs of work and life.
And finally, never forget that your ability to do great things at work requires a life outside of work. Both are precious.
Several of those lessons have served me well across my career. I hope you find them useful as well.
The most important part of today is having a chance to hear from you, so I will stop here.
I want to end with this: working at Aramco is a unique privilege. There are few companies whose work has the potential to impact nearly everyone on the planet. We are fortunate to have that opportunity.
I know you will make the most of it, and make your families and colleagues proud.