November 22, 2021
Building good relationships with Indigenous people and tribes around Phillips 66 assets starts with listening and sharing.
"Getting diverse Indigenous perspectives is invaluable to us as a company and industry," Phillips 66 Vice President of Midstream Operations Todd Denton said at a company forum in Bartlesville, Okla., for Native American History Month. "We want Native American people to know Phillips 66 is engaged with the tribes and engaged with the Indigenous people."
The Native American Network employee resource group sponsored the forum at the company's Adams Building auditorium to highlight the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and its efforts to bring more Indigenous students into STEM studies. Phillips 66 has contributed $110,000 to AISES over two years.
“STEM equips students with real-world problem-solving skills and is the birthplace of innovation,” Denton said. “We are committed to supporting STEM because we believe an educated workforce drives Phillips 66 and the world’s economic future.”
AISES Chief Executive Officer Sarah EchoHawk spoke at the event, providing an overview of the organization and how companies can become more involved with and recruit Indigenous people. Hiring Indigenous people, she said, could result in new approaches to problem-solving and teamwork.
“That brings talent to your organization or corporation that you wouldn’t have before,” she said. “It really results in innovation.”
Earlier this year, Phillips 66 donated $250,000 to another STEM education effort for the Lummi Nation in Washington state. The Ferndale Refinery awarded the grant to the Lummi Nation Boys & Girls club to create the Lummi STEM Education Center, providing critical opportunities for career learning and STEM-mentoring activities. Construction on the center is planned for the fourth quarter of 2021.
Denton emphasized that while the contributions were helping to bring necessary change, the company's commitment to building meaningful relationships with all its stakeholders, including Indigenous people, is the driving force.
“It’s more than writing checks,” said Denton. “It’s about establishing those relationships."