Name: Jamie Swetalla
Occupation/Business: Public affairs specialist, Aera Energy LLC
Tell us how you got into your field. The oil and gas industry has been in my family for three generations. I grew up watching my dad come home in his work truck with a crane on it, and it was so interesting to me. I spent many birthdays having my pinata lifted by that crane, and it's one of my fondest childhood memories. Beyond my memories, I knew I wanted to be in the industry to not just follow in my father's and grandfathers’ footsteps, but also to make a difference.
Oil and gas provides us all a way of life, and for some, it saves their life. Although I don’t physically pull oil out of the ground, or I don’t have the training to provide life-saving treatments, I am a part of an industry that helps in that process through creating the plastic for medical saving devices, like IVs. It is also so much more than just the “oil and gas industry.” It's giving people a chance to succeed, progress and provide. That is why I'm in my field. I help share the stories of the employees who are just like my dad and grandpa and help my company invest in our community, all while helping protect our license to operate here in the state of California.
What is your "why?" (Why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do?) So many can spend their entire life searching for their purpose. I found my "why" when I was 17. At a young age, I was inspired by a child who received care from our local Children’s Miracle Network hospital, Lauren Small Children’s Center. It was his story and his fight to live that have stayed with me. Since that experience, I vowed to never take life for granted and to help people in the process. Working for Aera has allowed me the opportunity to continue to help people in so many ways. Knowing there is purpose in what I do is my “why."
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? You don’t have to be great to start, but if you never start, you’ll never become great. You have the same 24 hours that another person has. It’s up to you to decide what you want to do with that 24 hours.
What is the biggest challenge in the marketplace/business that you’ve overcome? I take a lot of pride in my work and love to help others, so I naturally work hard to go above and beyond and try to be everything to everyone, which can run me thin. However, I’ve learned to remind myself at the end of the day, if I'm not my best self, I won’t be helpful to the ones who need me most.
What is your proudest achievement of your career thus far? Over the years I have had some of the most amazing opportunities, from Winning Miss Bakersfield and Miss California, to leading community relations for an amazing company in town. I can honestly say I have been lucky to have so many but the one that stands out the most is showing others they can make a difference. It's one thing to lead campaigns or an amazing donation but to show others their power in their involvement is something special to me. It is truly a team effort and that is my proudest achievement.
What’s next for you in your career? Right now, I am working on completing my master's. I’m looking forward to increasing my development to be better for me, my company and my community.
What advice would you give to other young professionals and entrepreneurs in Bakersfield? I would share the best advice I have received in hopes that it would inspire them as much as its inspired me.
How do you hope to help improve Bakersfield, or bring to the community overall? I hope I inspire others to give back to the community by encouraging others to get involved with me. I know I am only one person, but with the help of many, we can make a major difference.
Social media contacts: Follow Aera Energy on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter
What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting your career? There is not a template for success and a career is not a linear path. You must create your own success by working hard toward what you want to do.