Published: June 7, 2021

Advisor, IT Recruiting, Learning & Development at Phillips 66

Madison Polansky

Why did you decide to come to Leeds?
   I toured a number of different schools when looking to attend a university. I stepped onto CU's campus and toured Leeds and immediately felt at home. I loved the beauty of the landscape and the University as well as the welcoming people. 

What is one thing you learned at Leeds that you will never forget?
   When at Leeds, I learned the importance of mentoring, networking, and making connections. It was through the amazing mentoring programs, like the Leeds Peer2Peer Mentoring Program and the Young Alumni Mentors Program, that I built incredible connections with professionals that I'm still in contact with today. 

What have been some of your most significant professional achievements as related to being part of the LGBTQ+ community?

    I’m the Co-Lead for PRIDE66, our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, in Houston, TX. I founded the first field chapter, outside of our headquarters office, of PRIDE66 at our San Francisco Refinery. I’ve also presented LGBTQ+ topics to the Executive Inclusion and Diversity Council at Phillips 66.

Tell us about a particular professor or mentor that influenced you while you were at Leeds.
   There are too many professors and mentors to list here that influenced my time at Leeds, but one that sticks out the most is Lorna Christoff. Lorna taught my Leadership Challenges class, where high-level executives shared critical challenges they have faced in their careers and students prepared and offered solutions to their moral and ethical dilemmas. Lorna coached me on public speaking and presenting to executives, but most importantly, she helped shape my thinking around solving ethical issues in the workplace that has served me well beyond the course. Additionally, I came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community my freshman year of university, and the Office of Diversity Affairs and the Multicultural Business Student Association at Leeds welcomed me with open arms and became my family.

Where has life taken you since you graduated Leeds?
   Upon graduating from Leeds, I moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma and began working for Phillips 66. Two short months later, I moved to our headquarters office in Houston, TX, where I worked in IT serving our Commercial and Marketing business units. I was then surprised with an offer to move to the Bay Area of San Francisco, where I worked at a refinery in IT supporting our digital initiatives. After nearly two wonderful years there, I moved back to Houston and worked in refining digital innovation. Most recently, I accepted a new role where I run the IT recruiting, new hire, and intern programs along with the learning and development programming for our 450 IT employees. I'm happily based in Houston, Texas now with my fiancée, our many house plants, and adorable dog named Walter. 

What is one piece of advice/best practice that has stuck with you throughout your career?
   "If it scares you, it's probably worth it." This is the piece of advice that motivated me to start a career in a field that I was unfamiliar with and then relocate four times in less than four years! If it scares you but also excites you... the opportunity is probably worth it!

What advice would you give to anyone interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
   If you are looking to join the energy industry, get to know the different types of energy and the dual challenge of providing affordable energy to support economic growth while addressing the environmental effects of that development, including the risks of climate change. Knowing and understanding things like the dual challenge and the comparison of energy sources will help you have more educated conversations with recruiters and other professionals!

What do you miss most about Boulder?
   Iced Chai from The Buff and live music on Pearl Street!

Is there anything else you would like to share?
   Students, take advantage of your time at the Leeds School of Business. Stay involved and connected with your peers... you never know when you'll reconnect after graduation!