Meet some of our amazing women who are working to create a healthier planet for future generations
Meet Paula Whitten-Doolin
Head of Legal for Neste in North America
“I joined Neste right as our business began to explode in terms of demand and exposure in the United States, and it's been a wild ride so far. I've been proud to watch the Neste brand grow so much over the past year.”
What is your go-to comfort food?
Bread and cheese, any combo, any way (grilled cheddar cheese with tomatoes, cream cheese on pumpernickel toast, pimento cheese white bread sandwiches...YUM.
For all the new lawyers out there, what advice do you have for becoming both an amazing legal counsel and a driving force for fighting climate change?
I think my best advice - for someone who wants to end up in my position - would be that sometimes it's best to take the unexpected path. I didn't go straight into law and when I did, I did a variety of different things and didn't really specialize in anything for long periods of time.
That goes against the grain today; people are expected to specialize so quickly, move in a straight line up the ladder, and then they end up doing the same thing for the rest of their career. The zig-zag route has been much more useful for me since my current role (and I think many General Counsel-type roles) require me to cover a huge range of issues, often daily.
For climate change, my advice would be to follow your heart, even if it may seem scary.
You took a big leap, moving from a big company to a comparatively small renewable energy company. What scared you the most about this change?
I think what scared me the most was moving from the perceived security of a huge, well-known US company to a company that I wasn't as familiar with. Once I realized that Neste is full of people who care about each other and our planet and that there are a lot of customers and partners excited about our products, I stopped being nervous.
Lawyers are known for being high achievers and seeking out big challenges, how gratifying has it been to work in the renewable energy industry?
Professionally, this has been the biggest challenge I've ever faced. Over the past year, I've tackled things I never would have dreamed of working on before. Because I love change and I love learning, this is perfect for me.
Some people prefer a more routine path - a job where you can settle in and do the same thing day after day, and that's completely fine. Renewable energy is a wonderful place to look for a job right now - especially If you're like me and love a new adventure every day and have a strong belief in fighting climate change.
Meet Mya Yeo
Head of Supply for Neste in North America
“Everyone needs to play a role in combating climate change.”
What was your last vacation?
My last vacation was in 2019, a trip to Singapore to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Your job involves working with lots of people outside of Neste, how do you get them aware and excited about solving the climate crisis?
I like to think most people know that the growing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the main cause of global warming and climate change. When I am in discussion with potential suppliers, I try to draw a direct line that connects them, as a provider of low carbon intensity feedstock, to stopping more of those greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. It helps them see the role they play in fighting climate change, and it tends to resonate.
From your perspective, what is one good thing and one worrying thing about how climate change is viewed in the US compared to Singapore?
One good thing about how climate change is viewed in the US is that there have been some historical efforts to take action, like the "Climate change action plan" and "Clean power plan.” However, the worrying thing is that these efforts were not consistent and vary from leader to leader, state to state. Today, it seems to me like climate change has become a political game.
It is really tough to compare the US with Singapore though. Singapore is tiny, contributing 0.11% of global greenhouse gas emissions back in 2017 while the US has been one of the top two largest greenhouse gas emitting countries in the world.
When and why did you decide to make a change in your career and start working for a renewable energy company?
More than seven years ago, I was working in the commodity trading market. At the time, I did not know much about renewable diesel or sustainable aviation fuel, but I had heard about this company called Neste that was actively sourcing a lot of low carbon intensity raw materials.
When a recruiter reached out to me for a job interview with Neste, I googled the company. I remember reading that Neste used to be called Neste Oil, and that the company sources a wide range of 100% sustainable renewable raw materials to make renewable diesel. I found it really interesting and decided to go for the job interview to learn more. And the very next thing, I was given a warm welcome with "we believe in making the world a better place" during one of my inductions.