At Limestone Commercial, one of our core values is Authentify. This is a word we created to mean breakthrough decision making supported by data and transparent analysis. To Authentify is to transfer courage through authentic and meaningful conversations with our clients. It takes courage to speak words that people do not want to hear but need to hear – especially as they make large decisions.
We interviewed Marty Lundstrom, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Shell Energy Solutions who tells us a little about how faith helped guide her throughout many key life events as she continued to grow in her career.
She has built her career by standing up for herself – how action always lead to better outcomes than “hopes and dreams”. We believe she has a story that will encourage other young business professionals to make breakthrough decisions in their lives, businesses, and communities.
How did you get here?
Well, I’m not far from where I started. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and am still here. As to my job, I feel like it was my God-ordained path. I have learned that God used the hard things in life to shape me and give me purpose. No pain in life is wasted. Today, I can say I am grateful because that pain is what got me here. My parents went through a divorce when I was about 8 years old. During the divorce, there was a custody battle where I was represented by an ad litem attorney. That attorney changed my life. And so from a young age, I knew I wanted to be an attorney and went on to have that as a goal growing up. I could have never imagined how much God would bless my career, but I am grateful for the struggle that got me where I am.
What lessons did you learn, or insights did you gain on the way?
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in the workplace. I often just “wished” people would promote me, and hoped they liked my work well enough to get me to the next level. But, I never made a proactive plan to ask for what I needed or wanted in the workplace. I failed to ask for the things I needed – such as a flexible work schedule; so I burned out. I failed to ask for the promotion and raise I felt was deserved based on my work and market compensation; so I stayed status quo. I failed to own the plan for my career. Rather I relied on hopes and dreams to get me there. As someone who is now a boss of others, I can tell you this “hope and dream” I had is not a “plan.” I cannot read the minds of what people may need or want in the workplace and I am sure the same was true of my bosses when I kept mum on these topics. Do excellent work; make yourself indispensable. Then ask for what you need and want in your career with confidence, knowing that you have done what it takes to deserve it.
What was your favorite thing to do as a child and how does it correlate to your current role?
Play volleyball. Work is a team sport in many ways. To be successful you have to put people in the right position and have each play their role well. No one achieves success on an island. For example, on the volleyball court, some players are passers, some are setters, and some are hitters. A good volleyball play usually requires all three roles to do their parts well. The same is true for corporate “plays”. I firmly believe you need to bring a team along with you and utilize each “teammate’s strengths to be successful.
How do you prepare your team to take on projects that appear impossible?
I love the question that my stepmom used to ask me.
Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time.
I like to break projects down into digestible steps and take them one at a time. It keeps people from getting overwhelmed and focused on the next important step.
What is your greatest challenge?
Self-doubt frequently gets the best of me. I have to remind myself that I can do hard things, even if I don’t know how to do something yet. Law school, in my view, actually didn’t teach me how to be a lawyer. It taught me how to think about problems and find the answers. That skill set is important for any problem I don’t know how to solve.
What is your big secret to managing stress in the workplace?
Pray a lot and take breaks. I have found that prayer centers me and helps me refocus.
What do you do to recharge?
Travel – I like new scenery – especially those with waterscapes. Somehow water has a way of calming me down and getting me to breathe some fresh air.
How did the pandemic reshape your business and/or your life?
Well, it taught me I can work from anywhere. I think that is good and bad because there is less of a divide between my work life and home life. I will try to keep the good parts of these times – like flexibility and connectivity.
What advice do you have for other professional women or young professionals?
I learned this mantra from my volleyball coach in high school.
The question you ask is “What is the only play that matters?”
The right answer? “The next play.”
This mindset has served me well in life – I need to learn from mistakes but not dwell on them – keep my eye on the next thing that God has for me and do that with excellence. I have made a lot of mistakes in my career but this mantra has always helped keep my “eye on the prize”. It allows me to get better, be more confident and move onto the “next play” in my work and life.
About Marty Lundstrom
Marty Estelle Lundstrom is an experienced professional with major law firm and large public and private in-house counsel experience. She currently serves as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Shell Energy Solutions, a Shell Energy North America company providing power from renewable sources and other energy solutions to large commercial, industrial and residential clients throughout the United States. She is also responsible for the HR, regulatory, compliance, insurance and data privacy/security functions for the company.
Ms. Lundstrom started her career at the Haynes & Boone law firm in business and environmental groups and has had roles with increasing responsibility at Hess Corporation, Charming Charlie and Spark Energy. She is currently or has been a director with several non-profit companies and institutions, including 4Word (a professional Christian women’s group), Night Court (an annual fundraising performance benefitting a number of Houston charities), the University of St. Thomas Alumni Board and Westminster United Methodist Church. Ms. Lundstrom holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of St. Thomas, a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and a M.B.A. from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
Shell Energy Solutions, is a Shell Energy North America company providing power from renewable sources and other energy solutions to large commercial, industrial and residential clients throughout the United States.