Sandy Jones on thinking big, being the best competitor you can be, and leading with confidence has been saved
Life at Deloitte
Sandy Jones on thinking big, being the best competitor you can be, and leading with confidence
Deloitte is proud to introduce a new series profiling women in the energy industry in conjunction with the Women’s Energy Network (WEN). By highlighting the stories of women in energy, we hope to help facilitate meaningful conversations, create connections, and showcase the myriad of opportunities for women to enter and thrive in the energy industry.
Sandy Jones grew up on a farm in upstate New York, and when she retires, she plans to own one of her own in Virginia. But for now, she’s leading Deloitte's Asset Ecosystem strategic growth initiative, innovating work, resource, and asset performance management for industries including oil and gas, industrial products, construction, utilities, and renewables.
Finding her way into the energy industry
“I came from a time and place where my parents said to me, ‘find a job that you won’t get laid off from. I remember thinking that electricity probably isn’t going away any time soon,” Jones says with a laugh. Though her interest in the energy industry may have started rather pragmatically 30 years ago, today it is Jones’s passion that gets her up every morning, excited to get to work.
Her start came in the form of an internship at General Electric in the Power Generation division. It was a position she started while an undergrad at Clarkson University, and maintained through the completion of her MBA at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “I had thought I wanted to be an engineer,” she said, “until I had this internship.” Though she realized she loved working in the energy business, Jones also quickly learned that she cared less about creating electricity and more about solving operational problems. Her first job at Accenture helped her confirm it.
Thinking big and working hard
“I was on my very first project back in 1991, and one of the things they asked me to do was read FERC Order No. 636,” Jones says. This order discussed the unbundling of the energy industry to eliminate a vertical monopoly. “Can you imagine my first task was to digest this complex deregulation and report back? That was a little daunting.” It did, however, give Jones a holistic look into the industry and helped her realize she’d made the right career choice; the energy industry fit perfectly with her “think big” mindset.
Deloitte & Touche LLP
Thinking big is something Jones has had to do throughout her entire career, through all the ups, and especially through the downs. “A couple times, I was put into roles where there were not many sources of support,” she says. “A lot of times, people will say, if you can sense this situation, you should find a graceful way to exit the role.”
Jones didn't back away, though.
“I actually learned a lot in those situations, and I enjoyed them because I was meeting with new clients,” she says. “New client situations energize me.”
It’s a big part of why Jones likes consulting: There are themes, but each client is unique. She loves the educational journey, even when times get tough.
Thriving in the competition
“I love, love, love to solve clients’ most complex problems,” she says. “I like to be the very best at what I do.” She also likes to be a resource for her clients and to bring her strongest team to the table for every interaction.
With her love for competition, you’d think Jones played a sport growing up, but she didn’t. Of course, that didn’t stop her from participating in the 2019 St. Jude Marathon, even though she’d never been much of a runner before. “I am very much a person who is okay with a bar that’s set really high,” she says. “I become incredibly focused on how to get over that bar.” Though she won’t be running another marathon ever again, she is a huge fan of Orange Theory, a fitness regimen that utilizes metrics and a digital app to motivate individuals to beat their personal bests, a perfect outlet for Jones’s competitive nature.
When you come out on the other side of difficult situations, you're amazed at how much you know and how many new dots you can connect.
On being a woman in energy and knowing your true potential
“The sooner you find confidence, the better,” Jones says, advice she thinks is especially relevant for women. “When I made manager, a lightbulb went off, and I said, ‘I’m going to the top.’”
While confidence may be synonymous with going to the top for Jones, that same confidence is what fuels her belief that no one should think of themselves or others as constrained by their level. For so long, Jones was afraid to have conversations with leaders, but she realized getting exposure and talking to those above her can help prepare her for future roles. She loves how the culture at Deloitte encourages this sort of thinking.
“I try to talk to as many people as I can who ask for advice from me, so they can hopefully get that confidence quickly,” she says. “Exposure is key to ensuring that you don’t hold yourself back.”
Jones emphasizes that a big part of this confidence is making sure you’re a good fit stylistically for the organization you’re in. And you must make sure that you’re at a place that will help you reach your full potential.
Of course, the advice given to Jones is equally as memorable as the advice she gives out. When asked for her favorite words of wisdom, she’s quick to respond with the words of one early mentor of hers: “You have to really, really, really care, but not that much.” That’s some of the best advice Jones has ever received, something she says to those she mentors to this day. “You put your heart into something, but then know and feel confident in the fact that if it doesn't work out, you didn't give yourself up in the process.”
You want to make sure you’re not just surviving, but that you’re thriving. You want to work in an environment where your style is encouraged and rewarded.
Sandy lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her husband Mike. Together they have three children, Devan (23), Bradley (20) and Avery (15) and a cockapoo named Cobby.
Sandy Jones: The lightning round
Describing herself in three words: Funny, strong, and empathetic
Favorite food or drink: Ice cream!
Favorite place to travel: Upstate NY
One thing on her bucket list: Owning my own horse(s)
Where is the first place you’ll go now that you can travel again?: Syracuse, NY, back to where I grew up
What’s one thing you’ll miss from quarantine and one thing you won’t?: Orange Theory every day at 6 p.m., and definitely masks!
Women in Energy