At only 33 years old, Atong Amos Agook Juac has made a name for herself in the oil and gas industry in the East African region. The mother of five has amassed over a decade of experience in the oil and gas sector, leading in various capacities including founder of her own crude oil company, the Triple A Group.
The company focuses on climate-conscious drilling solutions, trading of crude oil products and integrated logistics services. Atong believes that women have a unique opportunity and internal momentum to embark on an intrusive energy transition for a sustainable future, hence her immense support and mentorship for women in the industry.
This past weekend Who Owns Kenya caught up with Atong as she received an award for the Most Outstanding Female in the Oil and Gas industry award at the Africa Outstanding Awards held in Nairobi.
You are a very busy woman, Atong. Kindly paint a picture for us on how a typical day looks like for you.
To begin with I am a mother of five children who are all in Kenya. It is quite challenging juggling between work and life because I operate in three countries: Kenya, South Sudan and the UAE. I start my day typically by thanking God then checking my emails, checking crude oil prices and having a sit down with my team to plan for the day.
How are you able to balance work and family?
I have a very supportive family who take care of my children when I’m away, so I do not have to worry about their well-being since they are very well taken care of. That removes some worry from me because I know they are in good hands.
What unique challenges do women face in this industry?
Number one is the lack of capital. A lot of women do not have the financial capacity to fund their businesses in this industry. Lack of support from financial institutions also plays a big role in this. We are currently pushing for a more inclusive lending infrastructure so that women are able to access finances that they need to start to run their businesses.
Tell us a bit about your company Triple A
At the Triple A group, we do trading of crude oil products. We recently launched our own line of lubricant products and are actually planning to launch another product which the public will be updated about soon. We currently have a presence in South Sudan, Kenya, the UAE and Angola.
You are big on mentorship and empowerment. Did you have a mentor at the start of your career and how important is mentorship in this industry?
Interestingly, I did not have a mentor when I began my career so I had to learn the hard way. Because of that I decided to mentor young female players in this industry so they can smoothly navigate the industry without facing the hurdles I had to at the beginning of my career.
In fact 60% of the employees in my company are female. Mentorship is very important. My country South Sudan for example, is a post-war country. In a community like that, the youth have to be mentored and given opportunities so that they can stay busy and redirect their energy to something positive. In the long run, these mentorship programs will pay off because the young people will have something to do, hence keeping them away from trouble and contributing to a peaceful community.
You have been very successful in your career perhaps you could mention to us some of the most significant moments for you in your career
In 2017 I was recognized by the Noble Women Initiative in Canada for the Best Woman running a local organization.
Earlier this year in March I won the Forty Under 40 Awards Africa accolade in the Oil and Gas category in an event held in South Africa.
This year I was also inducted and awarded the 50 Under 50 award from the Female Founders Initiative in Dubai.
Tonight I’m also receiving the award for the Most Outstanding Female in the Oil and Gas industry at the Africa Outstanding Awards here in Nairobi.
All these awards are a testament to the work we put in to ensure that our voices are heard and our impact is felt. I am very very happy and proud.
In your opinion, what can be done to make a level playing field for women in this industry?
Education is the key. Education, motivation and mentorship. Also providing financing will go a long way in enabling that women do a lot in this industry.
What is your advice for other people who want to get into this industry?
My advice would be to tell them that nothing is difficult if you work for it and go for it and believe in yourself then you will most likely succeed.
What are your future plans?
First of all I am only 33 years old. I am young and have a lot of things planned for the future. Actually I might be the next Minister of Petroleum in South Sudan… You never know! (Laughs)
What is your message to the young to the youth out there looking to make a name for themselves?
You are very important to your community, to your family and to the world. Whatever you are praying for, go for it and believe in yourself. There is nothing you cannot do. Just put in the work, get a good education, believe in yourself and you are definitely going to make it. Thank you.