Celebrating Women Making an Impact: Catherine James at Kinder Morgan

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2024

Catherine-James.jpgToday we celebrate and recognize International Women's Day – a perfect time to highlight one of the women making an impact at Kinder Morgan.

Vice President and General Counsel Catherine James comes from a family with deep roots in the energy business. Both her maternal great grandfathers were energy lawyers while her father worked as a geologist in the oil business. She always knew she wanted to work in the oil and gas industry.

After earning her law degree from the University of Texas, James began a career rooted in her family's Texas legacy in the legal and energy sectors. Her career has taken her to a variety of energy companies, including Chevron, Calpine and Dynegy, where she has had many different roles, as the industry is always evolving. "The thing I've learned is that things are always changing and it's never static," James said.

At Kinder Morgan, James’ leadership in the legal department is marked by collaboration and trust. She wears multiple hats, serving as both head of legal and a member of the management team. James’ typical day involves extensive meetings, addressing team concerns and ensuring that the company's interests are protected. “Everyone has each other's backs and is collaborative," James said. "We aren't afraid to fight to protect the company.”

James’ approach to leadership emphasizes the importance of collaboration and diversity. She recognizes that diversity fosters innovation and strength, a principle evident in her commitment to creating diverse teams. "People are naturally drawn to people like themselves," James said. "But I've always been a person who focuses on making sure that I get the best person for the job.” 

One of James’ proudest moments at Kinder Morgan thus far was her team's recent work challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's Good Neighbor Plan, which would require Kinder Morgan to spend more than a billion dollars to upgrade hundreds of existing compressor stations on an incredibly tight timeline. James’ team, led by Daryl Vance and Jessica Toll, advocated for the company's interests, first in the D.C. Circuit Court before taking it to the Supreme Court. This litigation is still in review with a decision pending. 

With a career spanning over three decades in the energy industry, James’ journey reflects her determination and commitment to excellence. As she looks back on her career, James offers this advice, “Be smart, work hard and embrace collaboration. There is no ‘I’ in team.”  

This International Women's Day, it's important to recognize the contributions of women like Catherine James and continue to strive for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
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