Working at Williams

Making deals and keeping work-life balance

Jaclyn Presnal is director of strategic development at Williams. Her team is responsible for bolt-on merger and acquisition opportunities for Williams, as well as business development support for our gathering and processing business.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance and Master of Business Administration from the University of Tulsa. She’s held various leadership roles at Williams, including director of strategy & market intelligence, continuous improvement consultant, manager of project analysis and manager of strategic planning. Presnal also was a founding member of Williams Diversity & Inclusion Council.

We talked to the mom of two about her role now at Williams.

Your team recently closed on the acquisition of MountainWest pipelines. How was that a big win for Williams?

MountainWest fits squarely in our strategy. It is our core business of regulated transmission and storage assets. Those don’t come into the market very often.

And we know that Williams can be successful in these large-scale acquisitions. We have a core deal team, along with broader diligence and transition teams involved in the process. We did a good job on the due diligence, and we were able to successfully negotiate with the seller to get the assets at a value that was attractive to us.

During this process, I loved learning about the MountainWest organization and meeting the people. A great group of employees have come over in that transaction and I’m excited to see the value they bring to Williams.

Those deals are complex and time-consuming. How did the team manage the workload, while keeping up with demands at home?

The work required to take an acquisition opportunity from the beginning of the process all the way through closing is pretty involved. Within the core deal team, several of us have children.

There were a lot of demands with that negotiation, and we tried to schedule calls across four time zones that weren’t in the middle of the evening when we would be with our kids. We were all pretty well aligned with “hey, if we can push the call to 8 p.m. that would be way better than 6 p.m.”

It is important to also support your family. I mean, it’s important to get the work done, but there are ways to be creative.

What is it that gets you excited about coming to work?

Every day is different. There’s always something new and challenging to tackle. There’s a lot of collaboration and brainstorming and trying to think about things creatively and strategically; actually putting strategy into action, which is really exciting.

Have there been women in your career who have inspired you?

It’s always been important to me to identify women in the organization who I admired or who I saw had been successful in their careers and to build relationships and networks with them. I had mentors who were great examples of work-life balance and being moms, while having successful careers in a space where the majority of employees are male.

More importantly though, my mom has always been an example of hard work and dedication. She was the sole earner for our home for most of the time I was growing up.  She took on a lot of different jobs without having a professional degree to make ends meet. Seeing that sacrifice and dedication at an early age helped me to better understand my own priorities for work and family.

What advice do you have for young professionals?

One thing that comes to mind is to reach out and ask questions of those you admire. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their career or get advice on your own career. Finding your support system is key. I managed to find a group of women when we were at similar stages in our careers and we helped each other navigate career development, transitioning into leadership, and generally navigating life.

Also, take some risks if that’s something you have the capacity for. The time isn’t always right in your career, but sometimes those opportunities are presented and it’s important to give yourself the space to take the opportunity. For example, I relocated with my family to Utah for several years to take a new role and gained valuable experience that readied me for my current position in Oklahoma.

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