Kendra Lema

Delivering excellence in business and philanthropy

by Renee Griffin, photography by hall puckett

Kendra Lema certainly knows the value of strategic goals and long-term objectives.

The Lema Endowed Scholarship Fund at Kendra’s alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), was established in just a few years thanks to the coupling of her personal donations with contributions from Conoco­Phillips. The company’s Matching Gift Program offers employees a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution up to $10,000 per year to qualified charitable organizations.

When the initial contributions reached $25,000, CSM began offering funds to support one student at a time.

Through her continued contributions and company matches, the endowment now exceeds $100,000.

At that level, Kendra qualified for CSM’s Century Society. To date, she is the youngest female to enter that elite alumni organization. Additionally, CSM recognized Kendra as its Miner of the Month in September.

Photos of Lema Endowment graduates Daniel Zarinni and Madeline Levy are on display in Kendra’s office.

“The Conoco­Phillips Matching Gift Program was very important in helping me achieve this level of giving, and I encourage everyone to participate in their own charitable causes,” Kendra said. “What I consider a flexible and long-term commitment to individual students has helped me create relationships with them. I keep in touch as they go through their early careers. I have a picture of each one of them at graduation, and I hope to have an entire wall of them.”

Kendra also played a key role in helping CSM and Conoco­Phillips identify and align their long-term, multidisciplinary strategies to establish the Center for a Sustainable WE2ST (Water-Energy Education, Science and Technology) at CSM. Conoco­Phillips provided the $3 million leadership investment in 2014 that initiated the center’s focus on research and education to promote joint sustainability of unconventional energy production and water resources. Located on the CSM campus in Golden, Colorado, the WE2ST Center is not far from the Conoco­Phillips Niobrara development area just south of Denver.

“Our industry produces three times more water than oil,” Kendra explained. “The opportunity for Conoco­Phillips to support a center for projects that help address this challenge is tremendously valuable.”

Kendra has 21 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. She started her Conoco­Phillips career in 2001 working in midstream Natural Gas and Gas Products. She worked in major capital projects and corporate approvals before moving to Midland, Texas, as part of the Niobrara exploration team. She returned to Houston as an exploration project integration manager.

In her current role as the Lower 48 development engineering director, Kendra supervises the team of development engineers that provides support in the early development stages of conventional and unconventional assets in the company’s Gulf Coast, Mid-Continent and Rockies business units.

The team is especially adept at collaboration for decision quality (CDQ), which provides a framework to develop solutions for complex decisions made in times of uncertainty.

“Because of our service role, we are nimble, able to share staff, and positioned to share the best activities being implemented throughout the business units,” Kendra said.

For example, in the Powder River Basin, a new exploration play in Wyoming, Kendra and her team were very active in the facilities for the first few exploration wells.

And in the full-field development phase currently underway in the Niobrara asset, her team is managing the integration for long-term development.

Kendra lives in Katy, Texas, and is the mother of two — her daughter Soraya, age 13, and her son Apollo, age 10.