From work-life balance to earning the respect of colleagues in a male-dominated industry, Hallie Vanderhider, president and chief operating officer for Black Stone Minerals, knows the obstacles that come with establishing a career—and being a business woman. On April 2, Vanderhider addressed a class at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, explaining the ins and outs of working in oil and gas, and the impact that Black Stone Minerals has had on both that industry and the private equity sector.

“In any career, you’ll have challenges and hard times,” Vanderhider told students. “You have to take those experiences and enable yourself to grow from them.”

Black Stone, based in Houston, owns about 18 million acres of minerals in the United States. The company possesses approximately 27,000 oil wells nationwide, with interests in every major onshore basin and a concentration in the upper Gulf Coast. Additionally, Black Stone Minerals specializes in private equity funds, working with large institutions such as Princeton University, Rice University, and Johns Hopkins University. Vanderhider has worked hard to establish herself in the male-dominated energy industry, where she continues to prove her business abilities.

“You don’t see a lot of women in this industry. It’s a small universe,” said Vanderhider. “It is a rare situation for a woman to make it to the top, and you’re always held to a higher standard.”

Vanderhider graduated from the University of Texas in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and began her career in public accounting. She worked in audit for Deloitte & Touche for four years, assisting clients in the oil and gas and banking industries. After leaving Deloitte & Touche, Vanderhider took a position as chief accounting officer for a former oil and gas client, developing several retail partnerships over a 10-year span. Vanderhider put her career on hold to have children, spending four years with a focus on motherly duties. But she hadn’t had enough of the corporate world yet—when reading to her son’s first grade class one day, Vanderhider received a call from a former client asking her to take on a leadership role in his newly developed private equity firm. Vanderhider accepted the offer, becoming the chief investment officer of EnCap Investments, where she worked for 10 years. Finally, in 2003, Vanderhider joined Black Stone Minerals as the chief financial officer, taking on the presidency in 2006.

After her class presentation, Vanderhider met with a group of Business Honors students, discussing her career experiences and advice for entering the business world. The executive emphasized the likelihood of working hard for very long hours at the beginning of a career. “In any career, you’ll have challenges and hard times. You have to take those experiences and enable yourself to grow from them,” she said. Vanderhider encouraged students to target their passion first, and then figure out how to move up the corporate ladder. She also commented on the importance of mentors and building a strong network through personal relationships.

Vanderhider’s son, Michael, is a member of the class of 2009 and is currently involved in the Professional Program at Mays Business School.