News • JUNE 6, 2023
Five Questions with Lori Budde (Legal) and Melissa Chambers (Tax)
Lori Budde (Risk Manager – Legal) and Melissa Chambers (Income Tax Advisor – Tax) have been valued Chesapeake employees for over 25 years. We asked them to share more about their time at Chesapeake, life outside of work and advice for a long, successful career.
What has been your career path within Chesapeake? What are your responsibilities now?
LB: I was hired as a courier in the mailroom in 1998, at which point I knew very little about oil and gas. This was a great entry for me into the industry, and I got to know everyone on a first-name basis (including Melissa!) because the company was much smaller at the time. I then became a contract risk analyst and a supervisor before we transitioned under the Supply Chain team in 2014. I currently manage Chesapeake’s insurance and surety bond programs. One of my responsibilities is making sure Chesapeake assets are insured properly.
MC: I began my Chesapeake career as a college intern 28 years ago. I’ve been able to be involved in the Tax department since its inception — there were just two of us on the team. This provided me with great growth opportunities throughout my career, including serving as Tax director. About eight years ago, I worked with my leadership team to transition to a tax advisor role to allow for more flexibility to care for my daughter. I currently am involved in our quarterly and annual tax reporting included in our SEC filings as well as our federal and state tax return filings.
Both of you have had 25+ year careers at Chesapeake. What has stayed the same? What has changed?
LB: We are always evolving as a company, but what’s changed is the pace of that evolution. We have to continue to evolve in this industry, and right now our pace is more manageable; it’s more thoughtful and proactive.
MC: I agree with Lori, and I’d add that a constant is our strong culture. There’s always been an expectation to work hard, and employees are recognized for this work and valued by leadership. I have consistently worked with great people here — I couldn’t have stayed this long if I didn’t feel challenged or didn’t have a good work environment. I think what has also changed is our place in the industry. When I first started here, I had barely even heard of Chesapeake! And now we are an industry leader.
In the last year, the company has put even more emphasis on work-life integration and flexibility for employees. What has this meant for you, and what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
MC: With my daughter in college, I am working on discovering new interests! I have always enjoyed spending time with family and friends and going to the movies or Broadway shows. I also enjoy traveling, and just recently got back from a Disney cruise with my family.
LB: Having some extra time is an invaluable benefit. Like Melissa, I love traveling, as well as reading, writing, woodworking and gardening. Our schedule flexibility has allowed me to explore creative outlets. In fact, I recently introduced a passion project at Chesapeake called PeakeReads: our own version of a “little free library” in Creekside where colleagues can bring and swap books. I’m very excited to see how it goes!
What advice would you give to new Chesapeake employees?
LB: Be flexible and willing to participate in projects outside of your purview. That’s how you build relationships and gain knowledge you didn’t even know you needed.
MC: Be open and willing to learn and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have new ideas. We welcome fresh perspectives and know that they can improve our processes. Speaking up also includes if you have feedback or need to make a change in your career. From my personal experience, you will be heard.
Has there been a Chesapeake colleague or leader who has impacted you?
LB: I couldn’t single out just one person, but there is a core group of people who have been here for 15+ years with me, and along the way we’ve built great camaraderie. We’re always willing to help each other out — this has been most impactful to me. We learn from each other and build one another up through the peaks and valleys.
MC: I have had so many great mentors it’s hard to choose one! Chesapeake has always had leaders at the top who show that they truly care about the employees. I think this spirit has permeated throughout the company.