University of Tennessee

Carla Mashinski

Mashinski says her experiences while earning her accounting degree at the University of Tennessee was the foundation of her successful 30-year career.

- Alumni

Carla Mashinski (HCB, ’84) has learned much along the path of her 35-year career. She began at Shell Oil Company, interviewing on campus while an accounting major in the Haslam College of Business.

“Accounting classes can be challenging and demanding,” Mashinski says. “However, that set me up for success. Those classes challenged us as students, and my experience at the University of Tennessee became the foundation of my success.”

Along with Shell Oil Company, Mashinski has held positions with Duke Energy, Gulf Mark Offshore Inc., and now Cameron LNG where she is the chief financial officer. She is also a board member of Primoris Services Corporation.

Through the course of her successful career, Mashinski’s accomplishments have been publicly acknowledged. WomenInc. recognized her in 2019 as one of the most influential corporate board directors, and in 2020 the National Diversity Council named her one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Oil and Gas.” She was also awarded a 2020 Breakthrough Award from the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

These honors garnered speaking opportunities. Attendees at these events were eager for advice from Mashinski, and she was glad to share it.

“I noticed that both women and men of differing ages and experiences asked many of the same questions at each session and were genuinely interested in how I was able to become successful in my career,” Mashinski says.

She began writing down her answers and experiences. From these notes, her first book was born. Five Attributes to a Successful Career (available through Amazon) shares Mashinski’s advice and experience on how to achieve the attributes necessary for success. The book names these attributes and focuses on the elements of each one. To illustrate the points, Mashinski shares examples from her years in business.

“I have faced many obstacles and made my fair share of mistakes in my career, and I would love others to benefit from my experiences,” she says.

She addresses her vulnerabilities in the book and how she worked through them. “As individuals we tend to live in our heads and our hearts, and we can learn from those examples,” Mashinski says.

In the book, she covers topics such as career turning points, opportunities and risk.

 “What is the big picture? Will it matter five to 10 years from now?” Mashinski says. “When we decide we want to make those big decisions, we need to give it adequate consideration. “Embrace the opportunities for change and to do something exciting.”

Mashinski also advises patience with career steps.

“We need to remember that our career is a journey; it’s not always going to be perfect, and we’re not always going to love everything that we are doing in our job,” says Mashinski. “However, if we aren’t enjoying any of it, we need to take a step back and ask if we are doing the right things at the right time.”

Whether someone is just starting a career, considering a significant change or taking a next step, Mashinski says the book is designed to resonate with a variety of readers. She uses her own experiences to examine every stage of the career journey.

“I am telling my story because I want to help others through their career challenges,” she says. “The intent is to enable others to learn from my real-life career journey by combining examples from my career with practical advice.”