Komal Balakrishnan

Meet Our Pro

Komal Balakrishnan

Senior Manager, Brand, Marketing & Technology

As the construction of its new polyethylene plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, continues, Shell Polymers has been hiring a team of industry experts, aka Polymer Pioneers and Polymer Pros, with proven track records in polymers and their respective field. In this article, we talked to our Senior Manager of Brand, Marketing & Technology, Komal Balakrishnan, to learn more about her career and how it led her to be a part of the team building the Shell Polymers brand from the ground up.

Unrivaled Communications and Digital Strategy Knowledge

Komal started her career in higher education, primarily in IT and the digital side of brand and marketing. Armed with that experience, she transitioned into the Oil & Gas (O&G) industry, where she has spent the past 15 years of her career. Those roles helped Komal expand her career to all facets of marketing, where she assumed the responsibility directing brand and marketing for billion dollar brands. Because of her unusual ability to understand the technical side of marketing, in addition to the brand and design aspects, Komal considers herself a “unicorn” in the industry.

After re-evaluating her career, Komal joined Shell in June 2017 to help activate the Shell Polymers brand. A small venture at the time, Komal was employee number nine on the commercial team. The project was a ‘go’ at this stage, but it hadn’t launched yet, so she built out the brand strategy and the go-to-market plan.

After the National Plastics Expo (NPE) in 2018, Komal took over the role of head of Polymers marketing and communications. Komal used her expertise in digital marketing as well her understanding of customer experience to shift the focus of the Polymers brand and marketing teams to be a leader in B2B marketing and customer experience (CX) at Shell.

Always Five Steps Ahead

One of Komal’s most significant challenges (and gifts) in her career has been her knack for forward-thinking and problem-solving. Komal explains, “I’ve always been five steps ahead of where everyone else needs to be. I have this vivid memory of when I was a senior in high school, I turned in an economics project on a CD, and I remember everyone thinking that was really weird. But, I had two tech-savvy parents, and they always had the latest technology and gadgets, and it was something I was into.”

One of her achievements at Shell Polymers, so far,has been leading the way B2B customer engagement is tackled. With a small team behind her, Komal was able to plan and implement a new system that is seen as visionary within Shell. The work Komal has done continues to push the envelope when it comes to creating a customer focus in everything the team does.

Be the Best At Whatever You Do

Komal received inspiration from her parents. Her Dad was the first member of her family to immigrate to the U.S. from India in the 70s, and her mom played a huge role in encouraging her career path.

“Being from India, there was a lot of cultural pressure to enter into a STEM field. One of the best things my parents did for me was to encourage me to chart my own path, regardless of the field. I distinctly remember them saying, ‘we don’t care what field you go into, just succeed.’”

“As a mom to two girls, I want them to see examples of real, pioneering women and be sure they know they can do anything they set their mind to.”

Komal Balakrishnan

With that encouragement, Komal pursued her passion of all things digital to become a brand and marketing subject matter expert.

“As a mom to two girls, I want to pass that mindset onto them. I want them to know that regardless of the field, just work hard and be the best that you can be. I want them to see examples of real pioneering women and be sure they know they can do anything they set their mind to.”

“This is the impact we can have in the industry.”

Four PIeces of Advice from Komal for Young Women in Their Careers

  • Write Your Story

    Define your own story and know your worth and be bold enough to ask for it.

  • Take More Risks

    Take more risks in your career and don’t let self-doubt hold you back.

  • Chart Your Path

    Don’t let other people’s perception of you hold you back. Chart your path and push ahead.

  • Be The Change

    It’s important to help our kids and younger generations know women can do anything they want and other people don’t get to create barriers.