by | Nov 7, 2019 | Kayo Women, Professional Advice, Your Community, Your Path

The quantity of conferences available to energy dealmakers, private equity, finance, and infrastructure is overwhelming. I observed over eight years ago that women were often underrepresented at the many events – both as speakers and attendees – but I wasn’t sure why. In the second year of Kayo’s flagship Private Equity Summit, I was approached by women in energy. “If you think we are the ‘only women in the room’ here in NY, you should go down to Houston and meet women in oil and gas,” an early Kayo enthusiast quipped. As Kayo approaches its 6th Annual Women’s Energy Summit, our team checked in with a few long-time supporters as to why they continue to make the time and more surprisingly, why 30% of attending companies send an average of 5-7 team members across a variety of disciplines and tenure.

Each year, Merit Energy encourages multiple women within their organization to attend a Kayo event. The well-orchestrated content attracts this dynamic group of dealmakers, legal advisors, business generators, and executives who each benefit in different ways. Meghan Cuddihy, Vice President of Investor Relations, who has been with Merit for 17 years, sat down with us to share her observations.

“Given how busy everyone is these days, in some cases, the only place I see some of my industry colleagues, is at Kayo – so it is a wonderful time to slow down and reconnect with people I truly respect. With this group, I feel that we are all supporting each other to succeed, and we raise each other up. This is a different setting than most conferences – especially where many competitors are in one room. We all seem to share a common goal – build each other up – we all succeed when one succeeds,” said Cuddihy.

“Everyone can benefit from attending – whether learning how to network better, gaining industry information, discussing mentoring strategies… or finding connections that may benefit you in the future,” continued Cuddihy. “Sometimes, I am not even sure I have a problem to solve, but Kayo brings fresh ideas and allows me to rethink and examine how and why I do things – maybe there is a better way, maybe not – but critical reflection brings growth – and I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. For me, that means to challenge myself – to grow, to question why, to be uncomfortable sometimes – and to put myself out there.”


Investor Relations professionals bridge the deal team and the limited partner community. They soak up the content and industry trends, and they fortify relationships with investors who share their vision. For Merit, long-term relationships are critical, especially given how notoriously challenging fundraising has become.

Cuddihy realized early, however, that everyone in her organization had something to benefit from at Kayo. She started encouraging her colleagues and peers to attend Kayo pop-up events and other summits.

At the core of all strategic investments and deal opportunities lie legal issues and mitigating risk. The evolving regulatory environment plays an active role in the Kayo energy program. Its impact on deal structuring, fund formation, and tax benefits continue to be top of mind for our attendees.

Kat Lyles, Assistant General Counsel at Merit, attended a Dallas pop-up luncheon and the Energy Summit for the first time after hearing her colleagues share their Kayo experience. She was delighted at Kayo’s refreshing approach to what’s trending in energy investment.

“Kayo offers a unique experience where women at all stages of their careers come together to share experiences, perspectives, and encouragement to one another to persevere and run the race with confidence.”


With complete intention, the Kayo Energy Summit curates impactful content that attracts business leaders and decision makers who source capital, drive deal flow, actively invest, and know the industry. Dealmakers benefit from the perspective of their peers, learning about trends in their markets and adjacent markets, so that they can analyze risks and make better decisions with their capital. It creates a unique opportunity for dealmakers to network, form authentic relationships, and engage in natural business opportunities.

At Kayo, we believe women should have a community that supports, elevates, and champions them. Our goal is to provide a platform to learn and connect. We want women to know we’re stronger when we Trailblaze Together.

We thank Merit Energy for their continued support of the Kayo Energy Summit, especially for trailblazers like Meghan Cuddihy and Kat Lyles.


Merit Energy is an oil and gas exploration and production company with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Founded in 1989, the company has proved reserves of over 833 MMBOE and operates primarily in the southern U.S. states of Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, as well as in Wyoming. Merit Energy specializes in the acquisition, operation, and direct investment in oil and gas properties. For more information, visit Merit Energy online.

Lindsay Burton is the founder and CEO of Kayo Conference Series, an organization dedicated to helping women in finance investment across a number of industry segments network more effectively. For more information about the Kayo Women’s Energy Summit on April 22-23, 2020, click here