My Summer in Investor Relations: Invested in Connection, Communication and Collaboration

When I applied to be a ONEOK intern, I wasn’t quite sure what department I could assist with an almost-complete advertising degree. I was thrilled when I was offered an internship in Corporate Communications and Investor Relations but I was nervous, because I knew very little about working for a corporation. Here is what I learned:

The Investor Relations (IR) department at ONEOK plays a key role in building and maintaining relationships with current and potential investors, analysts and various other company stakeholders. I describe IR as the bridge that connects the investment community with ONEOK’s senior management team. The IR team is continuously working to communicate the ONEOK story to current and potential investors, helping guide the financial community to a fair company valuation and providing industry and investor-related data to the senior management team.

The IR team must have a high-level understanding of each department’s role in order to accurately communicate with the investment community. Being able to clearly explain ONEOK’s businesses, growth opportunities, financial strength and ability to provide long-term value to stakeholders is key to maintaining a strong investor base and positive sentiment.

The team handles many tasks, some of which include: quarterly earnings releases and conference calls, investor meetings and conferences, investor field trips, financial and volume guidance announcements, stock surveillance, investor targeting and peer research and benchmarking.

In addition, the team also maintains the ONEOK IR website, which was designed with the investor in mind. It provides extensive company information aimed at helping current and potential investors make educated investment decisions. The IR site includes news releases and Securities and Exchange Commission filings, financial information, stock dividend history, investor presentations, information on how to invest and much more.

The IR team played a part in the recent ONEOK and ONEOK Partners merger transaction by helping develop key messages to communicate to both internal and external stakeholders, as well as helping to draft the initial transaction announcement materials. The team also fielded questions from many investors and analysts about the transaction and how it would affect the business or their investment.

IR1

Pictured: Andrew Ziola, vice president of investor relations and corporate affairs; Caroline Reynolds, intern; Catharine Brierre, investor relations consultant; Megan Patterson, supervisor, investor relations

“Our role as IR professionals is to help the investment community understand the value of an investment in ONEOK,” says Megan Patterson, supervisor, investor relations. “During large announcements like the merger transaction, that can mean spending a lot of time educating investors on the facts of the issue at hand, management’s reasoning and the long-term value of certain decisions. It can be a process at times, but it’s rewarding to see that the conversations we’re having with the investment community can have a direct impact on investor perceptions of our business, analyst ratings and even our share price.”

I have learned so much as a Corporate Affairs intern about the energy industry as a whole, how investments are made and how the financial markets work. Two of my favorite experiences were getting to be a part of the annual shareholder meeting and participating in the second-quarter earnings preparation meeting with the executive management team. I’ve seen firsthand how departments like Investor Relations play a key role in maintaining ONEOK’s reputation. Because of this experience, I am entertaining the idea of pursuing a Master’s degree in General Business after graduating in May 2018 with my advertising degree. I want to continue to develop my understanding of the business world and be able to apply that knowledge in my advertising career. This summer internship was challenging and extremely rewarding!

This post was written by ONEOK Communications intern Caroline Reynolds, a senior advertising student at the University of Oklahoma.