My mum was an incredible role model. Growing up, I knew that I could be a leader and make a difference. Gender wasn’t a factor.
It took me a long time to realise that a lot of other women aren’t given the same support and encouragement to pursue whichever career they want. It’s why I’m such a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity.
I’ve seen the best and the worst of the mining industry. I’ve been told I don’t belong. I’m only 30 and I’ve still been ‘the first woman to…’ a handful of times. But I know that’s not the norm. Things are getting better. I’ve been given amazing opportunities, I’ve worked to improve the productivity and safety of my team. I’m the youngest Superintendent at Greater Hope Downs [in Western Australia]. I’m a strong operational leader and proof that women shouldn’t just be relegated to periphery roles in mining. My hope is that one day we reach a critical mass where there is no typical leader. Everyone should be free to choose their career and not be hindered by social barriers.
Katie is superintendent, Operations Centre Bauxite in our Aluminium business. She was also a finalist in the Outstanding Young Woman in Resources category for The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia 2020 Women in Resources Awards.
Between summer and winter, it’s just an entirely different world. When we’re out in the field, we’re in areas where you can’t even see that we’re near a mine site and some of the terrain is pretty spectacular – you can find yourself in the middle of a caribou herd or watching a wolverine or wolves running around. Not too many jobs where you get to go out and explore the super remote arctic tundra on a snowmobile.
I’ve been here for nearly four years now. A lot of the technicians have been here for years and years, and have so much experience dealing with bears and how to manage wildlife so really for me, it was just learning from the team. We’re just out there sampling water, sampling the air, monitoring wildlife, making sure we’re not having a negative impact. I’d say I’ve got the best job in the world.
Sean is an environment superintendent at our Diavik diamond mine – 200 km south of the Arctic Circle in beautiful Canada