Rio Tinto gender diversity champion celebrates win at QRC’s prestigious International Women’s Day event

08 March 2017

Rio Tinto’s Vince Lavery has been named Gender Diversity Champion after winning his category at the prestigious Queensland Resources Council/Women in Mining and Resources Queensland awards.

The annual breakfast event was held in Brisbane this morning in conjunction with International Women’s Day celebrations.

Vince, a manager for service delivery at Rio Tinto's Weipa and Gove bauxite operations, was recognised for his solution-oriented approach to attracting more women to the mining industry.

He has been credited with changing the workplace culture of his team by overseeing employment of women into non-traditional roles and ensuring the availability of part-time and job-share positions.

Pictured(L-R) winner Vince Lavery, runner-up Julia Nelson, Linda Murry & Bruce Cox 

Vince said "Without doubt we have seen greater improvements in productivity and safety since more women have joined our team.

"Our workplace culture is also much more positive and our commitment to flexible working, particularly in regard to childcare, has generated a lot of interest from other employees wanting to join the team.

"I am humbled to have received this award in a field of some extremely dedicated individuals striving to challenge gender stereotypes in the resources sector."

The award was presented by Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Grace Grace, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) President Rag Udd and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) Chair Maria Joyce.

He received his award in front of a state-wide audience of almost 900 people.

Bruce Cox, managing director, Pacific Operations in Rio Tinto's Aluminium product group said "In this role at our Weipa operations, Vince has demonstrated advocacy not just for women but also for Indigenous employees.

"His commitment to inclusion and diversity is evident in his Weipa team where 55 per cent of employees are women, more than 60 per cent of leadership roles are held by women and 20 per cent of employees are Indigenous Australians.

"We are extremely proud of Vince’s achievement and we look forward to other leaders in our business following in his footsteps as a result of his great success."

At the awards Rio Tinto was also a runner up in the Excellence in Diversity Programmes and Performance category and celebrated a further two employees who were nominated in other categories.

Julia Nelson, a heavy equipment operator who also works at Weipa, was awarded runner-up in the Outstanding Queensland Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician category.

Meredith Carter, a senior planning engineer at Rio Tinto Coal Australia's (RTCA) Kestrel Mine was a finalist in the Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources category.

Notes to editors

Vince Lavery started his career with Rio Tinto in 2008 as a Hydrocarbons Superintendent working from Parker Point Dampier where he was accountable for the receipt, transport of around 1 billion litres of diesel annually.

He has had vast experience in Oil and Gas as well as having managed service providers focusing on large Oil, Gas and Resources mining companies.

His progression at Rio Tinto has included a promotion from Superintendent Hydrocarbons to Manager Hydrocarbons.

He was then seconded to the Global Hydrocarbons team overseeing global fuel tenders and asset consultation in Australia and Africa.

He also managed Rio Tinto Iron Ore projects as Superintendent of Villages before moving into his current role as service delivery manager at Gove and Weipa bauxite operations.

In this role Vince demonstrates advocacy not only for women but also for local Indigenous employees. He has worked to change work rosters to accommodate flexibility in returning to work for mothers, evolved the team's workplace culture and capitalises on opportunities to promote inclusion and diversity wherever possible.