Industry change-makers celebrated at International Women’s Day Breakfast and Resources Awards for Women in Brisbane  

MEC Mining joined a sold-out crowd of close to 600 people at the 13th annual International Women’s Day Breakfast and Resources Awards for Women, on 8 March at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, with even more tuning in to a live broadcast in the regions.

Presented by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) in association with Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ), the event is part of the QRC’s drive to increase the proportion of women in Queensland’s resources sector to at least 20% in non-traditional roles by 2020. It provides a platform to develop female ambassadors, role models and mentors to aid the attraction, retention and development of women.

This aligns with the International Women’s Day campaign theme for 2018, #PressForProgress, calling for gender parity and promoting the growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support for women.

The morning’s keynote speech was delivered by Rachael Robertson (CSP, MBA), an Antarctic expedition leader, bestselling author and Australia’s preeminent authority on extreme leadership.

Rio executive Jo-Anne Dudley picked up the top gong of Exceptional Woman in Resources Award. Other award winners were:

  • Caitlyn Barns – Exceptional QMEA Student award
  • Dannielle Weston (Hastings Deerings) – Outstanding Tradeswoman/Operator Technician Award
  • Holstein Wong (BHP)- Exceptional Young Woman Award
  • Rio Tinto Weipa – Excellence in Diversity Programs & Excellence

40659272072_d40f4ff1ed_oWIMARQ Chair Maria Joyce (MEC Mining’s General Manager, Strategy & Business Development) followed the awards presentation with a speech acknowledging the contribution of women who are driving change in the resources sector, as well as the importance of mentoring and support.

“To me, mentorship is a crucial ingredient in fostering a successful and fulfilling career.  It is so easy for us all to fall in the trap of just doing our jobs, particularly when conditions are challenging or we are striving to make our mark on a company.  To unlock our true capability we need to stop and reflect on how we can grow as people.  Become explorers, think outside the box and really open our eyes to the different pathways our careers could take us. There is this big bad world out there screaming for individuals who have the guts to not just break that glass ceiling…. but absolutely smash it.  The QRC/WIMARQ mentoring program was designed specifically, to enable women to do just that”.

The breakfast was followed by the Inspire!Convention, packed with practical career advice for women, with workshops by Helen Besly from Rowland and behavioural scientist and career coach Margie Ireland.

The convention’s panel session brought together a powerful cohort of previous award winners to debate the merits of targets and quotas to improve the gender balance in the resources sector. This was followed by an open Q&A session where panelists shared some very honest and compelling stories on their own leadership journey. The “Great Debate” was moderated by Rachael Robertson and judged via a live vote by attendees. Panelists included:

  • Karen Alexander, Hastings Deering Alliance Manager
  • Cecile Wake, Shell Vice President Commercial, Australia
  • Maria Joyce, MEC Mining General Manager, Strategy & Business Development
  • Jo-Anne Dudley, Rio Tinto Senior Manager Strategic Mine and Resources Planning
  • Janette Hewson, Peabody Energy Australia Vice President Government Relations and General Counsel
  • Sarah Coughlan, Anglo American Graduate Mining Engineer
  • Melanie Gordon, BMA Coal Manager Integrated Operations
  • Craig McCabe, Curragh Chief Executive Officer

The successful and busy day concluded with a final networking opportunity for convention delegates to discuss topics and ideas presented on the day.  Jason Economidis (South32 Vice President Operations at Illawara Coal) joined this event and shared his view on the importance gender diversity has played across the breadth of his extensive leadership career.  If support for this event is anything to go by, the future of women in the resources sector is safe in the hands of tenacious and driven female leaders.