The WOMEN IN MINING USA 2019 NATIONAL ANNUAL MEETING brought together over 100 attendees, engaged student representatives from 5 universities and gave participants the opportunity to attend their choice of two field trips or a diversity and inclusion workshop.
The Thursday conference kicked off with a welcome from WIM Denver Chapter President ALICIA POLO Y LA BORDA and WIM National President LINDA BROWN. Alicia and Linda shared their thanks to all the conference sponsors and some personal thoughts on the important role that WIM has played in their lives and careers.
The first speaker was DEAN GEHRING, Executive Vice President and Chief technical Officer from Newmont Goldcorp who shared his personal experiences overcoming unconscious bias and working with international teams.
Next was a panel featuring CASSIE BOGGS, Former Partner and General Counsel for Resource Capital Funds, ALICIA WOODS, General Manager at Marcotte Mining and Founder of Covergalls and ELAINE DORWARD-KING, EVP Sustainability and External Relations for Newmont Goldcorp. These three ladies shared their Stories from the C-Suite: Journey to executive.
Actual audience takeaways from the discussion included:
- “It’s ok to be tough…”
- “Seek out a mentor”
- “Ask for the role you want”
- “Be willing to take risks and fight for what you believe in”
- “Own your own career”, and
- “Be brave”
The next speaker was MICHELE ASHBY, Independent Director and President of ACE, LLC Consulting. Michele got everyone out of their seats to demonstrate their confidence in social situations. She then shared her thoughts on why we need more women in leadership roles on corporate boards. Takeaways after Michele’s talk included “I fee SO empowered after hearing her talk” and “Don’t be shy to step up and show yourself in a leadership position when the opportunity comes”.
The lunch break featured a laugh out loud keynote talk by Dr. PRISCILLA NELSON, Department Chair, Mining Engineering, Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Nelson shared her fascinating career journey titled “Transitions and Power”. From New York to the UK; from pipelines in Alaska to the Peace Corps in South America; from the Superconducting Super Collider Project to advising the President on the US Nuclear Waste Technology Review Board; to gaining tenure at three different Universities, Dr. Nelson had a wealth of knowledge and a lifetime of funny stories to share.
BEATRICE OPOKU-ASARE, Director Diversity and Inclusion for Newmont Goldcorp was the first speaker after lunch. Beatrice outlined the journey that Newmont has taken to integrate inclusion and diversity into their company culture and the improved business outcomes they have observed. Newmont’s inclusion and diversity strategic framework includes Inclusive Leadership, Disrupting People Systems and Leveraging Accelerators such as their Women and Allies Business Resource Group.
A very interesting talk was presented by SARAH LOOMIS, Technology Site Manager at Highland Valley Copper with Caterpillar. Sarah presented the role that autonomous haul trucks are playing in opening the mining industry to a new group of employees, specifically women. She shared how this exciting new technology can be used to completely reform the mining industry in report locations and improve accuracy, safety and production. Thoughts from Sarah’s talk included “I didn’t realize all of the benefits of the autonomous technology and the way it is positively impacting mining communities”, “Embrace technology – it is here to stay” and “Take advantage of technology in mining applications!”
The final session of the day was a panel featuring CATHARINE SHAW, Program Manager at Golder Associates, MARY SEELY, Lead HR Manager Surface Mining and Technology with Caterpillar, LARRY CLARK, COO at Newtrax Technologies Inc., ROSA MARIA ROJAS, Assistant Professor of Practice, Mining Engineering Dept. at University of Arizona and Dr. AMY LANDIS, Presidential Faculty Fellow for Access, Attainment and Diversity at Colorado School of Mines. The panel discussed how to Build and Attract the Workforce of the Future. The diverse panel offered valuable guidance on how to promote the role of technology in the industry and how to better interact with universities and Generation Z to bring them into mining.
Feedback from the participants says it all!
“Really loved the content. It was rich and varied and meaningful”
[Because of this conference I will] “advocate for mining and share the new technologies as a good career path for young people”
“As a young person, this challenged me to think differently about how I show up – to own my authority and show up to help make a difference”
“I really enjoyed the conference!”