Prospect Awards Finalists 2014: Mining’s Woman of the Year

Mining’s Women of the Year will see four industry leaders battle it out for the award

Natasha Cann  – NM Cann

Natasha Cann is the owner of Mining Mentors and Mining Mums, two no-cost, confidential mentoring services to help women in mining and resources advance their careers, which has seen her nominated for this year's awards.

"Mining Mentors" and "Mining Mums" began to evolve more than 10 years ago when Natasha was leading teams at a multi-national resources and mining company where she saw the widespread effect hesitation women had about pursuing their careers in the industry.

In response to this she began mentoring women in her own time by developing a free services via Skype and face-to-face.

As a fourth generation miner with fly in fly out supervisory experience herself, Cann was well-placed to offer her know-how and understanding to women working within the sector.

According to Cann her services aim to help women in mining advance their careers by encouraging them to share advice, success and tribulations, and to identify their career and lifestyle goals. Both of her mentoring programs foster talent by giving women working in the mining sector an avenue for open and honest communication.

Cann said she often receives calls or emails from women asking for advice but feeling they have no one to turn to.

Jo Corliss – Rio Tinto’s Bengalla Mine

For her move from a cleanskin to supervisor in less than eight years, Jo Corliss has been nominated for this year's Women in Mining award.

Corliss commenced as a cleanskin operator with Mining and Earthmoving Services (MES), and spent a period of time at Mt Owen before joining Bengalla as a full time employee five years ago.

Corliss was trained as a step up Mine Monitoring Supervisor and was appointed in the role full time in 2012 and is one of two frontline supervisors working at the mine.  

Although Corliss enjoyed operating heavy equipment, her true passion lay in a leadership role where she was able to work in a fast paced, high stress environment, coordinating labour and resources.

She would often spend periods of wet weather or downtime in the Mine Monitoring Supervisor (MMS) office learning the ropes and assisting the MMS.

Since that time, Joanne has undertaken modular training and supervisor training and was appointed a full time Mine Monitoring Supervisor in 2012.

Since taking on the tole, Corliss has driven a large amount of productivity improvements, like improving C Crew equipment utilisation by 10 per cent.

A mining technician described Corliss as "firm but fair and treats everyone consistently."

Cassandra White – Miner’s Promise

For her work in helping to build a support organisation for miners and their families through the not-for-profit organisation Miners' Promise, Cassandra White has been nominated.

Miners' Promise was established by those within the sector to provide an independent support agency for the men and women (and their families) employed within the resources industry.

Individuals who have themselves experienced emotional and financial hardship or lost a loved one unexpectedly were the driving force behind establishing the organisation.

The group works to support families in whatever it is they need in times of grief. This includes emotional, financial and/or pastoral support.

White joined Miners' Promise in early 2011 as the inaugural executive director and worked to create a stable and sustainable future for the company which was struggling to find its financial footing.

Using her high-level communication skills, White built the organisation's network by targeting mining CEOs, HR departments and mine site managers.

She then organised to spend time at various sites to spread the Miners' Promise message to employees.

Since joining Miners' Promise, White has helped to grow its membership base by over 1200.

Kym Clark – She’s Empowered

An ex-coalmine accountant for BHP Billiton, Kym Clark saw there was a gap in the market for women's workwear and set about ensuring women could be comfortable in PPE.

The line, called Kym by She's Empowered, provides hi-vis everyday safety workwear and maternity uniforms for the growing number of women in the mining and resources industry.

Clark said she couldn't believe that there were no maternity options for women in the resources sector, and with a flair for fashion and a drive to empower women in typically male dominated industries, she set about making a positive change for women.

Since the arrival of first stock last November numerous companies including BHP Billiton, Glencore, Anglo American and One Steel have demonstrated their support towards the innovative workwear label. 

Anglo American's Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Rebecca Capper, said Anglo American was excited to be the first global mining company to source personal protective apparel through She's Empowered.

After experiencing such a positive response to the initial She's Empowered designs Kym recently added two new designs to the collection – work trousers and a new women's cut hi-vis top.

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