Stay true to yourself. Don’t feel that you need to change to be someone you aren’t. Learn how to build upon your strengths and learn from others on how to address your weaknesses.
After graduating with a BSBA in International Business from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Lynn Lupori joined the RTA Group as Marketing Coordinator. Following five years in B2B consulting with RTA, she started her metals and mining career with Beddows & Company before its acquisition by Hatch. She subsequently spent nearly 18 years with Hatch as Managing Consultant. Since 2016, she has been Head of Consulting for the North American region for CRU, where she works with some of the world’s leading companies to develop and execute projects related to strategic issues, such as market analysis, decision making support, and risk assessment.
By Kathy Sole
How did mining come to you? How did you choose mining as a career?I didn’t choose mining as my original path, however, the metals industry was always something in my blood. I grew up in SW Pennsylvania where the metals and mining industry played a huge role in the region’s development. I grew up around steelworkers and coal miners, so once I entered the industry I had a comfort level and appreciation for the industry that wasn’t common amongst others (especially women) my age.
Please describe your current role.As the Head of Consulting for CRU in North America, I lead the team of expert consultants providing strategic analysis and guidance for clients in and interested in the North American region. We work with our team of consultants around the globe to provide exceptional insight to our clients throughout the metals, mining and fertilizer markets.
What is your experience of being a woman working in the mining sector?
In all honesty, my experience has changed significantly over my 25+ year career in the industry. There was once a time at industry events such as PDAC that I would stand out as one of the few women at the event. Now, there are definitely more of us, but the lines for the women’s rooms at these events still remain pretty short.
Also, as a woman in a typically male-dominated industry, there will always be some level of bias. It isn’t blatant or even intentional, but the need to demonstrate my actual knowledge and ability is often key to winning over some in the room. In many ways it is ingrained in our nature so I don’t take any offense to it. Rather, I enjoy the challenge and opportunity to showcase my knowledge and experience.
What are you passionate about in your work?
There are two things that I really enjoy about my work.
1) Working with different clients to answer a wide array of questions. Each client and project is unique in consulting. As consultants, we are faced with different strategic questions and challenges when working with our clients. It is an honor to be chosen and trusted by our clients to assist them in helping solve whatever challenge is facing them.
2) Our team. It is such a privilege to work within an organization and a team of such talented individuals on a day-to-day basis. I am in awe on a daily basis of what a fantastic team we have at CRU. I am exceptionally passionate about sharing my experience with them as well as helping develop the younger talent within the organization. I have been privileged to work with some great individuals throughout my career and sharing my lessons learned with them gives even more purpose to my role and career.
Have you had mentors or sponsors that helped you on the way?
I’ve never had an official mentor or sponsor but there have been many people, female and male, that have taught me so much throughout my entire career. I continue to learn from so many on a daily basis.
What challenges have you experienced by virtue of working in an industry that is predominantly male? Do you feel you have had to adapt to ‘fit’ the industry?
I can’t say that I have ever had to change who I am in to “fit in” within a male-dominated industry but undoubtedly, I have learned how to better read a room and adapt somewhat to those present.
What would you love to do next?
I’ve achieved so many of my goals in my career that my future emphasis will be placed on more personal goals. Ideally, when I reach the right point in my life, I really want to find a role in society that I can help the vulnerable/less fortunate. I would love to provide comfort to NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] babies who have been given the wrong start in their life through no fault of their own. Or perhaps spend more time with those older (and often wiser) than myself to provide companionship and care.
What is one thing you wish you’d been told when you were starting out that you know now.Honestly, I knew raising a family and having a career would be exceptionally challenging, however, no one can prepare you for how challenging it really is. Having to miss special events or just spending more time with my children are sacrifices that I have made throughout my career. While I never have envied stay-at-home parents, I have envied their ability to always be present for their families, which is something that those of us with careers don’t have the luxury of – most of the time. This is often true for women who tend (although not always) to be the nurturer in the home and the one called upon in the most difficult (and special) times.
What is the biggest mistake that you’re really happy you made?
Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, I had always had a desire to live elsewhere. I made the “mistake” of never seeking roles that would allow me to move from the area. Pittsburgh is a really great place to raise a family and I am so thankful that I made that mistake of not leaving this wonderful city.
Do you sit on a board? If not, would you like to?
I sit on the Executive Committee of CRU Consulting. I really enjoy the opportunity to work with the other executives in guiding our group forward and mentoring our less-experienced staff. It is one of the things that I enjoy most about my role within CRU. I don’t sit on any other Boards or Executive Committees. I honestly don’t know if I have the time or energy required to makes such a commitment at this point.
What is your opinion in the women-on-boards debate? Are you pro quotas or against them?
I personally don’t believe in quotas in any circumstances. Individuals should be selected upon their own merits, not for gender, race, etc. While it is good to get different perspectives, it doesn’t mean that those perspectives can’t come from people who have similarities to you as well. Not every man thinks alike, nor does every woman. Quotas don’t guarantee cohesiveness – they only serve to raise into question the validity of one’s appointment. They actually make it much harder than providing a real solution.
Do you believe women in mining groups can help to change the image of the industry and make the sector more attractive to women?
I believe the image of the industry is changing for women, but I don’t believe that we should push more women into mining just because we need more women. We want the best and brightest to come to our industry regardless of gender. I think the industry has more of an age problem at this point than a gender problem. We (male and female alike) should be touting the benefits of working in mining – regardless of gender. It will continue to be more and more difficult to attract younger talent to the industry with so many more exciting industries out there. We should be encouraging those that have an interest and passion for the industry, no matter who they are. Those are the people we really need in mining.
Any advice to young women starting out in their careers? What do you wish you’d know when you were 25?
Stay true to yourself. Don’t feel that you need to change to be someone you aren’t. At the same time, be observant as to how others act and as to how they perceive you. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Learn how to build upon your strengths and learn from others on how to address your weaknesses.
What is your secret to work–life balance?
Really decide what is most important to you. If it is money and status, then find roles that will help you achieve those goals. If it is other less-tangible things, find the right company/role for you that will allow you to focus on those things that are more important to you.
What books are you currently reading?
I don’t read much for pleasure anymore, I must admit, but when I do get the chance I really love mysteries and true life stories.
Have you any hobbies, pastimes, or secret talents that you would like to tell us about?
I LOVE to bake. I don’t get much time for it anymore, given my schedule. When I get the time, I love to bake cupcakes in particular. I really enjoy coming up with creative flavors for the cake, icing and even sometimes filling. I also really enjoy the decorating aspect of it. Baking gives me the opportunity to be exceptionally creative in a very different sort of way.