Trail blazing Queensland single mum wins Women’s Day award

Published: 09/03/2016

8 March 2016

While working full time and completing studies, new mother Dannielle Dendle was told the wedding was off and she’d have to move out.

However, Dannielle’s tenacity allowed her to finish her Associate Degree in Mining Operations Management, unpick the wedding, train a new recruit, set up a new home, and take her daughter on the honeymoon.

Dannielle won the Exceptional Young Woman in Queensland Resources Award, presented by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) at their International Women’s Day breakfast in Brisbane today, sponsored by Rio Tinto.

‘As a full-time working, part-time studying single mother to a gorgeous three-year-old girl I have learned the hard way the importance and struggle of maintaining a work, family, and life balance,’ said Dannielle, Project Coordinator for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Peak Downs Mine in Central Queensland.

Dannielle who is responsible for managing a $24 million capital pipeline for the mine, is the first woman appointed to this position by BMA, previously the domain of male engineers. Her talent has been recognised by BMA with her rapid promotion from relief HR administrator, to her current role.

‘I have been very fortunate to have some great managers, peers and mentors, which helped me to deliver a number of very successful projects,’ said Dannielle.

‘I learned the hard way and now I use my own experience as a message to everyone on the importance of achieving your career goals and setting a personal goal to maintain your work-life balance.’

Dannielle was assigned a formal BMA Mentor and was sponsored to participate in the QRC/WIMARQ Mentoring program to ensure she received the best advice and guidance on how to continue her career success. She is benefiting from BHP Billiton’s structured development program to support her ongoing development and personal growth.

And she is unstinting in helping other women to succeed and has organised and taken part in many initiatives to support female participation in the resources sector.

She has raised funds for White Ribbon Day and led an initiative that resulted in more than 100 BMA employees take an oath to never commit, excuse or remain silent about domestic violence.

Dannielle also maintains a Facebook page where she shares her own experiences, as well as links to pages that promote gender equality and female participation in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Naturally, she is also the Diversity Lead for the Peak Downs mine, hosting forums, promoting gender diversity education material and implementing successful diversity initiatives including private rooms for mothers to express milk, and a mobile crib hut with toilets to service draglines and other remote equipment sites.

‘As a new mother and a new employee in a department where I was also the only female, I didn’t have the courage to ask about taking time out of my work day to express in a private comfortable environment with a dedicated fridge to safely store my breast milk,’ Dannielle said.

‘Had the topic of gender diversity been as highly discussed as it is now, I would have had the confidence to bring the subject up with male supervisors knowing they would actually understand my needs once I explained them.

‘I attribute a great deal of my continued success to the flexible work arrangements I have been able to secure. Without them I wouldn’t be able to be an active mother, career woman, mentor, mentee and student.’

Dannielle also finds the time to mentor several young women while completing a Masters in Project Management through CQ University.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the awards and breakfast celebrated and showcased the depth of female talent in Queensland’s resources sector, while providing industry ambassadors and mentors, particularly for their female colleagues and women and students thinking about entering the resources field.

‘The long-term future of our sector relies on attracting and retaining the best people to keep us at the forefront of innovation as we compete in a global market,’ Mr Roche said.

‘A workforce with people from diverse backgrounds, including a better gender balance, is critical to supplying the workforce of the future.

‘The attendance of about 800 people across the state today at breakfasts to witness the presentation of these awards is a clear demonstration of our sector’s continued commitment to its goal of at least 20 percent women in non-traditional roles by 2020.’

The awards were presented by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Grace Grace, QRC President Stewart Butel and WIMARQ Chair Heather Parry.

The full list of results:

Exceptional Woman in Qld
Winner: Cecile Wake, Growth Director QGC

Exceptional Young Woman in Qld Resources
Winner: Dannielle Dendle, Engineering Project Coordinator and Project Controls, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Peak Downs Mine

Outstanding Queensland Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician
Winner: Marianne Finch Dragline/dozer operator BHP Billiton Mitubishi Alliance Saraji Mine

Gender Diversity Champion in Queensland Resources
Winner: Chai McConnnell Principal Consultant Advisian Pty Ltd (part of Worley Parsons Group)

Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance
Winner: Aurizon

Exceptional QMEA Student in Queensland Resources
Winner: Tara Toshack Dysart SHS

Further information and media contact:
QRC: Caroline Morrissey 0417 770 893