Women in Mining: networking to find the keys to success (NSW, Australia)

Published: 16/12/2013

December 13, 2013

Taking risks, learning to compromise and a just little bit of luck are the three keys to career success, according to one of the NSW minerals industry’s leading women.

Katie Brassil, Centennial Coal’s General Manager External Affairs, has had an extremely diverse and interesting career in mining most recently, as well as in state and local government and politics. She says that taking risks is important, but learned that accommodating others can be just as critical to achieving your goals or outcomes for your organisation.

At a recent NSW Women in Mining Network event in Newcastle, Katie shared a few life lessons.

  • I don’t use my values to judge others. Our worlds are made up of a myriad of people who have come from different places and have had a range of different experiences. Learn to value them for who they are and how they treat you and others. My values are mine and they are right for me – they are not necessarily right for others.
  • I need to believe in what I do. If I don’t, it is obvious to everyone else and impacts me professionally and personally. 
  • When dealing with a difficult issue I step back and ask myself this question – ‘Am I prepared to die in a ditch over this’? If the answer is no – most often this is the case – I then apply the art of compromise, which might mean a different outcome than the one I had planned but one that I can live with in the future. However, if the answer is yes – well I take no prisoners and will go out guns blazing.

Katie spoke at the NSW Women in Mining Network’s Christmas function, hosted by Sparke Helmore Lawyers in Newcastle, which brought together colleagues and network members at the end of a challenging year for the minerals industry.

Having the event hosted by a legal firm highlighted the Network’s reach and shows that ‘women in mining’ is a broad concept with broad appeal.

“Sparke Helmore was delighted to host industry leaders and participants at the recent Christmas gathering, which was in support of the NSW Minerals Council’s Women in Mining network,” said Joanne Flitcroft, Special Counsel, Sparke Helmore Lawyers.

“We understand the key role women play in the industry and the importance of encouraging, motivating and mentoring women as they progress in their careers.”

Looking ahead, there are a number of important developments ahead in this important policy area for the NSW Minerals Council in 2014 according to Andrew McMahon, NSW Minerals Council Director People & Skills.

Guest speaker Katie Brassil, Centennial Coal            

“Women currently account for around 10% of the state’s mining workforce and we are working to find out what is required to make sure mining is an attractive career option for both men and women. That’s why we’ve conducted a survey of more than 175 women in NSW, current and past mining employees, so we can understand how they see working conditions, policies and initiatives that either help or hinder their advancement and satisfaction in mining.

“The result of that survey will be launched in the NSW Women in Mining report at our second annual NSW Women in Mining Awards Dinner Women in Sydney on 6 March 2014.

Guests enjoying the evening

“We’re also planning to expand the Network in a new collaboration with AusIMM’s WIMnet to provide more regional events for women, and men, associated with the NSW mining industry. Further details will be announced soon.”

For more information about the NSW Women in Mining Network contact Chrissie Clarke on 02 9274 1423 or cclarke@nswmining.com.au.