Seven outstanding women and men working in Tasmania’s resources, mining and manufacturing sectors were recognised at the 2021 Women in Resources Tasmania Awards ceremony in Hobart on 2 June.
The annual awards were coordinated by the Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council (TMEC) in conjunction with the AusIMM Women in Mining Network Tasmania (WIMnet) to create awareness of the inspirational women working in resources, mining and manufacturing and encourage other women to pursue careers in these Tasmanian industries.
Ray Mostogl, TMEC Chief Executive Officer, said “Tasmania’s minerals and manufacturing sector is continually on the lookout for talent every day. A career in this industry provides one of the best pathways to financial security for women, who in many cases have been financially disrupted by COVID and other factors. Raising the awareness amongst the community about the place women are equally capable of achieving in this industry is vital for our longevity.”
“The Awards are but one sparkling jewel in the industries overall drive to have a workforce more reflective of the entire cross-section of the community.”
Ted Bradshaw, Chairman of AusIMM WIMnet and Head Judge remarked on the important role of the awards in inspiring women to pursue careers in non-traditional sectors. “These awards provide fantastic recognition for the increasing numbers of women working across a wide variety of roles from the shop floor to senior management.
Each year we are amazed by the fabulous stories of the career choices these women have made, their significant contributions to their companies and the personal successes achieved. We are now noticing that previous winners go on to flourish in their roles, grow in their careers and provide valuable role models for those that follow in their footsteps.”
The awards ceremony was live-streamed to the TMEC Facebook page during the event. This allowed the finalists’ families, friends and colleagues to watch the announcement of each of the award winners in real-time.
The winners of each of the Tasmania award categories automatically progressed to the national awards which were hosted by the Minerals Council of Australia and announced in Canberra on 1 September 2021.
The 2021 Women in Resources Tasmania Award winners
Excellence in Company Programs and Performance, sponsored by Cement Australia
Winner: “Step in 2020”, People Improvers on behalf of the NW Inclusion Group
What started on with an industry-based discussion about getting more women into the mining and manufacturing workforce, has turned into a very targeted and solution-based project, which secured funding for 20 women to train and potentially join the industry. Now there is growing support and funding for the project to continue.
Exceptional Woman in Tasmanian Resources, award sponsored by Bell Bay Aluminium
Winner: Aleesa Shepheard, Bell Bay Aluminium
The juggle is real for Aleesa Shepheard who re-entered the workforce in 2020 after a stint at home raising her four children under 10. While she loved the home life, something was missing and so with the support of her husband started at BBA. She’s a lifelong learner, having completed qualifications in nutrition, first aid and mental health and is the second female crew leader in reconstruction in the smelter’s history and currently one of two females working in this area. She prides herself on setting an example to other women in the workplace to juggle work and family life.
Highly Commended: Suzie Coughey, Hellyer Gold Mines
Suzie’s curveball arrived at age 36 when after working in top kitchens in the UK and Australia, she was divorced, out of love for cooking with $500 bucks to her name. She shook all that off and hopped on a plane to Karratha where her mining career began. Now the Hellyer gold Mines WHS manager is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to life skills but most importantly leadership. She’s called out nepotism, gender equality and has a top tip for everyone here: if life throws you a curveball, hit it right out the park.
Exceptional Woman in Tasmanian Manufacturing, award sponsored by the Elphinstone Group
Winner: Dr Sabrina Sequeira, Lightning Protection International
Born in Canada to Indian parents and raised in the United State, Lightning Protection International is lucky to have Dr Sabrina as its project engineer and quality assurance environmental officer. She also continues to lecture at UTAS to help influence the next generation of students. She sets a powerful example to women or other underrepresented groups about what they can achieve in their careers and also influences others to be more tolerant and understanding of diversity in the workplace.
Highly Commended: Rebecca Harvey, Lightning Protection International
Rebecca is a production administrator who worked her way up from administration assistant at Lightning protection to her current role. She’s championed a number of major initiatives in particular inventory management and has embarked on a long list of professional development courses.
Exceptional Young Woman in Tasmanian Resources, award sponsored by Caterpillar Australia
Joint Winner: Amby Ramasubramanian, Bell Bay Aluminium
Amby is a process engineer from Bell Bay Aluminium. Originally from Jamaica, her family moved to Australia for her father to work at a refinery in Gladstone. She worked hard in her studies, but even harder in her soft skills such as communication to land her first job and Australian citizenship then both she and her husband landed jobs at Bell Bay. As a graduate, she was asked to step into an acting leader role at BBA and she backed herself. She is currently taking part in a mentorship program through Rio Tinto and has set a clear direction for her career into the future.
Joint Winner: Holly Roughley, MMG Limited
Holly Roughley is a truck driver with MMG Limited. She’s from a fourth-generation mining family who has battled against the odds to increase her skill set, excel in the workplace all while providing care to her family. At 21 she found herself raising her 6-year-old cousin and still she worked to buy her first home. She’s just bought her second place and we all can’t wait to see what she achieves next.
Outstanding Tasmanian Tradeswoman, Operator or Technician, award sponsored by GFG Alliance
Winner: Kylie Sherriff, Bell Bay Aluminium
From the beauty industry to Bell Bay, Kylie Sheriff is currently a process operator. From looking after people’s nails, she now nails her job at the smelter and in her free time has been able to volunteer with the SES and fire brigade. Her learnings in leadership at work are now helping her lead in her own community and she says her dad always encouraged her to have a crack and to never be held back by gender stereotypes. She says being a leader isn’t just about getting the job done but it’s also about taking care of people and lighting the path forward.
Joint Highly Commended: Hayley Williams, Bell Bay Aluminium
Hayley went from a vet nurse to a qualified electrician over the past 10 years following in her father’s footsteps. She was appointed the first-ever female power controller in BBA’s 65-year history in 2020 and plans to smash through many more glass ceilings.
Joint Highly Commended: Ashleigh Shotton, Grange Resources Tasmania Ltd
Ashleigh has enjoyed an amazing career change from a hairdresser to a truck driver with the goal of buying herself a house. Her ultimate career goal is a full-time position in Mine Control.
Gender Diversity Champion (Male or Female) in Tasmanian Resources, award sponsored by Nyrstar
Winner: Michael Spicer, Liberty Bell Bay
Michael Spicer is a production manager of materials movement. He started at TEMCO as a teenager and has worked there for over 30 years. A decade ago he led a team of 100% white anglo males all over 40 years of age. But he’s systematically turned that around and now boasts a team where 50% of leaders are female. He says he reaps the benefits of this with more diverse thinking and believes we need more women across the workforce at all levels.
Highly Commended: John Crockett, Grange Resources Tasmania Ltd
John Crocker is a mine operations superintendent who noticed a lack of diversity across four shifts and was determined to change it in a sustainable way. He did a cultural survey, formed a working group led by a female staff member. He’s grown female participation in his team and has a vision to build a gender-inclusive culture that empowers his people.