London – 20 November 2020: On Thursday 19 November at 10.00 am GMT Women in Mining UK (WIM UK) published its 2020 edition of the “100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining” (WIM100). The original plan was to host a celebration for all the WIM100s at the iconic Guildhall in the City of London. However, that idea was put on hold as the world continues to contend with the challenges brought on by the current global pandemic.
In lieu of the in-person event, WIM UK organised two online events – one for the WIM100s located in Europe, Africa and the Americas and a second one for the WIM100s located in Middle East, Asia and Oceania. The main purpose was to offer the 2020 WIM100s a chance to meet and network with fellow inspirational women.
Our Chair, Carole Cable, shared some opening remarks (to read her full speech, click here) and noted that, alongside the wonderfully inspiring stories of this year’s nominees, the 2020 edition illustrated two things – firstly there are already amazing women in roles with financial and technical backgrounds, so why aren’t they being reflected on Boards? Secondly, there were more women in this edition in sustainability roles that include ESG and HSEC and questioned why is this not reflected on Boards when companies know how important it is? Clearly, there is still a lot more work to be done by the industry.
This was followed by a panel, moderated by WIM UK’s Head of Global Outreach committee, Dr. Stacy Hope, on ‘Mining Forward: Perspectives on Future Transformations’. We heard views and predictions from our four WIM100 sponsors BMO Capital Markets, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), IBM and Heidrick & Struggles.
What was particularly interesting and encouraging was that all four speakers felt that diversity is the future of mining.
Colin Hamilton, Managing Director, Commodities Research at BMO Capital Markets said that a project or company’s fundamentals will always be important but diversity at all levels and inclusive teams are going to be vital. This will impact a lender’s view and, ultimately, a bank’s lending rate will be based on a company’s diversity (or lack thereof).
Marc Schmidt, Managing Director and Partner at BCG, added that the quality of an asset has less impact on a company’s competitive advantage. Where the real advantage comes from is having a new agenda – mastering the new business models, emphasising learning and effective use of technology, embracing change and agility, optimising for social and business value, and embracing the business case for diversity.
Sonia Van Ballaert, Ph.D., Global Client Director at IBM Global Markets took our collective breath away when she summarised it by saying “the future of mining is female.” Why? Because to be sustainable and creative, we must be diverse and inclusive. To attract more female talent, Sonia recommended inclusion – “we need to feel like we belong.”
Adam Badenock, Partner and Global Leader, Mining and Metals Practice, Heidrick & Struggles spoke about how the mining industry must not only look outwards but also inwards. Whereas the mining industry (as well as many other sectors) was previously linear and single-focused, it is now much more holistic and requires a different way of thinking and leading. Therefore, we must give special consideration to mentorship and coaching (both the informal and formal kinds) so that we are able to teach future executives what makes good leaders.
During the break-out room networking sessions, we discussed where the mining industry is in relation to sustainability, diversity and inclusion; what Women in Mining groups around the world can do to support the industry, and how can the mining sector tell its story better and more effectively. The conversations were full of wonderful anecdotes and pearls of wisdom.
We also asked “what does an inspirational woman in mining mean to you?” Below you will see the answers. If you know of a woman in mining that reflects these adjectives, please make sure you nominate her for the next WIM100, which will be in 2022!
We look forward to meeting the WIM100s in person next year. But until then, as our Chair said in the opening remarks: Be bold, be confident, and support each other!