Women in resources celebrated

WOMEN from BHP Billiton and Alcoa were among those honoured today at the eight annual Women in Resources Awards in Perth this morning.
Women in resources celebrated Women in resources celebrated Women in resources celebrated Women in resources celebrated Women in resources celebrated

Kristie Batten

The awards, hosted by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, attracted 90 nominations across five categories.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore vice president operations infrastructure Vanessa Torres was named as Outstanding Woman in Resources.

As well as her efforts to improve diversity, Torres was recognised for her work with children's charities in her native Brazil.

Torres beat out Gold Fields Australia vice president, legal and compliance Kelly Carter, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines underground and project planning engineer Jayne Finch and St Barbara principal resource analyst Meryl Jones.

Woodside Energy surveillance engineer Rachel Leong was named as Outstanding Young Woman in Resources.

Leong has trained over 60 volunteers to develop school-based presentations to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The other finalists in her category were Woodside data science manager Luana Barron and Roy Hill superintendent control Jodi Moffitt.

The Women in Resources Champion was Georgiou Group executive general manager John Galvin for his work with the University of Western Australia's Equality and Diversity Committee.

The category raised some eyebrows when the finalists were announced, given that all were men.

The other finalises were Gold Fields Australia Darlot general manager Andrew Bywater and BHP Billiton Iron Ore asset president Edgar Basto.

Alcoa operations centre group leader Sharron Freitas was the Outstanding Operator/Technician/Trade Woman in Resources, as well as picking up the People's Choice award.

"I don't feel like a girl in a man's world - I'm just doing my job," she said.

"I hope my story is inspirational to young women considering their employment options, as this industry, and Alcoa especially, is so supportive of women."

Chevron Australia marine communications operator Karen Montford and Rio Tinto Iron Ore project field coordinator Kestin Rek were the other finalists in the technical category.

Alcoa of Australia managing director Michael Parker congratulated Freitas on her two wins.

"Sharron's achievements are a fantastic example of what a supportive, inclusive work environment enables; she is a very deserving, and obviously popular, winner," he said.

"As a business we stand the best chance of attracting and retaining the best people, like Sharron, by providing an environment where diversity of gender and thought is encouraged. This remains central to our talent management and recruitment strategies."

Shell Australia's Closing the Gender Pay Gap initiative beat out programs at South32 and Rio Tinto Iron Ore to win the Outstanding Company Initiative.

CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith told the 1000-strong crowd at the breakfast that the winners were inspirational ambassadors for the WA resources sector.