Saturday, 28 November 2020
Insights from AusIMM 2019 Summit Day 2
Austmine Limited
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Insights from AusIMM 2019 Summit Day 2

By Megan Edwards, Head of Membership Services, Austmine

Last week I joined over 100 other leaders from the mining and METS sectors at AusIMM’s Mining Leadership Summit 2019. Launching in 2018, this new addition to the AusIMM events calendar is a critical one, given the pace and the magnitude of change that our industry, and therefore its leaders, are currently facing.

The second day of the conference featured a full speaker line up and Chris Webb from PwC kicked things off discussing Agile Project Management and its timely relevance to our industry.

The theme of trust was covered off next, by Lisa Barry, Partner, Management Consulting at KPMG, and Lisa set the scene for a thread that ran consistently throughout this day of the conference. Lisa revealed the astonishing statistic that in 2019 in Australia, 78% of people list their employer as their most trusted figure, compared to government, media, etc. (source: Edelman’s Trust Barometer: As Lisa noted, this puts organisations in a unique position at a critical time in the employer/employee relationship in mining. This trust, if returned, offers a powerful opportunity for organisations to really embrace distributed leadership.

The powerhouse third speaker was Steve Asnicar, CEO of Diversity Australia who really got the audience involved in his fascinating presentation on Avoiding Unconscious Bias at work. Steve provided some terrifying insights into the aging population and what it meant for those of us in the room (E.g. I was informed that as a 34 year old, I will only retire at 92. Not my favourite snippet of information I’ve ever received at a conference!). Steve emphasised how when we talk about diversity, we really need to focus on diversity of thought if we want to achieve those end benefits of diversity that are much discussed (innovation, productivity, bottom line profits, etc.).

Important presentation by Catherine Bozanich from Fortescue Metals Group on their CSR and Karla Fernee from JobAccess on engaging new talent, followed Steve. The morning was rounded up with two fascinating presentations, the first from Vanessa Torres, CTO at South32.

Vanessa spoke openly about the start of her career and her inspiration to become an engineer. Now working as CTO at South32, she emphasised how people and mindsets are the key ingredients for transformation (critical at a time of significant digital transformation in our industry). Involving their people in their innovation process, through a single system that captures all project ideas and allows them to prioritise those projects by value (Innovate 32) has proven very successful to date.

Tracey Inglis, Manager, Resource Minds, Rural & Remote Mental Health was the final speaker of the morning session and gave an impassioned presentation on the critical role that mental health plays in our industry, whilst being woefully under-acknowledged.

The afternoon provided the audience with an eclectic mix of presentations and interactive workshop, encompassing social procurement, finding your purpose, capturing your leadership story and changing your professional development mindset. The energy throughout the conference remained high and I know I wasn’t the only one who left inspired to make changes!

Key themes that ran across day two of the conference:

1.       Moving beyond employee empowerment, to a real two-way trust that allows for distributed leadership

2.       Diversity and inclusion is more than just a seat at the table – it means being heard. D&I means everyone feeling welcomed and included in a company, or industry. It means recruiting for diversity of thought and then embracing all those different approaches.

3.       The digital transformation of our industry is already here, but we will not reach its full potential without our people to take it to its upper limits.

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