Julie Shuttleworth has worked on major projects in Australia, China and Tanzania. She became a General Manager at just 35. The former Australia Mine Manager of the Year and Telstra WA Businesswoman of the Year is currently General Manager of Western Australia’s Cloudbreak Mine.
My key career achievement was being involved with taking Buzwagi Gold Project from Feasibility Study, through design and engineering, construction, commissioning to an operating mine and process plant over the period 2006 to 2009.
I was responsible for recruiting and training a team of Tanzanians that had never worked in a process plant before. The project was delivered on schedule, budget and with strong safety and environmental performance. I then went on to become General Manager of that mine.
A female in the mining industry
I really love working in the mining industry, and have had great experiences working in senior roles. I just get on and do my job. Successful women don’t want to be treated any differently because of gender. The key thing is to deliver results for the business, lead by example, and be approachable as a leader. This is what gains trust and respect from the workforce and peers.
My advice for women looking to get into leadership roles would be:
- Be confident in how you communicate and present yourself
- Be authentic. Don’t change the person you are, to try to fit in
- Go for it! Set your goals, and communicate your career aspirations with relevant stakeholders who can help you along the way
Challenges in the mining industry
A key challenge for me has been learning to manage stress and lots of pressure on the job. I’ve learned that most feelings of stress are from my own self-induced pressures.
It’s also hard being away from family and friends for long periods, up to six months at a time. I’ve worked to establish a work-life balance, and to make time to exercise after work hours. It’s so important to help keep me energised.
Successful women don’t want to be treated any differently because of gender. The key thing is to deliver results for the business, lead by example, and be approachable as a leader.
Adapting to different cultures when working overseas, particularly in countries where women in management is rare has also been a challenge. You have to respect other cultures, and realise the value of diversity, including understanding that some people have different beliefs than you.
Key leadership tips
My key leadership tips and things that are important to me are:
- Have a positive attitude
- Lead by example. Get into the field and demonstrate visible leadership
- Be approachable
- Be authentic; it develops trust and respect
- Collaborative teamwork delivers the best results
- You can’t do everything yourself! Delegate, empower and develop others. Just because you want something done quickly, don’t rush in and do everything for everyone else all the time. Realise that a good leader doesn’t need to know everything
- Have fun, enjoy life! Make the effort to get good work/life balance and do things that give you positive energy.
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Developing a positive attitude and leading by example are key strengths to help anyone succeed in a challenging environment, but most of all enjoy the work you do and finding that important work/life balance will come naturally.