On Thursday 28 November 19, the WIMAR SG held its annual gala celebrating achievements for 2019 and acknowledging those partners and members who have made invaluable contributions to the success of the year. The evening included the announcement of the WIMAR SG Inclusion and Diversity awards for 2019.
The evening’s keynote speaker was Corinna Lim, the Executive Director of AWARE- the Association of Women for Action and Research. Our programme also included a “pop-up” career interview with Vandita Pant, the first female Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at BHP.
WIMAR’s values are rooted in supporting and attracting women in Singapore to the mining and resources industry and helping to develop and progress them through senior management positions. This involves acknowledging the role WIMAR plays as part of the broader Singapore community and the importance of understanding challenges faced by women in the industry and how to assist in alleviating these pressures.
AWARE is Singapore’s leading Gender Equality group. Inspired by Michelle Obamas autobiography “Becoming”, keynote speaker Corinna Lim covered three key points:
1. Public speaking as a Leadership skill: She stressed that speaking well in public can be achieved when one” finds your voice” on issues you yourself are passionate about. Placing emphasis on the power it has to enact change, as she and her team at AWARE have done by advocating for various issues affecting marginalised women in Singapore.
“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become...” Michelle Obama.
2. The impact the #Metoo movement has had in Singapore: she highlighted the strides made by many companies to address issues such as workplace harassment by intensifying their efforts to promote safe, respectful and inclusive workplaces. Furthermore, how the movement has empowered many women to speak up about the various issues faced in the workplace and the various initiatives AWARE’s has been a part of to ensure companies in various sectors have the right tools in place to address these issues.
3. Ideas for WIMAR SG: Corinna commended the mentoring program currently run by WIMAR SG and suggested that the forum initiate more projects that promote gender equality at a macro level. Further stressing the importance of research and surveys in developing more targeted projects and initiatives.
A career Q&A session was held with BHP’s CCO Vandita Pant, with questions centered around her change in career from the banking to the mining. The key career defining moments and challenges, and her practical advice she could give for the next generation of leaders.
“Let the limitations that others impose on us never ever define us, but only our potential. If even just one more woman gets inspired to reach for her full potential as a result of this recognition, this would be worth its weight in gold!” Vandita Pant.
Vandita spoke of the importance of choosing a company or industry that fit into your career trajectory, and whose culture resonated with one’s personal values.
She called to attention that understanding ones learning style is vital for tackling new challenges- hers being structured and intensive, she was able to acquire the knowledge she required to perform in her role. She highlighted the significance of taking up roles that are outside of one’s comfort zone and how this decision can impact the structure of an organization to become more inclusive and diverse in the long-run.
With reference to WIMAR SG she brought to the fore the vital role the organization has played in ensuring that the mining and commodities industry remains an attractive industry where talent wants to work and pledging that supporting WIMAR activities is aligned with the BHP values.
Finally, she reminded the audience that success does not involve a smooth progression, but that one should give one’s self the capacity and resilience to fail and to get up multiple times if need be to achieve success.
The evening concluded with the WIMAR SG 2019 awards, recognising the outstanding individuals and groups that have made tremendous contribution in the I&D spaces within the mining, energy and resources industry in Singapore. WIMAR SG would like to thank the judges for volunteering their time and effort as they had a hard time deliberating on their final winners.
The Individual Outstanding award winner was Valda Tsang-Tolentino from Rio Tinto who collaborated with a team who are both culturally and generationally diverse in her current role. She will also be leading a new cross company mentoring circle at Rio Tinto which will collaborate with Shell, Caterpillar & DSM in November, with a focus on female talent accessing a broader network and mentoring platform.
The Group outstanding award winner was BHP, who committed to achieve gender balance by 2025 and have since employed over 2000 females in line with this goal. They have also spearheaded their own LGBT and employee group known as Jasper since 2017.
A special thank you to our volunteer photographer, Kei Ohashi from BHP for the amazing photographs capturing the success of the evening.