Mia Gous is General Manager Plants at our Spence copper mine in northern Chile. This is her story.
“We need to stop thinking that we can figure it all out from the top down – we need to listen more to our people and continue to challenge the status quo.”
I grew up in South Africa in the apartheid years. I experienced first-hand the cultural change that saw South Africa become a rainbow nation, where everyone is equal. I saw how people adapted to understand other cultures and religions, and how a nation grew to become one. This is my dream for the world; that we can live as one in peace and together save our planet.
I have always had the motto ‘keep moving forward and keep working hard’. Facing the obstacles has sometimes been difficult. It can become very tiring and demotivating, but when I want to give up, I find new strength in my family and friends who keep motivating me to keep at it in a positive manner. I believe that a positive attitude can always make you find solutions to most problems.
I would like to see BHP making the difference not only in our own company but in the whole world. Our purpose is to bring people and resources together to build a better world. We need to think differently to find solutions to complex issues and we need diversity to think differently.
It’s important that we don’t try to put everything and everyone into the moulds that have existed in the resources industry for so many years. We need to give the diverse groups a voice to hear what they need and not think we already know what they need, and we must be open to make those changes, no matter how hard or different they might be.
It means that we treat everyone as we would like to be treated and that we give people equal opportunities without any discrimination.
That means living by our values in everything we do, and being ruthless in eradicating any disrespectful behaviour.
We also need to be fair in all the decisions we make. The resources industry is full of good opportunities for women and men equally.
At Spence we have grown our gender balance to approximately 19 per cent while the average in Chile is only 8 per cent in the resources industry. We will be starting up our new concentrator plant in FY21 with a team that will have more than 40 per cent females.
We need to stop thinking that we can figure it all out from the top down – we need to listen more to our people and continue to challenge the status quo. I love working for BHP, it is bold and empowering. Just imagine what more we can do if we truly start working together to make the world a better place.