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Donna brings flexible working to the frontline

Donna Lynn believes diversity strikes gold when everyone can truly bring their whole selves to work.

And this comes from a flexible environment where all people can fully connect with the things that really make them tick.

“This is what charges the energy of diversity,” Donna, a Principal Integrated Planning for Coal, said.

It makes sense because her first taste of the resource industry was as a graduate electrical engineer in the gold mines.

It was 1992, and looking back, she said it’s hard to imagine she’d be able to fit in raising three boys, achieving many career milestones, and still be able to connect with interests, and making a difference where it really matters – both in and out of work.

“To bring our difference to work, we need to stay genuinely connected with who we are outside of work,” she said.

Donna believes that we need to enable this through the broadest and most seamless possible application of flexible working, and highlights that outside connections can be particularly critical for those who are part of a minority.

“It can be exhausting to always be the one who sees it differently, or has to find their own way through,” Donna said.

Across most of her career Donna has brought about change – in large and small ways - to make it better for women in engineering and in resources.

“When I started working, I just liked engineering, and certainly didn’t want to stand out,” she said.

“That was bad enough without trying. I was drawn into advocacy over and over again to find connection with people who were like me.

“Then it became about getting stuff done where others just couldn’t see there was a problem, or not one big enough to matter. And now it just feels like a reflex to get involved in making change happen.”

Most recently, this was leading large scale flexible work initiatives across the Coal business for the Coal Inclusion and Diversity Council.

Donna advocated flexible work at all levels, developed a role readiness framework resulting in the Coal FlexWork Action Plan, and collaborated with site teams over the expansion of options for flexible working.

“There is still a lot of work to be done here, but it is very rewarding to see what people take for granted in 2020 that only five years ago was the subject of considerable challenge and debate,” she said.

“Knowing that I played a part in driving this conversation forward to make a difference in the lives of people all over Coal is a result I will always treasure.”

Donna is a finalist in the 2020 Queensland Resources Awards for Women, in the Gender Diversity Champion category. 

The winners will be announced at the Women in Mining and Resources Queensland International Women’s Day breakfast, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in March. Donna is a finalist in the 2020 Queensland Resources Awards for Women, in the Gender Diversity Champion category.