22 September 2020
Daniielle recently joined BHP through Yandi's New to Industry Program. She is living as a proud transgender woman and was nervous about moving into the mining industry but thanks to a special connection with her trainer Joanne she felt comfortable to be herself.
This is Daniielle's story in her own words about joining BHP and being welcomed into the Yandi family.
For a long time my desire was to become a BHP employee.
Just a few weeks ago I received a life changing phone call from BHP. It was to let me know that I was successful in my application and I was to start as a New to Industry (NTI) Production Technician at Yandi Mine, in Western Australia.
I will let you know a little about me. I am out and proud transgender and I’m an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.
As confident as I am in the real world of Perth, Sydney and Los Angeles- joining the mining life was always daunting for me. Partially because I was afraid of people’s views and judgements and partially because I feared that although BHP had policies and Charter Values, I wasn’t sure if they genuinely practiced and implemented them.
Fast forward to my first day at the BHP Yandi NTI training hub.
I was introducing myself, speaking a little about me, I went straight into explaining my “truth”!
Looking around the room it was such an honour to see everyone immensely moved and genuinely relating to the person I am, I was truly humbled. Also, of the five of us new starters, there were two indigenous employees. This to me meant diversity was indeed a priority.
After listening to the amazing trainers from the Training Hub, it was time to step out into the real world of mining and to put the new learnings into practice.
I was led into the training seat of a big Cat.793F with the lovely in-cab trainer Joanne Hennessy.
From this moment forward is where the magic truly began. Within ten minutes of being in the seat I practiced what we call “safe space” and I mentioned Jasper (BHP's LGBTQ+ employee inclusion group) to Joanne. I did that to test if she was homophobic or transphobic. I was still really scared at this point, and with a blink of an eye Joanne said “Oh my God, well my son is gay!” and how incredibly proud and loving she was of her Jimmy.
I instantly fell into a LGBTQ+ safe space …knowing not only was my BHP trainer going to be supportive of my gender identity but once again these people within BHP are paving the way, and practicing and preaching BHP 's Charter Values. Joanne took me for my first trip, we talked and talked about my journey in life and fears of going into mining. We bonded as LGBTQ+ members, emotionally and personally, which I will never forget and will always be eternally grateful.
My vision for BHP as a company moving forward, is to create a space where every employee is a ‘Joanne’ by attitude, open and accepting.
Thank you BHP for leading from the front.
I feel proud to be of your team and I will continue to shine bright and be the best Production Technician I can be.