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Leveraging industry experience to be a better leader

Raised on a farm and being one of ten kids, Karla grew up in an environment where at times traditional gender roles were a part of daily life.

This only pushed Karla to strive to prove herself and she learnt that not only was she capable of doing anything she put her mind to, she found joy in taking on challenging roles.

With her background as an electrician in a contractor role at BMA’s Saraji Mine, Karla jumped at the opportunity when the Supervisor Development program opened up.

“It’s not about proving a point to anyone other than myself. I take pride in pushing my limits to see how far I can go,” said Karla.

Karla loved her trade as an electrician and had no plans to leave it so quickly.

“I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this role as I am a hands-on person, but I am convinced now that I’ve made the right decision.”

“I’m still very active on my days off with my electrical trade and outdoor hobbies. I’m also more than happy to jump in with the crew and give them a hand where needed – so I’m getting the best of both worlds,” she said.

Karla is using her background in mining to her advantage.

“I’m familiar with the operations and the culture of the work environment. Taking on a leadership role feels like a step in the right direction,” said Karla.

“Being in this role has expanded my views and has helped me understand why certain processes are in place. I believe my experience and the connections I’ve made with my workmates will help me better relate and understand their point of view and in doing so, be a better leader.”

In addition to building technical and operational competency, included as part of the comprehensive development program, is an 18-month leader shadow at site.

“It’s great to be learning from the best and I’m appreciative that my workmates trust and respect me in a supervisory capacity.”

“Having more female leaders in the workplace may also promote more empathy and compassion. I want to be able to help people who are in need and lead change,” she said.

Karla’s piece of advice to those who are thinking twice about taking the leap into mining is: “If you truly want it, get in there, have a go and don’t hold back as we all need to start somewhere. The supervisor development program is the perfect platform to gain technical knowledge and operational skills, alongside the opportunities provided in building foundations to become an effective frontline people leader and, in working within the systems and processes of BMA.”