30 March 2023
Having been ostracised in her home country of Iran at age 11 due to the social stigma surrounding her parents’ divorce, Mahsa Zargary is determined to ensure everyone feels included in her role as BHP Lead Project Studies based in Perth.
“In Iran, if your parents get divorced, the children stay with the father and the mother is often shunned by society,” Mahsa says.
“In my case, my mother moved to the UK when I was 18, and I stayed back and endured torment at the hands of my father’s new wife, but also by my peers who bullied me simply for being the child of divorced parents. It was a lonely time, especially as a young girl with ambition, but also one that shaped my values around inclusion.”
When Mahsa turned 22 she moved to the UK where she was reunited with her mum and ironically, began to feel a sense of belonging for the first time in her life.
Mahsa studied her A-levels (Year 12) while simultaneously learning English before undertaking a Bachelor and Master’s degree in chemical and process engineering.
After working in engineering for 4 years, Mahsa obtained her Chemical Engineering Chartership Status and pivoted into project management, working for oil and gas clients in the UK and Norway before meeting her partner and moving to Australia in 2019 where she continued to work in the oil and gas sector.
A chance encounter with BHP’s Talent Acquisition team in 2021 led her to apply for her current role as well as championing inclusion and diversity (I&D).
“BHP really walks the talk when it comes to I&D,” Mahsa says.
“No matter where we’re from, which religion we subscribe to, the colour of our skin or what disability we might have, we are seen and heard, which enhances our ability to problem-solve.
“Ensuring everybody’s voice is heard benefits the individual employee, the company, but also the broader community and the environment.
“A recent example of this in action was our project contracting strategy to exclusively hire Indigenous and traditional owner contractors to execute the socially responsible phased closure of one of BHP’s mine sites.”
Mahsa sees life’s challenges as stepping stones rather than a stumbling blocks.
“They’ve made me a fighter – I’ve pushed through, and I’m now where I’m meant to be,” she says.
“I often say Iran is my birth country, the UK is my home country, but Australia is the country I chose.
“I’d also like to add that BHP is the workplace where I feel I most belong.”