09 October 2023
“I returned to BHP in February 2019 for the scale and career growth opportunities that didn’t exist elsewhere in mining. Those opportunities included the culture and progressive mindset towards female participation and inclusion. BHP has delivered on all three fronts.”
Meet Maria Joyce, Vice President Maintenance Engineering Centre of Excellence (MECoE), who leads a team of 1,000 bright minds striving for greater efficiency and solutions to improve maintenance across BHP’s global operations.
Australian born with Italian, German and Dutch descent, Maria calls Brisbane home and is a proud mum to identical 7-year-old twin boys.
Maria is no stranger to mining, clocking 20 years in the industry working across various mining operations and roles. After first joining BHP in 2005, then pursuing different ventures outside of BHP, Maria returned in 2019 blazing the trail in senior roles, including BMA Head of Business Planning, Chief of Staff to CEO Mike Henry, and now, leading the MECoE.
In addition to her responsibilities of improving maintenance execution across the business, Maria is passionate about gender equality and workforce safety, lending her voice to advocate for gender equality in mining as Chair of the Woman in Mining & Resourcing Council (WIMARQ) and leading BHP’s sexual harassment policy.
We caught up with Maria to learn more about her career, life outside of BHP, and what’s to come for the MECoE.
Can you tell us about your career journey?
I studied Mining Engineering at the University of Queensland, which afforded me my first role with Wesfarmers working at the Curragh Mine in Blackwater, Queensland. I then moved to BHP in 2005 and worked at Norwich Park. I spent the next 12 years working externally at various mining operations, working my way from a mining engineer to a general manager. This was an exciting growth period in my career where I was able to work across different commodities, both domestically and internationally, on a wide range of assignments. I was back at BHP in February 2019 in the role of BMA Head of Business Planning and was later afforded the opportunity to work in the CEO office as Mike Henry’s Chief of Staff. That was an excellent stint which opened my eyes on what it takes to run a global mining business. I now lead the MECoE, another exciting role that I’m loving!
What led you to your career?
I have always enjoyed STEM subjects, in particular Biology. I also enjoyed the study of the Arts. I first started my tertiary studies in Civil Engineering, but later met a professor that had worked in mining. He sold me the benefits that mining had to offer, so I made the switch. I was the first person in my family to attend university, which was a proud moment for my whole family.
What excites you most about your role?
Maintenance is a huge part of the BHP ecosystem and one that provides me with the opportunity to have a substantive impact on the business. I love the opportunity to work with a vast collection of bright minds to deliver solutions at a global scale. My role takes me to such a wide range of physical environments, from spending time at site with our frontline teams across BHP’s global operations, to corporate board rooms. Our recent organisational changes have allowed us to be even more Asset focused. This truly excites me as I draw energy from the people I work with and to see the results delivered to our customers.
What are your career highlights to date?
A key highlight was having the privilege to work for Mike Henry and his leadership team, with the opportunity to see first-hand how they navigate the choices and decisions that will lead BHP into the future. My current role now is also a career highlight, being able to lead a diverse team of 1000 people that support our global operations. Finally, my role in standing up BHP’s position on sexual harassment – it’s been eye-opening to be part of something that is a game changer for the resources industry. As much as this is a highlight, it also exposed me to the lowlights of our industry. It was truly an enriching human experience.
What inspired you to chair the Woman in Mining & Resourcing Council (WIMARQ)?
I’ve always enjoyed extending my community contribution beyond my immediate corporate role. Chairing the Woman in Mining & Resourcing Council (WIMARQ) allows me to carry the voice for women across the industry and make it a better place for all of us to work, as well as to change mindsets and celebrate the success of many great women across the resources sector.
Who are your strongest influences in life?
It would be my father. He remains a lifelong teacher for me. He taught me all about hard work and respect. The same for my grandmother (nonna), who taught me the importance of family and having empathy for people. I’m also inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci for his technical genius, innovation, and beautiful artworks.
Finally, what’s at the top of your bucket list?
A little house in the South of Italy where I can take daily swims in the Mediterranean Sea.