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Dhakshi Weerawardena
Processing Production Supervisor
Category Nomination Outstanding Young Woman In Resources

Growing up in mining towns in Sri Lanka and Australia, Dhakshi developed a passion for the mining sector. After studying engineering and commerce at university, Dhakshi rapidly progressed from graduate to production processing supervisor, providing support to operators and influencing positive cultural change.  Her first leadership role as Mine Services Supervisor saw Dhakshi’s team achieve 365 days injury free and become part of the most productive mine services team at BHP Western Australia Iron Ore. Dhakshi is a champion of working in the resources sector and volunteers to engage with university students to promote careers in the sector.  She has also given presentations outside Australia to university students in Sri Lanka about working in the Australian mining industry. 

Lynn Olssen
General Manager – Resource Knowledge and Definition
Rio Tinto
Category Nomination Women In Resources Champion

Lynn is a strong advocate for women in resources within her company, Western Australia and Australasia more broadly.  A geologist with more than 24 years’ experience in the mining industry, Lynn has served as Chair of the AusIMM Women in Mining Network Committee, member of the Women in Mining WA seminar committee and mentoring program and is the current chair of the Rio Tinto Exploration Australasian I&D Committee, tasked with improving inclusion and diversity in Rio Tinto.  She is an active member of MCA’s Gender Diversity Reference Group and CME’s Gender Diversity Reference Group.  Recognised for her diversity advocacy, Lynn is regularly invited to present at conferences, student career events and panel discussions.  She advocates for diversity to achieve better team dynamics and performance.  

Marisa Ioppolo-Armanios
Program Manager – Environmental and Process Chemistry Technology
Alcoa of Australia
Category Nomination Outstanding Woman In Resources
Dr Marisa Ioppolo-Armanios is regarded by her peers and leaders as a highly skilled research scientist. She is an acclaimed expert in environmental (air and water quality) and process chemicals, managing and developing the Environmental Technology program for Alcoa’s global research and development hub, the Alumina Center of Excellence, based at the Kwinana Alumina Refinery.  She is a transformational leader with significant academic and professional achievements and successfully leads two breakthrough global projects in air and water quality for Alcoa. 
Raised in a traditional, first generation, immigrant family, Marisa’s expectation for herself was markedly different to the hairdresser expectation her family had for her. From a young age she challenged societal stereotypes and paradigms with great resilience and determination to pursue a university education in science.   Her determination saw her become the second woman to complete a PhD at Curtin University from within the male-dominated chemistry department. 
Marisa is a strong and active advocate in paving the way for other women in technical pathways.
Martha Hackshaw
Petroleum Engineer
Chevron Australia
Category Nomination Outstanding Young Woman In Resources

The ability to directly contribute to society through the supply of energy attracted Martha to study petroleum engineering and work in the oil and gas industry.  Since commencing work in the industry eight years ago, Martha has held key petroleum engineering roles and delivered savings worth millions of dollars.  More recently, Martha’s role has expanded to assist senior leadership with building stronger employee culture. A champion for diversity and inclusion, Martha has led efforts to launch Catalyst’s Men Advocating Real Change program in Chevron’s Perth office which, to date, involves over 170 employees, around 70% male.  Martha has acted as a mentor across a number of industry initiatives and is an advocate for the importance of mental health and how to maintain resilience in the workplace.

Megan Lockyer
Drill and Blast Operator
Fortescue Metals Group
Category Nomination Outstanding Operator/Technician/Tradeswoman

Megan is an Ngarluma, Yindjibarndi and Kuruma woman from Roebourne in Western Australia. Megan entered the industry as a clerical trainee but learnt she was more interested in working in the field and operating big machinery. Megan has progressed from field technician to recently accepting a role as driller. Outside of work, Megan raises awareness of important social issues and has recently created the Keep Your Hands to Yourself campaign on Facebook to highlight the effects of community and domestic violence.Understanding and practicing lore and culture is important to Megan and she makes sure this is reflected in her work and in mentoring young Aboriginal people. Megan is a role model for young girls in her community and is part of numerous leadership groups for Aboriginal women.

Melissa Cundy
Manager Studies and Technology
Rio Tinto
Category Nomination Outstanding Woman In Resources

Since graduating as a mining engineer, Melissa has experienced a diverse and challenging career in the resources sector.  Melissa’s professional journey has taken her from being the first woman in an underground coal mine in Central Queensland, to Paris and London where she managed feasibility studies for multi-million dollar resources projects. Her continuous improvement work has delivered billions of dollars in productivity gains for Rio Tinto over the last decade.  She is currently leading a team to deliver Rio Tinto’s first intelligent mine.  Melissa visits schools encouraging girls to study STEM subjects and has presented to UWA student engineers, promoting career opportunities in the resources sector.

Nicole O’Keefe
Apprentice Electrician
Category Nomination Outstanding Operator/Technician/Tradeswoman

Nicole is due to complete her electrical apprenticeship early this year at 33 years of age. She started her career in mining eleven years ago as HR officer. Upon deciding to switch professions, Nicole took a 55% pay reduction to commence an apprenticeship.  Her decision to change careers was often challenged and being in a classroom with school-aged students built resilience.  Through hard work and dedication, Nicole earnt the respect of fellow students and work colleagues and has excelled in her apprenticeship. She has pursued transfers and secondments throughout her apprenticeship to gain a well-rounded understanding of electrical equipment. Nicole volunteers in the role of Board Chair for the not-for-profit organisation, TradeUP Australia, which aims to encourage women and girls to consider non-traditional trades as a career option.  Nicole coordinates female volunteers to represent their trades at schools and other events, and is a frequent speaker herself.  


Peta Libby
Managing Director
Category Nomination Outstanding Woman In Resources

Peta is a geologist with over 20 years’ industry experience and is the Founder and Managing Director of Digirock, a geological consulting company.  Peta’s extensive career success and experience has led her to participate on a number of executive and non-executive not-for profit boards and committees associated with the resources sector.  In addition to regularly presenting at a variety of industry forums, mentoring women and Indigenous employees, Peta is a champion for improving safety outcomes of exploration workers in remote locations and  leading the development of safety manuals and procedures, now used by over 30 companies globally.  Through her company, Peta models and provides flexible work arrangements for both men and women, ensuring they remain connected to the business.

Shannon Youd
Maintenance Planner Scheduler
Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM)
Category Nomination Outstanding Operator/Technician/Tradeswoman

At the age of 16, Shannon commenced her dual electrical/instrumental trade apprenticeship. After a career in mining spanning 26 years, Shannon continues to challenge the status quo and has been shift supervisor, TAFE lecturer, planner scheduler and acting superintendent. When Shannon was new to industry, she thought to be successful in a male-dominated trade, you needed to be ‘one of the boys.’ She has since learnt that what makes her ‘different’ is actually a strength and she uses her experience to encourage young women to enter and succeed in similar trades. Shannon dedicates time to mentoring and sharing her story with school students and other women in the workplace. She recently become involved in the KCGM Inclusion and Diversity Business Resource Group as the Chairperson for their Women in Mining group.

Sharron Sutton
Mine Technical Services Manager
Rio Tinto
Category Nomination Women In Resources Champion

Sharron views her leadership role as an opportunity to share her knowledge and experience to develop, enable and inspire women to do their best. As the first non-mining engineer and second female Technical Services Manager at Rio Tinto, Sharron proved that a leader without technical expertise could effectively engage and lead a team. She mentors women across many technical disciplines through her work with the National Association of Women in Operations.  Sharron is an active proponent for STEM education and is involved in Murdoch’s STEM outreach and supports Robogals’ leadership development program. Sharron was pivotal in the development of the Female Forum at Greater Brockman which engaged female and male leaders to run networking events and she has boosted female participation in numerous teams she has managed. Sharron is working hard to drive a less masculine culture, one that is more caring, collaborative, empowering and flexible for all.

Tijana Mirkovic
Manager Finance Reporting
Category Nomination Outstanding Young Woman In Resources

Tijana entered the resources sector less than five years ago as a business analyst.  Within two years she was accepted into BHP’s Finance Emerging Leaders Program as the youngest participant.  Tijana’s outstanding career trajectory now sees her as one of BHP’s youngest managers, reporting directly to the Vice President. Immigrating to Australia from Serbia as a child and barely speaking English, Tijana was keen to fit in.  Her upbringing taught her to embrace individual differences, a value fundamental to BHP’s Western Australian Iron Ore (WAIO) Inclusion and Diversity journey.  One of her biggest achievements to date has been redesigning the leadership team’s routines and reports, allowing them to cut time spent in meetings by 70%, which is being replicated across BHP.  Tijana actively advocates flexible work arrangements and formed WAIO’s first Inclusion and Diversity Council.

Veena Mendez
Category Team Lead
Chevron Australia
Category Nomination Women In Resources Champion

Veena is the Chair and Founder of Women in Oil in Gas (WIOG), a networking organisation committed to promoting diversity and the career advancement of women in the Oil and Gas industry.  Established in 2013, WOIG now has a subscriber base of more than 2,500 individuals.  With the assistance of the WOIG Board and Committee, Veena has created a variety of education outreach programs, a mentoring program and local and regional networking events. Together with presenting at conferences and participating on various panels for industry discussions, Veena volunteers her time towards many other causes, notably having been a board member for Zonta House Women’s refuge. In 2015, Veena was named a winner in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence list. Veena believes by focusing on the benefits of and opportunities arising from diversity, a high performing resources sector can better contribute to WA’s economic wellbeing.

White Ribbon Accreditation
Rio Tinto
Category Nomination Outstanding Company Initiative

Rio Tinto recognises its responsibility to help eliminate domestic violence, a widespread issue which impacts the workplace and community. The company understands that to make a positive impact in the communities in which it operates, it needs to partner with the community to help break the cycle of violence among perpetrators. Rio Tinto is well down the path of becoming an accredited White Ribbon workplace to guide its ongoing response.  In 2017, a package of measures was introduced to support employees impacted by domestic violence, including paid leave for medical and legal assistance, counselling, relocation or other safety arrangements. Emergency financial assistance and accommodation is also available to anyone requiring immediate help, along with a range of specialised support services. Rio Tinto continues to train leaders to equip them with the knowledge and skills to recognise and respond.  In August 2017, Rio Tinto issued an Australia-wide guidance note outlining protections available to individuals at risk of or experiencing domestic violence. This guide encourages any employee experiencing domestic violence to remain in the workforce, which often provides the financial security needed to escape a violent relationship.