By Kym Clark
I have to admit, I was pretty stoked when one of my industry idols, Alex Atkins agreed to be interviewed for My Visibility! With 25 years in the mining industry and a true mover and shaker when it comes to equity and inclusion, Alex has made a significant impact on value-creative cultures within the industry. Among a host of other achievements, Alex was a finalist in the Australian Mining Prospect Awards – Mining’s Female of the Year and WA CME Women In Resources Awards in 2011 for her pioneering career. She’s a true trailblazer for our industry and there’s so much we can learn from her.
Managing Director & Principal Mining Consultant
What is it about your role you enjoy the most?
Autonomy, adventure, discovery & making a difference.
What attracted you to the role / industry initially?
Rebellion! I chose to become an underground mining engineer at a time when women had just become legally permissible.
What’s something many people wouldn’t know about your role or workplace?
I don’t have to commute to work! I work from home with my dog staring at me and my kids around me when they’re on holidays.
Have you faced any challenges in your role? If so what and how did / are you overcoming it?
Yes. I have to manage my cash flow carefully due to long payment terms of my clients (There’s a two month wait after the job is finished). But I have managed by being a Scrooge!
What advice would you give to someone looking at a role similar to yours?
Find out what your purpose is – your special calling – and build an offering around that. Only work for people who you trust and respect and who feel the same way about you.
What traits, skills or qualifications are needed to perform your role?
Engineering & MBA qualifications and LOTS of operational and site experience. Authenticity and integrity are also important as is a big network of amazing people based on trust, respect and aligned values. Finally, you should possess positivity, creativity, courage and independent thinking.
Are you a minority in your workplace?
For sure. Wherever I’ve worked as an underground mining engineer I’ve been a novelty. In fact, only about 14% of mining professionals are women and about 14% of engineers are women. It has its pluses and minuses but you’d have to sit and drink wine with me to get me talking?!
Any other wins, challenges, experiences or pieces of wisdom that you’d like to share?
Figure out what your values are and stick to them.
Figure out what your strengths are and build on them.
Figure out who your tribe are and look after them.
Look after your family and be positive.