The good (amazing) women of South32

This week I flew via Cairns, Gove and Darwin to Groote Eylandt as a guest of South32 – the global mining company demerged from BHP in 2015, listed on three continents and with operations across five countries. South32 is the latest corporate member of Women on Boards.
After one or two travel sagas - I mean who knew that all mining charters went from the commercial aiport and not the charter terminal where I was hopefully standing with a pack of mosquitos at 5:30am Monday morning - I arrived on the mound of bauxite known as Groote Eylandt. It's a rather lovely place with an interesting history and excellent fishing. Not that I had the time or inclination to throw in a line with morning and afternoon workshops to host and large crocodiles patrolling the beach.

The challenges of operating in this environment are significant as evidenced by the fact only 25% of the 30 women who attended lived on the island full-time. The remainder flew in by company charter from Cairns and Darwin, Sydney, Adelaide, Kingaroy and Singapore to work either 7-7, 8-4, 4-3-5-2 or other rosters on day and night shifts. It takes commitment and a passion for the mining industry to work such socially difficult work hours.

The women were - as is usually the case with WOB - independent, skilled, wise, strategic and with great character. All women who could - and should - be on boards and committees into the future.  There was the woman who won bronze for Australia in the junior water polo team, the Christian analyst who could play the cello to concert standard, the PhD chemists, the woman who founded Women in Mining in South African, the serial volunteers for major causes and so on.

It was a great reminder to me of why I continue to be part of Women on Boards - to bring into the light the many women who already add so much value to our nation and who could really step up to influence  in the future. It was well worth flyng half way around the country to experience. Many thanks to all the South32 women who spent time with me this week.

Have a great weekend

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