Women in Resources Awards

Established in 2010, the Women in Resources Awards (WIRA) recognise individuals and organisations working to build a world-class industry which provides attractive career opportunities and enhances the recognition and participation of women in the sector. 

The entry process encourages individuals and companies to reflect on their achievements and the impact they have made to help encourage the participation of women in the WA resources sector. 
Presentation Dinner Event

2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the Women in Resources Awards and CME is planning an exciting dinner event to celebrate 10 years of recognising the power of diversity in the Western Australian Resources sector. 

Award finalists will be honoured and winners announced at the dinner on Friday, 15 March 2019, hosted once again by popular media personality and political commentator, Annabel Crabb. 

Click here to purchase your ticket to attend.

Vote for your favourite finalist on the People's Choice voting portal.

Missed out on the 2018 awards presentation or wish to re-live it again? You can by clicking here.

2019 WIRA Finalists


Laura Hayman– Rio Tinto

Specialist Data Engineer

Laura is a Geotechnical Engineer and Data Engineer at Rio Tinto with 15 years’ experience in the mining industry. She has a plethora of technical experience and academic success which has led her to participate as an AusIMM Chartered Professional Assessor, an Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG) Technical Reviewer, and has published and presented her own work at mining industry forums.

Laura is an avid fan of technology, especially technology which can be adapted from other industries into the mining industry. She is constantly pushing herself to find smarter ways of optimising old systems and ways of thinking for safety and productivity gains.  Laura’s contribution to her workplace’s technical expertise and knowledge community has resulted in significant positive commercial and strategic outcomes.

Laura sees mentoring for inclusion and diversity in the technology and STEM sectors as a priority and a personal responsibility.  She is the Founder and Chair of the Rio Tinto Women in Technology Networking Group, Mentor at the ‘Get into Resources’ Mining careers event and Mentor in the Women in Mining WA (WIMWA) program. She is passionate about finding ways to help mining industry professionals upskill as we head into Industry 4.0.


Fiona Hick– Woodside Energy Ltd

Vice President | Strategy, Planning & Analysis

Fiona Hick is an outstanding example of how engineering can open doors to a varied and successful career within the resources industry. Joining the resources sector with a Bachelor of Engineering in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, she is a balanced and pragmatic professional with over 20 years industry experience encompassing exploration, development, production, corporate and marketing.
As Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Quality at Woodside Energy, Fiona demonstrated her capacity to deliver industry leading results that inspires and develops people.  Under her leadership, Woodside achieved its best personal safety performance in company history and improved how the company prevents major incidents, including receiving a global award from the Institute of Chemical Engineers for innovative use of data analytics in incident prevention.  Fiona recently moved to become Vice President Strategy Planning and Analysis and is now accountable for corporate strategic direction, business planning and financial, economic and commercial analysis and insights.   
Balancing an outstanding career, utilising a range of flexible work arrangements, Fiona is a role model for others within the industry. Fiona mentors dozens of female engineers and other professionals within the industry, particularly in providing support to women returning from leave and those taking on larger roles. She is passionate about supporting the next generation of professionals. 

Rowena Smith– South32

Chief Sustainability Officer

Rowena began her career in the resources sector 25 years ago with a commerce degree, rapidly progressing into senior roles in operations, strategy, business development resource development, HR, supply, marketing and sustainability.  In 2015 Rowena made the move to South32 as Vice President Supply for Australia before quickly progressing to Chief Sustainability Officer. Her role encompasses health and safety, environment, risk, climate change, social performance and human rights.  With her leadership extending to North and South America, South Africa, London, Singapore, Mozambique and Australia, her influence improves people’s lives on a global scale.

All throughout her career, Rowena has had enormous influence on the culture. She has been active in monitoring and calling out behaviours and biases that reduce inclusivity. The subsequent conversations that have been initiated have improved the company-wide understanding in the potential power of diversity and the imperative to nurture inclusivity to bring it to life.  Throughout her career, Rowena’s unending passion and commitment for challenging the status quo and promoting inclusivity in the workplace has left a legacy of changed attitudes and workplaces.

In further complementing her desire to contribute to society, Rowena also chairs the Women and Infants Research Foundation (WIRF), at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth.  



Sarah Loh– Woodside Energy Ltd

Production Forecast Opportunity Manager

Sarah Loh embarked on a career in oil and gas as a teenager, completing her first work placement as soon as she finished her first year of university. She is a passionate young engineer achieving outstanding outcomes and leading inclusion and diversity at Woodside.

In the five years after joining Woodside’s Graduate Development Program, Sarah has experienced an accelerated career progression and held several technical roles as a Reservoir, Production and Completions Engineer and has led small teams as Corporate Reserves Coordinator and Production Forecasting Opportunity Manager for the Burrup Hub assets.

Sarah is a strong technical role model who takes a proactive leading role in driving diversity and innovation within her industry. She is passionate about involving disciplines beyond petroleum engineering, promoting diversity of thought and differing perspectives, and helping the various technical societies across WA support one another.

Sarah mentors a number of engineers globally and volunteers as communications officer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers WA Section. She will shortly embark on her next leadership experience, as a Business Advisor for assets in USA and Canada.


Meredith Prior– Shell Australia

Commercial Operations Advisor

Meredith began her career as a public servant in Victoria, working in strategic policy at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. She made the decision to join Shell in 2013 when an opportunity arose in the Shell Australia Social Performance Team.

Today Meredith manages Shell’s equity LNG, LPG and Condensate offtake from Gorgon, North West Shelf and Prelude; a 24/7 commercial and operational role that requires a cool head in a crisis, strong stakeholder engagement skills and a love of ships.

Meredith is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the resources sector. She is the current chair of the Women’s network, co-founder of the LGBTI+ network called Kaleidoscope and member of the Shell Australia National Gender Balance Advisory board.

Meredith is a role model for young women at Shell and enjoys mentoring young women and men to help them better understand the value of diversity and inclusion.


April Scott– Fortescue Metals Group Pty Ltd

AHS Mine Control Superintendent

April began her career in mining only seven years ago, driving dump trucks before taking a role with Caterpillar as an Autonomous Haulage Sysytem (AHS) controller, based at Fortescue’s Solomon Hub. Her success working with the Solomon team has seen April progress through a non-traditional career pathway to secure a role as a Mine Controller, AHS Builder, Supervisor, Coordinator and then Superintendent.  

After being an AHS controller for four years, April saw the rollout of autonomy at Christmas Creek as an exciting opportunity. Christmas Creek entailed a huge body of work, training the existing control team to use both Minestar Fleet and Minestar Command. April developed and initiated training the new control team, along with delivering information sessions for the use of Minestar to mining personnel.

Most recently April returned to Solomon as a Mine Control Coordinator and was soon promoted to Mine Control Superintendent looking after a technical team of 65 consisting of Coordinators, Supervisors, Controllers, Builders and In-field Builders.

As a leader within the control room, April coaches individuals through the adoption of technology.  With 75 per cent of her leadership team and 50 per cent of the control team being women, April is an active champion for women in the sector.  




Stephanie Allan– Chevron Australia

Operations Technician – INLEC

Stephanie loves being a part of the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project, one of the world’s largest LNG projects located on an A-class nature reserve. She finds every day inspiring and loves the challenge of maintaining the facility, from time-critical breakdowns to complex planned maintenance. Her extensive knowledge base is backed by her training; an Electrical trade qualification, Advanced Diploma of Instrumentation, Certificate III in Process Operations and numerous high-risk work licenses.

Her leadership qualities are displayed in her current role with Chevron in the planning and execution team as a champion for the new campaign maintenance program, aimed at fundamentally improving the way maintenance is completed.

Stephanie shares her knowledge as a lead mentor for Chevron’s apprenticeship program, the same program she completed as the first female apprentice. Stephanie’s successful career within Chevron is set to continue and is an exceptional example to others hoping to enter the industry.


Jenny Knight– BHP

Process Technician – Furnace

Process technician Jenny Knight has transitioned from a 25-year career as a seamstress, pattern cutter and fashion designer to BHP’s Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, where she started in stores and has since become a tapper in the furnace. 

In a traditionally been a male-orientated area requiring physical, hot, and heavy work, Jenny has worked her way through the challenges and made changes to make work easier and safer, working smarter not harder.

Jenny has naturally adapted to lean productivity and has been instrumental in identifying and implementing numerous innovations. She embodies the culture of innovation and care and has utilised her seamstress skills to ensure various PPE and clothing sizes are expanded so everyone is catered for and comfortable.

Jenny has been a member of the BHP Nickel West Kalgoorlie Emergency Response Team for the last 4 years. She is working to complete her Certificate III in Emergency Rescue.


Donna Stace– Rio Tinto

Maintenance Supervisor

Donna gained her qualification as an Engineering Tradesperson - Mechanical in February 1998. She knew from the age of 14 that she wanted to be part of a mechanical trade, eventually settling on Fitting & Machining.  She has taken her trade from the Pilbara to construction in Collie, to building services in London and sprinkler pipe fitting in Dublin, being the only female tradesperson on each of those jobs.

Donna shows great leadership, managing a series of teams through significant changes both with people and machinery, most significantly with Rio Tinto completing a $55 million-dollar automated workshop upgrade.

Having become the Northwest Ambassador for TradeUP Australia, Donna focused on her mentoring by starting an informal networking group of female Trades and Engineers at Railways Division. This group has now expanded to the newly launched Women in Rail Network. Meeting quarterly to support and drive change within Rail with a direct link to the GM team at Rio Tinto.

Outside of work, after volunteering in the City of Karratha for approximately 20 years, Donna was awarded the 2015 City of Karratha Citizen of the year.



Cordia Johnson- Chevron Australia

Wheatstone Onslow Facilities Engineering Team Lead

Cordia is an Engineer at Chevron’s Wheatstone Project where she leads the Technical Engineering Team.  

She was one of the youngest females to achieve a Chartered Engineer status, doing so before turning 30.  Cordia is an authentic role model and passionate advocate for gender diversity within the resources sector.

Cordia is a visible champion for gender diversity by co-leading the Chevron Women’s Network since 2012. She been instrumental in the success of the Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) program which encourages men to be visibly active champions for gender equity and inclusive leadership.

Cordia continues to drive the successful MARC program in the male-dominated Wheatstone and Gorgon sites.  She has also presented at key industry forums including the 2017 Joint Industry Petroleum Women’s Network event alongside Minister Julie Bishop and 2018 CME Gender Diversity Forum.

Cordia believes historically, gender diversity issues have mainly involved women talking about women’s issues, but going forward, we need men’s perspectives to improve understanding and to see authentic inclusive leadership and behaviours.


Graham Kerr– South32

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO of South32, Graham successfully led the establishment of the company and its public listing in three countries in May 2015. Graham has a strong track record in global resource development and is passionate about health, safety and sustainability.

Graham believes that it is his role as a leader to drive the changes that need to be made to encourage, promote and advocate for women in South32 and the wider resources industry. As CEO of South32, he works to set the tone and tolerance from the top. He has put in place measurable objectives to ensure more balanced gender representations at all levels of the organisation and is actively tracking South32’s progress.

Under Graham’s leadership, in 2017, South32 introduced a new family care policy that included a range of industry-leading features which focus on the health and wellbeing of employees and their families. The policy went beyond traditional support mechanisms and introduced a holistic approach.  Graham has also increased female representation on the South32 Board from 14 per cent to 33 per cent and the senior leadership team from 17 per cent to 33 per cent.

Graham is an active member of Male Champions of Change and CEO’s for Gender Equity through which he has sought to influence others to drive change in their respective organisations.


Michael Parker– Alcoa of Australia

Chairman and Managing Director

Michael Parker is the Chairman and Managing Director of Alcoa of Australia, a traditional industrial workplace with a strong agenda to increase female workforce participation and remove barriers for the attraction, retention and progression of women. Michael has actively grown female representation to almost 50 per cent on his extended leadership team over the last three years.

At a board level, Michael visibly champions diversity to ensure good governance and accountability. He is the Executive Sponsor of the global Alcoa Women’s Network and chairs Alcoa’s Inclusion Steering Committee. Internally and externally he has been instrumental in achieving strategic and innovative workplace change as an active member of CEOs for Gender Equity, Diversity Council Australia, and as a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador.

Michael continues to advocate for and inspire flexible work practices, policies and initiatives, such as female-only traineeships.  He has established a five year gender target for Australian operations and mandated that diversity and inclusion be included as a standing agenda item at all leadership meetings.

Michael’s deep and personal commitment continues to transform Alcoa as an inclusive workplace which values women. He firmly believes employers, particularly in the resources sector, have a responsibility to create equality for women to enjoy a long-term and meaningful career which will grow and adapt with them throughout all stages of their lives.

Vote for your favourite individual finalist on the People's Choice voting portal.



Alcoa of Australia – Catalysts for Change

Alcoa's diversity and inclusion strategy recognises cultural change requires deep engagement and identification of grassroots ambassadors to champion change. 

The company’s gender equity and inclusion journey spans more than two decades with cultural change effectively achieved through strong leadership, successful support and resource groups and targeted initiatives.

One of Alcoa’s first actions 25 years ago was establishing the Alcoa Women’s Network (AWN).  The AWN’s mission isto provide inspiration, awareness and connections to advance a culture of inclusiveness and improve gender diversity. Active chapters exist at all Australian locations, and across Alcoa globally.

One of the AWN’s most recent success stories is Catalysts for Change (C4C) program, an employee-driven ‘call to action’ program launched in 2015.  From the highest levels of management to mine, refinery and office employees, hundreds of employee-catalysts have pledged to promote the development of women, build networks, advocate for change and showcase the successes of women in the workplace.

Recent C4C outcomes have included unconscious bias training for hiring managers, appointment of a Gender Sourcing Specialist, revised job prerequisite requirements to reduce the barriers to women and an apprentice recruitment campaign resulting in 30 per cent of apprentices being offered to women.

The positive mindset and behaviours, creativity, passion, innovation and productivity resulting from C4C have seen a noticeable cultural shift toward a more inclusive workplace, along with significant tangible outcomes and development opportunities for women working at Alcoa.


BHP – Inclusion, it’s for everybody

BHP aspires to have a gender-balanced workforce by 2025 believing a diverse and inclusive workplace is vital to maintaining a competitive advantage and one that reflects the communities in which they operate.

BHP acknowledge that inclusion is important to all their employees, not just those in minority groups. Therefore, the focus in 2018 was on creating a culture of care and trustful relationships to remove the barriers to progress.  To understand what was getting in the way of progress BHP asked employees through a series of focus groups and regular employee engagement surveys and from those responses, identified a number of opportunities.  The opportunities discovered included enabling flexibility for all employees, removal of barriers to parental leave and addressing gender inequity in Superannuation.

To enable greater flexibility, BHP started with a principle that any role can be done flexibly and gained senior leader commitment to role model. BHP also created training to help leaders understand the business case for flexibility and provided them with the tools to implement it.  In addition, BHP created in-house crèche facilities, child friendly work spaces, including emergency care options.

To address parental leave concerns we extended the ability of both and male and female employee couples to access primary paid parental leave consecutively which increased the total available leave from 18 to 36 weeks over a two-year period.  BHP also continue retirement savings contributions whilst employees are on unpaid parental leave of up to 2 years.


Woodside Energy Ltd – Employee Gender Equality Communities

Woodside’s approach to driving inclusive conversations about gender in the workplace has shifted significantly in the last two years. Through two employee networks - Gender Equality Matters (GEM) and Spectrum, LGBTI+ and Allies, Woodside are raising awareness of, and address gender and sexuality-based discrimination and inequality.

These two communities encompass 1500 members in Perth and across Woodside’s remote and regional locations, with men comprising 29% of membership compared to 2% in 2017. They exist to educate, challenge unconscious biases and promote inclusion in what is a traditionally male-dominated environment. This has been a steady and strategic evolution from a primarily women’s social group to two action-oriented networks, which support a multi-faceted conversation about gender, sexual orientation, gender expression and inclusive language at Woodside.

GEM and Spectrum drive many initiatives across Woodside, as well as in the wider industry to promote an inclusive culture. GEM actively breaks down barriers for women by supporting flexible work practices, influential role models, promoting STEM careers to young people, and engaging men. Spectrum’s LGBTI+ and Ally network raise awareness of the lived experiences of LGBTI+ employee and training programs.



CME are pleased to have the following sponsors for the 2019 Women in Resources Awards:

Platinum Sponsors - BHP and Chevron

Regional Sponsor - Rio Tinto

Career Development Sponsor - Alcoa of Australia

Gold Sponsors - AngloGold Ashanti, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Northern Minerals and South32

Silver Sponsors - Evolution Mining, INPEX, Shell Australia, St Barbara Ltd, Thiess and Woodside

In addition, Department of Communities, Georgiou Group, Iluka Resources, Katie-Jeyn Romeyn InternationalMineral Resources and Monadelphous will join as Inspiring Girls Sponsors. 

There are still opportunities to become an Inspiring Girls Sponsor as part of the 2019 Women in Resouces Awards. Inspiring Girls will provide an opportunity for students to interact with industry representatives and reinforce key industry messages around women in resources. 

Please see the last page of the sponsorship prospectus for further information or contact

To download the sponsorship application form, click here.


  • Women in Resources Champion (male or female) 
  • Outstanding Company Initiative
  • Outstanding Woman in Resources
  • Outstanding Young Woman in Resources
    (Aged 30 years or younger as at 31 December 2018)
  • Outstanding Operator/Technician/Trade Woman. 

To view the Selection Criteria for each category click here.

Past winners

Women in Resources Champion
2018 - Veena Mendez
2017 - John Galvin
2016 - Michael Schoch
2015 - Linda O'Farrell
2014 - Stuart Forrester
2013 - Julie Shuttleworth
2012 - Joanne Farrell
2011 - Kate Sommerville
2010 - Sabina Shugg

Outstanding Woman in Resources
2018 - Peta Libby
2017 - Vanessa Torres
2016 - Claire Negus
2015 - Bronwyn Barnes
2014 - Kyra Bonney
2013 - Vanessa Guthrie
2012 - Margaret Watroba
2011 - Maryanne Kelly
2010 - Kellie Parker

Outstanding Young Woman in Resources
2018 - Dhakshi Weerawardena
2017 - Rachel Leong
2016 - Megan Kline
2015 - Kalpana Maharage
2014 - Heidi Edwards
2013 - Jenna Robertson
2012 - Katrina Bukauskus

Outstanding Operator / Technician / Trade Woman
2018 - Nicole O'Keefe
2017 - Sharron Freitas
2016 - Yvonne Fahey
2015 - Margeaux Janenko
2014 - Emma Stevenson
2013 - Jodie Gray
2012 - Natasha Cann
2011 - Kym Jones

Outstanding Company Initiative
2018 - Rio Tinto - White Ribbon Accreditation
2017 - Shell Australia - Closing the Gender Pay Gap
2016 - BHP Billiton Nickel West - Job Sharing in Senior Leadership
2015 - Atlas Iron - Women in Atlas
2014 - St Barbara Ltd - Eliminating the Equity Pay Gap
2013 - Chevron - Women in Engineering
2012 - Newmont Boddington Gold - Driving Force
2011 - BHP Billiton - Pilbara Childcare Strategy
2010 - Woodside Energy

People's Choice Award
2018 - Shannon Youd
2017 - Sharron Freitas
2016 - Suzan Drake-Brockman
2015 - Geeta Thakorlal
2014 - Rachel Mottram
2013 - Julie Shuttleworth
2012 - Dannielle Bancroft

Recognition of Lifetime Achievement
Georgina Rinehart
Maureen Muggeridge
Erica Smyth