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 outstanding achievements of women and efforts made by men and companies to improve the participation of women in the Western Australian resources sector, were celebrated at CME’s annual WIRA breakfast, attended by more than 1000 guests on 3 March 2017.

THE 2017 AWARD WINNERS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED. Read about our 2017 winners and finalists below and relive the breakfast by watching the webstream.

CME congratulates all finalists and winners of the 2017 Women in Resources Awards.


CME thanks the following companies for their sponsorship of the 2017 Women in Resources Awards.

Platinum Sponsors - BHP Billiton and Chevron
Regional Sponsor - Rio Tinto
Mentoring Sponsor - Alcoa of Australia
Gold Sponsors - AngloGold Ashanti, BGC Contracting, Gold Fields Australia, Department of Local Government and Communities, Hitachi, Northern Minerals, Shell Australia and TransAlta Energy.

Inspiring Girls Sponsors - ATCO Australia, Atlas Iron Limited, Brookfield Rail, Cameco Australia, Cliffs Natural Resources, Georgiou, Iluka Resources, Inpex, Mineral Resources, NERA, St Barbara Ltd, Thiess and Mr Tim Hammond MP.

If you are interested in finding out about sponsorship opportunities for the 2018 Women in Resources Awards, please email .


  • 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 2016)
  • Outstanding Operator/Technician/Trade Woman. 

2017 Winners and Finalists


Finalists Video


Vanessa Torres

Vice President Operations Infrastructure

BHP Billiton Iron Ore

With over 25 years working in the resources sector, Vanessa has held a range of engineering, project and business development roles.  As a result of being the only female project manager early in her career, Vanessa became determined to make practical improvements in female representation in the sector.  At each stage of her rapid career progression, Vanessa worked to ensure her teams were balanced in gender and diverse in background.  Vanessa continues to support and inspire others to achieve their full potential through her mentoring activities, speaking engagements and work with a children’s charity in her native country of Brazil.



Kelly Carter

Vice President Legal and Compliance

Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd

Kelly is an experienced legal professional and business leader in the resources sector.  She is the first female Gold Fields Vice President in Australia as well as the youngest, and only female member of Gold Fields’ regional executive.   Kelly has successfully managed a diverse and demanding career with the competing demands of a young family and has been a working example of an innovative maternity leave/return to work model she implemented.   Whilst continuing to work flexibly, Kelly provides support to other women undertaking the maternity leave/return to work process.  She is currently exploring how flexibility can be extended to operational roles.


Jayne Finch

Underground Project and Planning Engineer

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine (KCGM)

Jayne is a mining and environmental engineer and geologist with over 15 years’ mining experience.  She has demonstrated determination and resilience in overcoming career barriers and has found innovative solutions to mitigate challenges faced by her impaired hearing.  Utilising technology and company support, Jayne has transformed potential problems into solutions - not only for herself but for other hearing impaired people in the resources sector.  As founding committee member and current Vice-Chair of the Kalgoorlie branch of the Western Australian School of Mines Alumni, together with her mentoring and speaking engagements, Jayne continues to share her journey of resilience and perseverance to inspire others to achieve their goals.


Meryl Jones

Principal Resource Analyst

St Barbara Limited

Meryl has over 30 years’ experience of working in the WA resources sector.  Her successful career includes roles specialising in mining and exploration, land management and resource analysis.  Meryl models the benefits of flexibility and demonstrates women can have successful careers, balance family responsibilities and give back to industry.  This flexibility has enabled Meryl to make a broad impact on the WA resources sector as founder and chair of Get into Resources, board member of Earth Science Western Australia and mentor with Women in Mining and Resources WA.   Meryl has also combined her career with further education in applied finance and investment. 



Finalists Video


Rachel Leong

Surveillance Engineer

Woodside Energy


Rachel is an engineer achieving outstanding outcomes within her own career and in the broader oil and gas industry. She has played a lead role in planning and delivering subsea tieback projects to the Goodwyn Alpha Platform. In addition to her role as Surveillance Engineer for the North Rankin Complex, Australia’s largest offshore gas complex, Rachel has attended the GE Oil & Gas University in Florence, Italy, and is leading the Women of Woodside ‘Promoting STEM in Schools’ volunteering initiative. Through collaboration with Earth Science WA, Rachel has trained over 60 volunteers to deliver school-based presentations to inspire students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and career opportunities.


Luana Barron

Data Science Manager

Woodside Energy

Luana has progressed through a range of challenging roles to rapidly gain technical and operational knowledge and experience.  In addition, Luana has successfully engaged with the investor community and provided significant input into Woodside’s annual board strategy review.  Her leadership has been demonstrated through collaboration with a number of external industry and government organisations to facilitate ‘FutureLab’ hackathons.  Luana has represented Woodside and the broader industry by speaking at universities in WA and the eastern states and mentors a number of interns and graduates.


Jodi Moffitt

Superintendent Control

Roy Hill

Jodi has experienced rapid progression from operator to superintendent during her career in the resources sector.  After entering the industry with no formal qualifications, Jodi’s self-motivation and determination saw her qualify as an Engineer by studying her Masters of Mining Engineering whilst on maternity leave with her second child.  She has overcome childcare challenges through innovative solutions whist working in a FIFO role, alongside her FIFO working husband.  Jodi mentors female engineering students, inspiring them to build resilience and perseverance to achieve their career aspirations.



Finalists Video


Sharron Freitas

Operations Centre Group Leader

Alcoa of Australia

Sharron commenced as a trainee only five years ago at Pinjarra alumina refinery, then obtained her Process Plant Operator qualification four months ahead of schedule. She is driven to succeed and within six months of becoming a full-time operator, was appointed as Pinjarra refinery’s first female Control Attendant at the mills. Highly motivated and with the aim of developing her leadership skills, Sharron has pursued a range of secondment opportunities with the most recent as an Operations Centre Group Leader managing 21 people across five work crews. She is a talented sports woman, representing WA in touch football. Sharron’s voluntary work with a range of sporting clubs has provided opportunities to foster a strong appreciation for diversity and developed her communication and organisational skills.



Karen Montford

Marine Communications Operator

Chevron Australia

Karen entered the oil and gas industry five years ago as a receptionist.  In the last five years Karen has pursued study and training opportunities as a mature worker, subsequently experiencing an accelerated career pathway.   Karen’s interest in becoming a radio operator began with volunteer work at Fremantle Sea Rescue.  To help her achieve her goals, she identified mentors and used her FIFO arrangements to complete her first course in Tasmania.  Karen is one of only two female Marine Communications Operators at Chevron.  She actively encourages others to pursue their dreams and assists women to study toward management, science, radio operator and crew roles.


Kestin Rek

Project Field Coordinator

Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Kestin began her career with the resources sector in a project administrator role.  Since then, she has gained technical and operational knowledge through study and while working alongside the earthworks team. Kestin is well respected across the mine site and has broken new ground for women by challenging traditional roles.  She has demonstrated women can lead earthworks operators without coming from an operator background.  Since Kestin took up the Earthworks Project coordinator role, several women have followed her into the team.  She is a valued member of the Rio Tinto Peer Support Program, supporting and mentoring other women.



Finalists Video


John Galvin

Executive General Manager

Georgiou Group

John has been an active champion for Gender Diversity for over five years and promotes gender diversity initiatives both within and outside of the organisation.  He believes a diverse workforce brings different ways of looking at things and provides more career and personal opportunities for both males and females.  John is a sought after speaker, to impart his knowledge and experience.  He mentors aspiring female leaders and is a member of the University of Western Australia’s Equality and Diversity Committee.  John is influential in supporting gender diversity initiatives inside Georgiou.  He is the co-founder of Georgiou’s cross-industry female mentoring program and executive sponsor for Georgiou’s diversity committee.  He has been instrumental in developing flexible work policies and facilitating the equal mix of men and women in Georgiou’s graduate and cadet programs. 


Edgar Basto

Asset President Western Australia Iron Ore

BHP Billiton Iron Ore

Edgar is a founding member of, and the Iron Ore representative on, BHP Billiton’s Global Inclusion and Diversity Council.   He believes an inclusive and diverse workforce leads to greater productivity and improved business performance. Edgar has been instrumental in the drive to set an aspirational goal of achieving gender balance by 2025 and achieving the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation.  Having presented at a number of events and encouraging men and women in his own senior leadership team to take up flexible work arrangements, Edgar has provided visible leadership and reinforced his commitment.  Edgar wants to see a workforce that truly represents the makeup of our society.


Andrew Bywater

General Manager Darlot Gold Mine

Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd

Andrew is a passionate and visible advocate for increased gender diversity in the resources sector, and its importance in driving cultural change and operational performance.   He believes a combination of good workplace culture, respect and supporting gender diversity creates the right environment to attract and retain women and encourages positive and safe employee behaviours and values.  Andrew has spoken in external and internal forums about the critical role of women in Darlot’s senior leadership team.  He regularly shares his personal journey and provides insights, to Gold Fields’ Leadership Development Program.  Andrew encourages his team to engage with suppliers, contractors and associates regarding their gender diversity position, resulting in powerful conversations around biases.  Andrew is mentor to a number of females within Gold Fields and is the first member of the Regional Executive to establish external executive coaching sessions for senior women.



Finalists Video


Closing the Gender Pay Gap

Shell Australia

Over four years, Shell Australia has eliminated the gender pay gap as part of its holistic approach to diversity and inclusion.  Shell followed a process to close the gap.  This process included visible commitment by leadership at the highest level, gaining a thorough understanding of the problem through conducting and analysing an annual gender pay gap review, establishing measurable targets, implementing an education program across the organisation and identifying bias.  Pay equity helps to create a workplace where everyone feels respected and treated fairly, which will result in a more trusting, productive and harmonious workplace culture.


Girls in Engineering

Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Girls in Engineering (GiE) is a joint initiative between Rio Tinto Iron Ore and the University of Western Australia which engages secondary school girls in science and engineering, to inspire a career path in engineering.  The program consists of in-school visits and on-campus events allowing students to participate in hands-on activities to raise awareness of what engineering is and to reinforce their own capabilities.  Female Rio Tinto employees are an important part of the GiE program providing the girls with successful role models of female engineers who are thriving in the WA resources sector.  Instead of focusing on why women don’t choose engineering, the GiE program focuses of why women chose engineering and how engineers can make a positive change to our world.


Gender Diversity in Drilling

South32 Worsley Alumina

Worsley Alumina has modified work practises and tools in the drilling activities at Boddington Bauxite Mine to reduce the physically demanding nature of being a drilling operator, to allow for greater female participation.  The modified work practises have quickly attracted interest from men and women keen to learn new skills and take advantage of the new family friendly work rosters.  One of the key measures of success of the modifications is female participation.  In an area historically male dominated, out of the three onsite drilling crews, there is now one all-female drilling crew. Additional outcomes from this initiative include an increased learning rate and an increase in the metres drilled by the female drilling crew.  These production improvements were inspirational to the male drilling crews and sparked healthy competition, further increasing productivity.  The Gender Diversity in Drilling initiative has challenged the perception that drilling activities are for ‘men only’ and is a significant model for future changes.


Past winners

Women in Resources Champion
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
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
2016 - Megan Kline
2015 - Kalpana Maharage
2014 - Heidi Edwards
2013 - Jenna Robertson
2012 - Katrina Bukauskus

Outstanding Operator / Technician / Trade Woman
2016 - Yvonne Fahey
2015 - Margeaux Janenko
2014 - Emma Stevenson
2013 - Jodie Gray
2012 - Natasha Cann
2011 - Kym Jones

Outstanding Company Initiative
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
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