This Women's Month, Thaele shared with us a bit about her work in the mining industry and her favourite current trends, what she sees as the major challenges and opportunities, and advice for women pursuing a career in mining today.
I am passionate about leadership, people and I love travelling. I’m a mother, thus family is everything to me. I am an engineer by profession and have been in various roles in the manufacturing sector. I am innovative, open-minded and agile. I believe in people and, as a result, have served in leadership roles that are focused on driving continuous improvement. I have over 10 years' worth of experience, with a postgraduate qualification and am currently looking into studying a business management degree.
My day starts early, attending meetings in the mines and then we debrief on the operational levers. I also share progress reports or coach around the levers required for optimal efficiency. It's interesting as I also learn a lot from my colleagues at OIM.
As a consultant who coaches front-line supervisors in mines, I enjoy the travelling! I enjoy interacting with different people from all walks of life and changing their lives for the better.
Tech such as artificial intelligence, drones that capture some of the mine's most intricate problems, autonomous vehicles that access areas where it's not feasible for humans to enter, promoting safety and productivity.
Challenges - we need to employ the right people in the right roles.
Opportunities - the livelihood of mining communities is changing for the better. We just need to work hard to upskill those with talent and let them grow further into more senior roles.
The mining culture and the engrained historical mindset remains a barrier, however, I believe we are able to effect change through our Supervisory Development Programme, helping our trainees become more effective and climb the ladder.
Women have a way of bringing order. We shouldn't overlook males as the majority are experienced, thus we can seek advice from them and implement effective changes using our intuition. We have a natural attention to detail.
Be agile and never limit yourself. The culture in the mining sector is changing and more and more opportunities are being offered to females.
We have a voice and are respected as equals by our male counterparts. OIM also assists in upskilling its employees.
Never be afraid to stand out, be intentional about your goals and remember to do everything with integrity and without limiting yourself. You are capable of achieving whatever you put your mind to! Affirm yourself on a daily basis and never let life's challenges throw you off; simply regroup and start all over again.