Around 60 people enjoyed a sundowner at the Esplanade Hotel in Port Hedland, sponsored by Fortescue Metals Group [FMG] and organized by the WIMWA Pilbara networking group. The night started with Gerhard Veldsman, FMG’s Port General Manager, introducing the guest speaker – Loretta Hill. Gerhard spoke about the importance of such events to women in the mining industry and for Fortescue Metals who value diversity and encourage women’s participation in their workforce. He added that he has certainly seen a positive change in how men spoke and communicated ideas now that women are involved within the organization.
Loretta Hill graduated as a civil engineer many years ago and had spent some time working for a company at Cape Lambert. She spoke about difficult and challenging times when she first started working in the mining industry and also how she came about writing her two famous books, The Girl in Steel Capped Boots and The Girl in Hard Hat. She also shared with us how her father had inspired her in her life and how her family’s support was pivotal in allowing her, during her pregnancy, to write a book. Her speech was inspiring and quite a few of us nodded our heads when she spoke about things that we can relate to.
After Loretta’s speech, Delany from the Bloodwood Tree Association gave a short report on what her organization does and highlighted an upcoming event the Nindji Nindji Family Cultural Festival, which FMG is co-sponsoring. To be held on September the First, this event is an Indigenous festival to bring families and cultures together, building bridges and growing a safe and vibrant community for Pilbara locals.
This networking event was a great success, and the feedback reflected that it was a great initiative and a great evening of networking. An event like this gave residents of Port Hedland an opportunity to get out there and enjoy themselves in a very positive environment. Beside FMG staff, this event was also attended by employees from Rio Tinto, Atlas Iron, Collins Karratha and Worley Parsons. While some attendees were residents from Port Hedland, many others drove from Paraburdoo and Karratha.