Hastings Deering executive Karen Alexander has won this year’s Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources Award.
The successful Everest climber, former Telstra Business Woman of the Year finalist, and 30-year resources sector veteran received the gong at the annual QRC/WIMARQ International Women’s Day Breakfast and Resources Awards for Women presentation in Brisbane today.
Ms Alexander was one of just two females among 800 male engineering students while studying for her mechanical engineering degree, and one of the first two females to ever complete this degree at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
As manager of strategic alliances she is now Hastings Deering’s first senior executive sales business leader.
Among her other firsts are being the first female fuels and lubricants product application engineer to be permitted access to underground mine services at Mount Isa Mines, and the first female fuels and lubricants product application engineer at Shell before leading Shell’s global technical business.
Originally from New Zealand, Ms Alexander and her 83-year-old father, who just missed out on climbing with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, reached the summit of Mount Everest in 2014 to complete his ‘unfinished business’.
“Since my graduation I have actively promoted women in engineering and non-traditional occupations,” Ms Alexander said.
“I have done this through school visits, presentations, career workshops, television, newspaper, QUT advertising and QUT women in engineering and resources programs.
“My biggest reward is seeing women move freely and naturally into resources careers as if the pathway was natural and expected – not something unusual or to be noted.
“I am working to implement some further mentoring programs with Hastings Deering that I envisioned after attending the Caterpillar Women’s Leadership Forum.”
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane congratulated all the winners in this year’s awards.
“These awards celebrate and showcase the depth of female talent in Queensland’s resources sector, and provides industry with ambassadors and mentors, particularly for their female colleagues and women and students thinking about entering the resources sector,” he said.
“Diverse workforces, just like safe workforces, are more productive, innovative and profitable.
“Particularly in hard times, our sector needs to ramp up productivity and innovation, and it’s well documented that these go hand-in-hand with employing people from different backgrounds, cultures and genders.
“The attendance at eight separate functions around the state to witness the presentation of these awards is a clear demonstration of our sector’s continued commitment to its goal of at least 20 per cent women in non-traditional roles by 2020.”
Full list of 2017 winners;
EXCEPTIONAL WOMAN IN QUEENSLAND RESOURCES
Winner: Karen Alexander Hasting Deerings, Brisbane
GENDER DIVERSITY CHAMPION IN QUEENSLAND RESOURCES
Winner: Vince Lavery Rio Tinto, Weipa
EXCEPTIONAL YOUNG WOMAN IN QUEENSLAND RESOURCES
Winner: Nikki (Nikhat) Nagin BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Moranbah
EXCELLENCE IN DIVERSITY PROGRAMS AND PERFORMANCE
Winner: BHP Billiton
Winner: Carolyn Dobson BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Moranbah
OUTSTANDING QMEA STUDENT AWARD
Winner: Abi Meehan Chanel College, Gladstone.