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Meet Andrea Cornwell – Celebrating International Women’s Day 2022

Meet Andrea Cornwell, our Head of Marketing and Sales, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Andrea joined Peak four months ago and brings nearly 30 years of international resources marketing experience to the company. She has led “go-to market” strategies for large greenfield projects and has substantial experience in leading and executing international marketing strategies, developing, and managing customer relationships, overseeing shipping and logistics as well as structuring long-term offtake and sales agreements.

Andrea is a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity within the resources sector. Outside of her role at Peak, Andrea is also the co-founder and former Women in Mining and Resources Singapore (WIMAR SG) President. In 2013, Andrea and several peers established WIMAR SG to support the rapidly growing resources sector in Singapore.

Hear from Andrea who discusses her experience and career journey in the resources sector.

What made you establish WIMAR Singapore?

There was demand for it. Four of us started to build WIMAR to support the Singapore Mining sector in 2013 which was growing rapidly. Our primary goal was to ensure plenty of men were in the audience, to hear the story and embrace the call to action. I still can’t believe how quickly it grew.  We focused on what we should deliver and how, and although we wouldn’t have made it without the strong support from the major Miners at the time (Rio Tinto, BHP, Anglo American and Vale were the core 4 entities to fund the initial plans), it was amazing to see how important WIMAR became to smaller mining and mining service entities in Singapore, whose employees benefited from the work WIMAR did when there wasn’t the scale to be doing some of the programs inhouse. And the networking was an amazing way to connect very diverse people.

What attracted you to the mining sector?

I was selected as a ‘Marketing’ graduate with BHP in 1992 at a time of high unemployment. I didn’t know much about mining so it was a steep learning curve, but I enjoyed it from day one, and have never wanted to leave.  It wasn’t always an easy ride, and I quickly got used to being one of very few females in the industry. But I was fortunate – I was treated well, I had fun, and I learned. I learned how important the sector is to the day to day lives of people, and became very attached to having a purpose that made a difference to the world through mining.

Why do you think diversity in business is important? Particularly in mining?

Mining can be a very international experience, certainly it was for me.  I negotiated with customers all around the world, lived abroad for 17 years working with so many different people. You quickly realise how rich diversity of thought is to achieving amazing outcomes. For mining and other international industries, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a diverse workforce that brings diversity of thought to the table that helps your product or service flow around the world. More ideas emanate, more solutions can be found from deep and shared understanding of differences.  There is immense satisfaction in the teamwork of a diverse and inclusive group that delivers unique and positive outcomes. And so for me it became addictive and is a core value, to be in a diverse world both professionally and privately. But always remember the benefits of diversity aren’t felt unless Inclusion is in play, they can’t be isolated.

What advice do you have for other women wanting to pursue their career goals in the mining industry?

Do It! Network into mining. Apply for roles with mining companies in all fields. Find a mentor in the sector. Take a chance on this industry that makes such an amazing difference to the betterment of humanity. Get your fingerprint on the world’s current evolution with the technological revolution, the energy transition, etc. Along the way, as with any industry, you will see things that aren’t right, that need fixing, so put your fingerprint on that too. Advocate, action and make a change for the better. I have had an amazing journey in mining but it’s important to seek out improvement. For the new generations coming into mining with energy and purpose to follow our lead and #breakthebias, they can be the drivers of an amazing shift and reap the rewards of that change. I think next 30 years of mining will be truly incredible because more diversity of thought will go a long way to improving and solving the global issues we are facing today as long as we continue to take action and improve.

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