Growing awareness over climate change in Australia and the federal government’s plan to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 has brought the issue of sustainability to the forefront of the country’s key industrial sectors, particularly mining.
In this week’s Dassault Systèmes Women in Mining series, we speak to Delphine Gondoin, GEOVIA Sustainability Strategy and Alliance Engineer, on how the fight against climate change inspires her to strive for excellence in her job. She also shares some tips on overcoming unconscious bias in the workplace.
1. Tell us more about your career at Dassault Systèmes?
I work in Dassault Systèmes’ Sustainability Strategy and Alliance Team as an engineer for two industries – Energy & Materials and Cities, Construction & Territories.
I started at Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA team six and a half years ago, first in quality assurance, then in development and automation. Later, I was offered a position as a application manager and subsequently became a customer project manager and roles portfolio manager.
It’s been great to have been offered so many diverse opportunities at Dassault Systèmes. What I like the most about my job is the opportunity to gather a lot of information from different sources to come up with data-driven observations that will help the team rebuild the “jigsaw puzzle” of sustainability in their solutions and offerings.
What’s also extremely enriching is collaborating with people all around the world who have varied backgrounds and varied experiences, who can give different perspectives on every topic. Psychologically, I feel gratified for the opportunity to fight against climate change through developing smart solutions aimed at reducing carbon emissions in Australia’s key industrial sectors, especially mining.
2. What led you to mining as a career?
I developed an interest in naturalist sciences at an early age, especially geology and geosciences. I was always very curious about what secrets that rocks held when I was a kid.
And so when I went to university, I chose to study geoscience engineering. I really enjoyed the mineralogy aspect of my course, and took two specialties in mining processes and planetology.
3. What have been some of the key challenges that you have experienced in the mining sector?
I guess one of the biggest challenges in working in a male-dominated industry is that the value of diversity is not always present. There is often an unconscious bias against women.
For example, I was once told that I didn’t look like a geologist. And I thought, “How is a geologist supposed to look like? With a beard, maybe.” So sometimes it’s a bit difficult when you work with people that have either an unconscious bias or hold very obvious stereotypes, because they don’t understand that you can do the job and that you are not here for ‘decorative’ purposes.
Most of the people I have worked with are great. But sometimes you encounter a few people that don’t understand how much diversity enriches an environment.
4. How do you overcome ‘gender stereotypes’ in the mining sector?
I think what’s important is to always act professionally and with integrity. And if you need to ask for help, take time to explain your problems clearly.
Most people working in the industry working are smart enough to admit the errors of their perceptions or the inaccuracy of their stereotypes. It can actually make for a funny story afterwards over coffee.
5. What inspires you to work in mining and what’s your advice to women looking to start out in the industry?
It’s the opportunity to being a trailblazer and working with like-minded people from all around the world to address the topic of sustainability in the industry, and working with very varied profiles of people sharing diverse perspectives.
Not only in mining, but for any new job that can be intense with lots of new challenges, one of the most important things to note is to build your network, to find yourself a mentor or several mentors, because you always work better as a team when managing projects. Your professional life will always more pleasant if you find collaborators that you enjoy working with.
And if you find yourself in a difficult situation, remember that there is the “Fair Work Commission” in Australia to help you sort out your problems.