At Dassault Systèmes, we believe diversity promotes creativity and strategic resilience, both of which are imperatives to successfully meet the broadening challenges of industrial transformation today and in the future.
In this week’s Dassault Systèmes Women in Mining series, we speak to Mining Technical Customer Support Specialist, Isaree Benjabawornnun, who shares her experience in overcoming challenges to succeed in the mining industry, despite coming from a non-mining professional background.
What is your current role at Dassault Systèmes?
I’m doing technical support for GEOVIA mining software, helping customers to troubleshoot and solve software issues. I also specialize in GEOVIA licensing queries and solving any problems that customers may face in their licensing.
How did you get into mining as a career?
When I applied for my current role, I was essentially Iooking for a software development job. It actually so happens that I became specialized in GEOVIA mining technology through my responsibilities at Dassault Systèmes.
Initially, when I first started out, I felt that I had a completely different mindset from the people around me, who were mostly geologists and mining engineers, whereas I came from an IT background. It was overwhelming at first, but when I made the effort to get to know my colleagues better, I gradually eased into the role and became much more familiar with mining terminology and the field of geosciences.
I am grateful to have learned so much from my colleagues at GEOVIA, many of whom have been in the mining profession for many years and who have had hands-on experience in the field. Their perspectives have helped me a lot in deepening my technical competencies in my current role and knowledge of the industry.
What have you learned from your experience in a male-dominated industry like mining?
I’m within the minority 5% to 10% of the local GEOVIA technical support team in Australia who is female. But within the global technical support team at Dassault Systèmes, there is a fairly high proportion of women, though they work in different time zones. So I don’t always feel that the workplace is overwhelmingly “male-dominated”.
Initially when I started out, I found myself having a different mindset from the rest of the team and felt intimidated, as I didn’t come from a professional mining background. But by making a conscious effort to spend more time with the team, getting to know how they communicate and adapting to their working styles, I eventually became more integrated into the team and the differences faded away.
How did you overcome your challenges in the mining profession?
As there was a gap in my knowledge of mining, I spent quite a bit of time catching up on my knowledge through reading the latest white papers, eBooks and presentations developed by the team, and talking to my colleagues to clarify all those technical mining terminologies out there.
What I find useful is that if you don’t understand a specific topic or term that your colleagues are talking about, don’t be afraid to ask, even if it’s the most basic type of question. You might feel a bit “left out” from time to time, but by having the patience to learn and establishing rapport with the team, you will eventually close the knowledge gap.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
What attracted me to this line of work is the opportunity to help people solve problems. Explaining technicalities of the GEOVIA software to clients, identifying their pain points and coming up with the best solutions to help their business, is always very rewarding to me, especially when I receive compliments and thanks from them.
That feeling of appreciation of what I have done to help my clients solve their problems makes me feel good and that is what keeps me going in my current role.
What is your advice to young women starting out in a mining career?
You need to be open-minded to understand the industry from the perspective of mining specialists. I came from a different industry, but I was open-minded in understanding their mindsets and learned a lot from their experience and knowledge.
Mining is industry that is constantly changing, so it really challenges you to keep stepping out of your comfort zone when there is an opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills.