When Catharine Shaw began working in the mining industry, the first thing that impressed her was the people. “They are passionate and driven, and the industry is a whole community unto itself,” she explains. “The community is small but the projects are huge, and they have massive impact on everyday life. I had no knowledge of mining before — it’s not taught, not talked about, but it’s all around us. I want to be a part of the industry for the rest of my life.”
The Golder girl
This August will mark eight years for Shaw at Golder Associates, although she only joined the mining group in 2005. “I’m a huge advocate for Golder Associates — I get a little tenacious about it at times,” she laughs. “It’s like going to school — I’m learning all the time.”
Currently continuing her education in business studies, Shaw was previously involved in a number of startup companies, including her first venture several years ago launching a designated drinking and driving service in Vancouver. Soon after, she decided it was time to work in a more corporate setting.
When she learned about Golder Associates, the employee-ownership model was a major factor in her decision to come on board. “All my previous work had been independent,” she recalls. “The employee-owner model was a real attraction.” At Golder, Shaw is responsible for marketing and business planning and implementation, with a key focus on client relationships for mining across Canada; in addition, she works with mining leaders around the globe.
“My main focus is on implementing the strategic initiatives for the year and developing the marketing program that compliments our strategy,” she explains. ”I’m part of Golder’s mining client sector program in Canada. As a member of that team, I provide the mining industry with a name and a face of Golder — it’s like being a conduit for information. I am a networker and a connector — the focus is on getting things done.”
Shaw’s abilities are being recognized. In 2008, she won Golder Associates’ President’s Award for Excellence in Customer Service and New Client and Business Development.
Her aim is to become an associate, and considering it takes peer recognition, a strong profile (both internally and externally), a demonstration of commitment, and of working and living the core values, it sounds like Shaw is already on the right path.
Once introduced to the mining industry, Shaw wasted no time getting involved. She had been active with CIM as a Toronto Branch member and was part of the organizing committee for the CIM Conference and Exhibition in 2009. This year, she was appointed the interim chair of the CIM Mississauga Branch during its startup. She is excited about the endeavour and honoured by the recognition. “I believe in the purpose of the proposed branch — we have a whole pool of resources and people here, and the desire for more technical information,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for collaboration. I’m looking forward to working with the other branches and submitting our proposal to Council to fully launch before the year’s end.”
Shaw is also involved with Women in Mining (WIM) Canada, serving as its secretary and co-chair of the communications committee and, for the fourth time, being part of the WIM team in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. And last October, WIM Canada was incorporated. “It’s been a wonderful adventure,” Shaw says. “It started with a group of women and their vision of a need for a national voice and formulizing purpose. In a short time, we’ve incorporated, commissioned and publicized a gender study entitled Ramp-UP, and held two successful events. Now is the time to rally and get going — we have a lot of men and women interested.”
Shaw’s passion about the mining industry extends to her concerns over attracting the best workforce for tomorrow, especially in the business sectors. She wants to see mining become part of the Grade 3 curriculum, at an age when children start to identify with the world. And, she highlights a need for mining spokespeople to give talks at the university level, in non-traditional fields.
“We need to give presentations on how their skill sets would be well-applied in this industry and get them thinking ‘mining,’” she explains. “We’re a consumer society, all about products — so people don’t see mining. We need to get the good story of mining out there.”