President's notes

Pay it back

By Michael Winship

Michael WinshipIn the winter of 1980, I showed up at the Sullivan Mine to start my Engineer-in-Training job for Cominco. I was a cocky, long-haired guy who was most interested in what the Kimberley Ski Resort had to offer. Chulwoo Shin, my initial engineering supervisor, went well beyond the call of duty to mentor me over my time at the mine. He taught me a lot of mining life lessons, which served me well for the rest of my career. Many industry leaders were fortunate to have worked at the Sullivan and had support from Chul.

Later in my career, I was lucky to have a number of mentors who provided me with support and advice, including John Willson at Cominco and then at Placer Dome, and Sandy Laird, also at Placer Dome. Some big picture advice for navigating my career in some large companies was really helpful. When I questioned the option of getting an MBA, I remember being counselled that I could not get any better experience and learning than within Placer Dome, working on developing mines and on M&A evaluations.

Over the years, I have tried to pay it back. I have mentored quite a number of people, mainly informally, but also within a formal program at Inco. One process that got a good response, and was always a two-way learning event over the years, was to have beer and pizza mentoring sessions with young industry professionals. My shortfall in mentoring, I recently realized, is that I tended to gravitate to mentoring males. Often these guys had a similar background. Sometimes we shared common sporting interests so discussions would take place around a squash outing or golf game. The ideas and discussions I have been a part of at diversity events over the last year have prompted me to change and to reach out more to women and visible minorities to play what part I can in fostering a more inclusive industry.

I urge you all as fellow CIM Members to take on several mentoring opportunities in 2017 and beyond, if you are not already active helping young mining professionals. You will find it most rewarding and it will strengthen your business. Try to mentor someone who is quite different from yourself; you might help the most and learn the most!

Michael Winship
CIM President

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