What did you study and how did you end up working in Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry?
I was an electrical engineering undergraduate student at Queen’s University. After my undergrad, I followed opportunities north, to work in engineering consulting with Golder Associates and Hatch, which in Sudbury, meant mining and mineral processing capital projects. I really enjoyed the tangible, essential and global nature of the industry, the site work, the opportunity for wealth creation for local communities, and global travel to learn and appreciate diverse cultures. To leverage my existing experience in mining, I did my MBA specialization in Mining, Finance and Strategy from Schulich School of Business.
How would you describe your job to someone who is unfamiliar with the title and the sector?
My over 15 years of experience in the mining, energy and infrastructure industries, span capital projects engineering, debt capital markets, private equity and corporate strategy. During my engineering career, I undertook all levels of design of power distribution to mining, mineral processing and paste backfill operations around the world, the development of mining innovation R&D projects and the on-site scheduling of a large greenfield underground mine development. Over my capital markets career, I structured over $4B of financing solutions while with CIBC’s mining corporate credit group and Resource Capital Funds. I sourced, evaluated, negotiated, executed, and managed investments, gaining expertise in a wide range of commodities such as diamonds, bauxite, gold, copper, nickel, molybdenum, lithium, cobalt, graphite, PGM, zinc and mining services.
I started Keystone Resource Solutions Corp., a private corporate advisory and business consulting practice, to provide boutique strategy, finance and economics services to all facets of the natural resources industry. We focus on developing and executing on winning strategies which maximize lasting value for all stakeholders, working collaboratively with our large network of corporate issuers, institutional asset managers, capital markets players, professional services firms and industry associations.
I worked with a mid-tier mining company’s corporate development team on a contested proxy, in collaboration with investor relations, finance, exploration and legal teams. We successfully achieved settlement with the activist investor and defended the company’s strategic priorities.
As a junior exploration company’s founding VP of Corporate Development and Investor Relations, I guided the company to go public and to achieve 14x share price accretion during my tenure.
Have there been women who assisted you in your career, perhaps even in a mentorship role?
There have been female role models whom I have looked up to, such as Pat Dillon, Deb McCombe and Jane Spooner. I also count a strong network of female professional colleagues as friends and coaches, and lean on them frequently for advice, comradery and support.
Can you share your best advice for finding a mentor in the industry?
Work hard and demonstrate your diligence, acumen, initiative, and work ethics, and at the same time don’t be shy about asking questions and asking for advice. Potential mentors like to guide thoughtful early career professionals who are also invested in their own success.
Why do you personally care about embedding diversity and inclusion in this industry?
I firmly believe in equal opportunity for all in all aspects of life, not only for women but also other historically under-represented groups – it is a fundamental human right. In addition to building and sustaining better stakeholder value by leveraging perspectives from a diverse talent pool, the simple question is “why not?” – Why should the mining industry not embed equity, diversity and inclusion?
PDAC held its annual convention entirely virtual in 2021 for the first time in its 89-year history. How was your experience with the virtual convention? What elements do you hope to see again at PDAC 2022?
I would like to see more diverse voices presenting at PDAC 2022. To do that, we may need to look beyond people we have heard present before and expand outside of the “chief” executive ranks.