Life at PiP Stories

Life at Partners in Performance is fast-paced, challenging and supportive. But don’t just take our word for it – hear what life is like, directly from our team.

“Don’t settle for something that does not make you happy” – Katherine’s story

At Partners in Performance, we pride ourselves on attracting, retaining and developing the very best talent around the world. With that, we recognise the importance of building a workplace that is welcoming, inclusive and promotes a sustainable lifestyle. We’re focused on four key areas to help our people unleash their potential, both in and out of work:

  • Unleashing flexibility

    Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to balancing work and personal life. Our goal is to ensure each person is given the resources and flexibility to make that balancing act work for them. In some regions this means offering additional short-term unpaid leave, allowing a total of six or eight weeks of annual leave. Whether it’s taking a ‘career break’ to fulfill personal goals such as travelling the world or having the ability to work from home to spend more time with family, we work with each person to put in place the best solution for their lifestyle.

  • Unleashing family

    If expecting a new family member or serving as a primary caregiver, we want to make life as easy as possible. We do this through paid parental leave (up to 16 weeks for Primary Caregiver and 3 weeks for Secondary Caregiver) and offering ways to balance work and family commitments. In some situations, where partners and family members need to be together and there is a requirement to travel on engagement, we work with them on a case-by-case basis to find a solution that works.

  • Unleashing diversity

    Diversity isn’t just a buzzword - it’s vital to our culture, policies and systems. We recognise that diversity is imperative to a great work environment, and it’s part of what makes our people so interesting to work with. Our ethnic, gender, religious, political or sexual orientations may be different, but it’s these differences that allow us to bring new and unique ideas to the table. Whether it’s working with our senior women to support women in the workplace, or reviewing our hiring practices, we are continuously striving to improve our initiatives in this area.

  • Unleashing inclusiveness

    As part of our extensive internal training, we strive to ensure every person is aware of what it means to be inclusive and how unconscious bias can affect those around them. We actively coach our team so they understand the importance of their words and actions being fair and fact-based.

 

Now hear from our team

Kate Murray

 

Meet Katherine Murray, a Senior Associate from our Africa office. Katherine joined us in 2016 and has worked on a range of mining engagements across Africa. She shares some of the challenges for women in mining and how the industry could become a better place for other women.

 


 

What type of work do you do for the mining sector?

I’ve worked on several Continuous Improvement engagements in the mining industry. As a consultant at Partners in Performance, on any given day I could be coaching the client on how to implement our tools, designing improvements and helping the client to implement them, analysing data, running Idea Generation Sessions and problem-solving workshops, designing and creating visualboards for front-time meetings, and basically anything that needs to be done in order to achieve significant, lasting results. Currently I’m working on an engagement at a gold mine in Ghana.

POSTED - 20170712 - Kate Murray showing how massive the tyres of a Komatsu 960E are in AFRICA - Edwina - PIP Juice (2)-1

 

What has been the most meaningful moment in your career so far?

I remember a moment in one of our region’s first Women in Consulting workshops where we were roleplaying how you would help a colleague deal with a difficult issue. As we went through the exercise, we all realised that the problems we face are all very similar (if not the same). It may sound obvious but in a working environment people don’t often let on that they are struggling or experiencing discomfort, so you tend to think that you’re the only one and therefore maybe the problem is actually with you. It was really powerful to learn that we’re not alone in our struggles and challenges – and that we can help each other through them.

Kate Murray, Allen Makamure, Keethan Kander and Helen Hill on route to site via a charter plane in AFRICA

What have been the biggest challenges of your professional life as a woman in mining?

The biggest issue for me is feeling like an outsider. Whether it’s people staring or even doing a double-take when they see me on a mine site, or knowing that standard-issue PPE gear will never fit properly. Being the only female on a mine site can be quite lonely and isolating. Another problem is casual sexism – ranging from people apologising when they swear in front of me, assuming I must be the secretary, comments on my weight or appearance, or being asked presumptuous questions like “do you have a boyfriend” or “how many children do you have”. Noticing these things over time contributes to that feeling of being isolated.

Our leadership team has been great with arranging workshops for the women here to build skills and come up with workable solutions to the issues we face. We’re trying to develop a network of women within the region to support each other, and I know I can message our People and Culture team for advice at any time. A lot of our male colleagues have expressed an interest in learning how they can better support us and be allies when it’s needed. When uncomfortable situations arise, I can stand up for myself and know that my team and my leaders are 100% behind me.

 

What would you like to see change for women in mining (both in the region and more broadly)?

I’d love to see more women in the industry across all roles and levels – and the environment adjusting to suit more women. I feel like the more ‘normal’ women in mining becomes, the easier it will be for women to thrive and be happy in the mining sector.

2019.09 Africa Women in Consulting Meeting - Sept 2019 (2)

What is your advice for the next generation of women considering a career in mining?

Don’t settle for something that does not make you happy. Just because it’s the way things work today doesn’t mean it can’t change tomorrow.

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