Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee Co-Chair Theresa Nyabeze talks about advocating for diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the mining industry and beyond.
What initially drew you to STEM?
A curiosity about how things worked. I grew up with very curious siblings who were always experimenting with multiple endeavours growing up, like raising silkworms, beekeeping and so on.
How did your career in mining begin?
By accident! In school, I learned that while I enjoyed math and sciences, I hated biology. I needed a program free from human anatomy, and as a younger-than-usual first-year student, I was hesitant to leave my home of Sudbury, Ontario where I lived since I was 12 – so, the mining program at Laurentian University it was!
Speaking personally, why do you believe diversity and inclusion are important?
I just think it’s the absolute most common-sense lever in everything I do. When I have volunteered in groups or worked in teams, the more people felt understood and included, the more creative they became and the more they seemed to thrive within and outside my engagement with them. From that point of view, I think it’s critical.
As Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committe Co-Chair at CIM, what are some of the challenges you’ve seen or encountered when it comes to D&I in the mining industry?
I think connecting our stories and learning, growing and collaborating continues to be a challenge. I see so many well-intentioned initiatives and driven individuals. We need to break out of tackling challenges in silos.
In your opinion, what is the current state of diversity and inclusion in mining? How does it differ from when you began your career?
The mining industry is on an impressive growth curve, and we are making large strides in embracing D&I. Why I say that is because we are leaders in safety; taking care of the whole ecosystem is something that comes naturally. As we harness this similarity, we are making progress. Look around at mining companies: You will see a major effort to really embrace the learnings from society. There are signs and symbols that progress is underway to diversify workforces, as well as increased training and awareness-raising of key topics.
What efforts can people make to better foster inclusivity?
Investy time in the concept of “unlearning,” and become curious about your teammates and what belonging means to them. This is at a personal, team, and company level.
What do you feel is most important for people to know about diversity and inclusion?
We all need it – regardless of our appearance. Think about your experiences when you were in school until this day; we all thrive when we have a friendship group or people who “get” us. The same sense of belonging you need is what everyone else seeks. There is room for everyone to participate in this movement. Consider this your invitation if you need one!
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Living out my values and being recognized for my radical authenticity.
This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.