Nicole Shibasaki is one of the many talented women making a valuable contribution to our team, operations and business. Last night she was named winner at the 2022 Queensland Resources Awards in the Exceptional Indigenous Person in Queensland Resources category.
Growing up, Nicole always wanted to be in the mining industry. She joined the industry at a young age through the Murris in the Mines program, before joining Thiess at its operations at the Burton Project in Queensland.
Nicole’s willingness to learn and her skills, meant she graduated through several different haul trucks, water carts and graders of various models and sizes. And her career progression only continued when she was approached to take on Mining Operations Dispatcher training.
After completing her training, Nicole worked at Lake Vermont as a Dispatch Officer for three years before being asked to run both Peak Downs and Caval Ridge’s operations simultaneously. With both projects new to Thiess, she did this while also establishing both operating systems from the ground up – an impressive feat to say the least.
You can’t be what you can’t see
Today, Nicole leads the A crew team as Dispatch Officer and Supervisor, ensuring safe and efficient operations at Caval Ridge.
Her role, however, goes beyond just being great at her job. For her, it’s about supporting women and Indigenous women in the mining industry, creating opportunities for the next generation by challenging bias and cultivating a safe and respectful culture.
“I’ve always lived by the saying, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’” says Nicole who has broken new ground as the first Indigenous female supervisor at the Caval Ridge Project.
“I’m incredibly proud of the example I am setting, particularly for Indigenous women.
“For many, this is the first time they have been represented by someone from their culture and gender in the leadership space.”
Breaking the bias
Moving through the industry as successfully as Nicole has not come without its challenges – not least working as an Indigenous female in a male dominated industry.
It is through these challenges that she’s had the opportunity to show true leadership, taking a stance to break the bias so many women in our industry face – whether deliberate or unconscious, always using it as an opportunity to have an educational conversation.
A voice and role model for diversity and inclusion, Nicole’s empathy, commitment and courage embodies what it means to be a true leader. By speaking out she’s helping foster an inclusive and diverse culture, paving the path for those who come after her.
Her passion for, and dedication to supporting women and Indigenous peoples is driving real change both at Thiess and in the wider industry.