The male dominance seen in many mining companies in Australia is a trend, but not the rule. Portable Spectral Services have recently been announced as a WA State Finalist in the 2022 Telstra Business Awards in the category for Accelerating Women. The high female staffing rate at Portable Spectral Services, managing director Christabel Brand notes, has resulted from years of fostering a working culture that focuses on skills and career development of all staff regardless of age, career stage or gender.
Whilst many companies strive for diversity, unconscious bias in awarding roles to familiar faces and gender within the industry continues. As Chris expressed, “I believe in employing people based on their abilities, skills and suitability for the job not on their gender or age.” PSS is breaking that trend with highly specialised workers being afforded the same opportunities regardless of gender. Considering this attention to fostering a workplace community, it is unsurprising that PSS retains many female workers who feel secure, safe, and seen in their role.
“I believe in employing people based on their abilities, skills and suitability for the job not on their gender or age.”
Portable Spectral Services has always been predominantly women based. It was founded Christabel Brand in 2011, who was re-entering the workforce after 20 years of raising children. Prior to this time, Chris had studied her passion of infectious diseases obtaining a Bachelor’s from Curtin University and a Master’s at University of Western Australia. Whilst topically different to the focus of the business, the skillset acquired in studying at such a high academic level has continually helped Chris to develop analytical and research skills in PSS for herself and with staff.
The mining industry was and largely continues to be male dominated. Not only was Chris starting a new business that was unique, where her knowledge was in its infancy, she was a female too! This became an unspoken challenging undercurrent as Chris was establishing the business as a woman who was actively entering a predominantly male space.
Majority of the employees over the last ten years have been women from diverse backgrounds of varying ages from in their teens to their fifties. The PSS team have employed school leavers, university students, graduates, young mums re-entering the workforce and more mature ladies too. PSS has always provided the option of flexible part-time work best support the mothers on our team, ensuring they are always able to care for their families.
Of the many examples of women accelerating their careers within the company, Acacia Cherry, our Business Manager has achieved much in her four short years with us. Acacia began her journey with us as admin and reception. Having left school early to look after family, what Acacia lacked in formal qualifications was more than made up by a wealth of hands-on experience in accounting and staff management. Excelling in her role and demonstrating enthusiasm to achieve and grow within the company, Acacia was promoted to office manager at the start of 2020 and has recently been promoted to the role of business manager in late 2021.
In her new role Acacia manages the core of the business and is responsible for keeping the PSS engine running. Always busy, she focuses on day to day running of the business and accounts, current projects, staff, and everything in between. To compliment her existing skillset in this new role and with the support of PSS, Acacia will be commencing a Business Diploma in the new year. With this qualification under her belt and the invaluable experience she will get as a manager, the world will be her oyster and we could not be prouder of her achievements within the company thus far.
In reflecting on her own career, Chris sees many parallels between herself and the amazing staff that make this company what it is today. Chris celebrates her early successes affirming “the opportunities generously afforded to me in my early working life has shaped what I have become today. I am keen to pass this legacy on to our up-and-coming women in the company, providing them the chance to excel regardless of gender, age, qualifications and situation.”
Arriving in Kalgoorlie in her mid-twenties with a diploma in medical sciences and no jobs available in her field, Chris secured a position as an assay assistant at the gold refinery. Within two years in the role, Chris became manager of the assay department, and as she recalls, “I was trusted to do this position based on my skills not qualifications.” The gold refinery fostered Chris’s abilities and helped her to undertake management courses, an introduction to computing certificate at the local TAFE and to receive mentoring by the other manager.
“The opportunities generously afforded to me in my early working life has shaped what I have become today. I am keen to pass this legacy on to our up-and-coming women in the company, providing them the chance to excel regardless of gender, age, qualifications and situation.”
Portable Spectral Services are very proud to be listed as a 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards finalist for accelerating women. From 24, 310 nominations across all categories, PSS are among 239 finalists nationally and are one of three finalists for the state of Western Australia in this category. State winners will be announced in February 2022 and National winners in April 2022.
Read more: https://telstrabestofbusinessawards.com/
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