The secret ingredient to mining leadership? Pioneer Grit.
Forty years ago in a remote Vancouver Island logging town, Dawn Moss became one of very few women pioneering a career in the resource sector.
From receptionist she became a contractor working in logging camps. She drove a log loader for a year in one of Canada’s remote west coast towns. Stocking up on affordable groceries required checking in with RCMP before driving a treacherous logging road where robbery was not uncommon.
“I didn’t think about it. I just did my job,” says Dawn, now Corporate Secretary and EVP of Administration at Eldorado Gold. “I never encountered anyone with a sexist attitude. There is a bond between people working together on the ground. There is a personal respect and a reliance on each other from personal safety to camaraderie and that transcends gender.”
Even though the world, and Dawn’s career, have changed dramatically since the 70’s, those ‘pioneer’ experiences still serve her today. “Because of my own field experience I think about the people working in our mines across the globe every day. Everything we do at our corporate office has the possibility of affecting them. I don’t want to let them or their families down.”
Weighing the impact of business decisions on the safety and well-being of Eldorado Gold miners, their families, and communities is key to Dawn’s successful rise and leadership in the mining industry. It hasn’t all come from sheer grit, however. She’s learned to ask for help and strives to take time to recharge when needed.
“The ‘superwoman’ phenomenon and the notion of having it all – an exciting career, rich social life, happy family as well as maintaining a home – is a myth.” she says. “It’s an unrealistic image that puts too much pressure on women. Chasing it only leads to burn out. Knowing when to prioritize yourself is important.”
Supplementing Dawn’s unique experiences have been strong mentors, starting with her mother.
“My mother always encouraged me to follow my dreams and take chances. She said the worst thing anyone can say to you is ‘no’ and that’s not life threatening.”
Dawn’s other mentors encouraged her to grow and succeed. “I’ve never had a box put around me and have been lucky to work with some very inspiring people.” With that support, Dawn moved from the reception desk to the role of Assistant Corporate Secretary in seven years.
She continues to be challenged and inspired working alongside Eldorado’s President and CEO, Paul Wright.
“Dawn’s incredible dedication to the company, inspiring work ethic and attention to detail has been, and continues to play, a key role in the success of Eldorado.” says Paul.
Dawn’s outlook and advice to those starting their careers is rooted in her pragmatic ‘all hands on deck’ approach. “If something has to be done, just do it. No one is above emptying the dishwasher in the office kitchen. Don’t think only of what a company can do for you, but work to create a symbiotic relationship with your employer.”
Thinking outside the box, finding a solution and taking a chance are also her recommendations.
“Never box yourself in. You have more potential than you think. Experience as much of the world as you can. Get as far out of your comfort zone as you can. You never know where it will take you.”