Melinda Keys, Australia
Full-Time MBA Class of 2023
Professional Roles, Achievements and Activities
- Mining professional with 7 years of experience at two of the world’s biggest miners, BHP & FMG. Worked as a Geologist, Operations Supervisor, and Project Manager
- Recipient of Forte Fellowship
- TedX Speaker on Women in Leadership
- VP of Operations & Supply Chain Club
- Upcoming internship with Boston Consulting Group
- Frequent keynote speaker at mining events
- Advocate for inclusion & diversity in the workplace (particularly in the resources sector)
- Mentor to young women in mining
- Work with educational sector (primary, secondary, and tertiary) to encourage more students into STEM fields
- Mental Health First Aider
- MBA Batch of 2023, top 3% of cohort
- Upcoming exchange at Kellogg Business School, Northwestern University, Chicago
- Bachelor of Science, The University of Melbourne
- Master of Science, The University of Melbourne
What is invisible but essential about YOU? or ESADE? or Barcelona?
What’s essential about me is that I am passionate about Inclusion & Diversity and mental health, particularly in the workplace.
With 2 science degrees (Bachelors and Masters), I am a scientist by training and a mining professional. My interest in geology and the resources industry comes from the very practical application of scientific practice and thought.
What is not widely known is that the mining industry in Australia continues to be male-dominated, with only 18% of the workforce being women. Furthermore, people who work in the mining industry in Australia suffer much worse levels of poor mental health, exhibited through the fact that mining professionals are 80% more likely to die from suicide.
These two core issues have spurred me into action in the workplace, and I am motivated to work each day in the mining industry to make it a better place than where I found it, both as a professional and as a leader.
On a personal level, I have experienced gender-based discrimination, misogynist attitudes, and sexual harassment on the job. When I was hired for my first position, my peers often asked (“jokingly”, I was told) if I was hired as a receptionist. Even with two geology degrees, many people assumed I worked in administration, rather than as a geologist. I have frequently been the only woman in production meetings, and have also experienced the gender pay gap firsthand.
In reaction to these experiences, I have strived to build an inclusive workplace by mentoring young women in mining. Along with campaigning for female specific work uniforms (Personal Protective Equipment) and speaking up about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, I make it a point to promote a ‘safe to speak up’ culture in my teams so that I can develop all team members to achieve their career goals.
Like anyone, my mental health goes up and down, and is particularly at risk if I am stressed, fatigued, or when there are external factors outside of my control (such as work or family situations). As such, I ensure to keep on top of my mental health by seeing a psychologist when I need. I view this as very normal (after all, you go and see a doctor when you have a cold, why wouldn’t you see a psychologist when you’re feeling down?), but unfortunately, I feel this is still incredibly stigmatized. When I became a people leader for the first time, I made sure to get my Mental Health First Aid, so that I could respond appropriately to mental health crisis situations, and also be a better supervisor. I also speak up about my own mental health journey to reduce the stigma.
The promotion of I&D and mental health is a core of who I am. It’s turning into my life’s passion, and I can’t imagine having a career without having a component of this advocacy work. Perhaps it’s not particularly invisible about me, as I am vocal and unapologetic about it, but it’s of vital importance yet still invisible to some, as we don’t talk about it enough.