There are so many creative and interesting ways workplaces are creating opportunities for people by celebrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
BHP is doing just that. By championing a variety of DEI initiatives, the company is promoting inclusiveness, respect, and belonging for people at work.
We spoke with longstanding BHP team member and Indigenous ambassador, Britt Madaferi, who’s been with the company for more than 12 years.
In her current role as Superintendent Social Value, Inclusion, and Diversity, Britt is responsible for designing and leading BHP’s social value strategy in Port Hedland, Western Australia. She’s passionate about making an impact by enhancing equal opportunities in the business.
“I feel really fortunate,” said Britt. “My role enables me to be part of something I’m passionate about while giving me the experience to take on new roles and create greater opportunities for people in BHP.”
She shares three ways BHP celebrates diversity and inclusion.
#1 – Employee-led diversity groups
Traditionally, mining has had a reputation for being a male-dominated industry and Britt understands how this can mean some women feel uncertain about taking up a mining role. When she first joined, she felt unsure about how she’d fit and grow with the company over the long term. But her mindset changed after she joined her local Inclusion and Diversity Committee.
“The initiatives we have through our local I&D committee celebrate the diversity in our workplace by bringing people together. We provide people with opportunities to learn a little more about each other through events and communication. We celebrate International Woman’s Day, International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia, NAIDOC, and International Men’s Day, to name a few!”
Being part of this committee has helped Britt in other aspects of her role too, including what she considers her biggest challenge: breaking down bias.
“I believe everyone should be given the same opportunities. Breaking down conscious or unconscious bias is a big part of this, and it’s always challenging. I’ve learned to create greater stakeholder alignment by establishing a shared vision. This helps everyone understand what we’re trying to achieve, and how we can work together to achieve it.”
BHP has several Employee Resource Groups that are building belonging and breaking bias like Jasper (LGBTQI+) and GEN (Gender Equity Network).
Find out how else BHP is building an inclusive and supportive culture.
#2 – Diversity and Inclusion events and awards
One of Britt’s favorite parts of her role is planning and organizing BHP’s yearly NAIDOC events.
“I’m proud to highlight and celebrate Indigenous culture. Our Port & Rail NAIDOC Awards celebrate the achievements of our Indigenous employees in this group. I’ve been chairing these awards for the past five years.”
With the support of a great team, Britt has been able to successfully grow and elevate this awards night to include all of BHP Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO).
“I’m proud of this because we’re able to educate, share, and highlight Indigenous culture while celebrating the achievements of our Indigenous employees. I love seeing how excited and proud people (and their families) are to be recognized at these awards.”
It’s no wonder why her best days at work are usually after Inclusion and Diversity events! Particularly when team members share feedback about how much these events make a difference to them.
“This makes me feel like my role has an impact. By building these frameworks, it helps us remove barriers and make impactful change in the business and community.”
#3 – Support and career progression
If you’re like most people, you’re not the same person today as you were at the beginning of your career journey. Many of us will take up new, unexpected career opportunities and experience role shifts.
Britt has explored a number of different roles throughout her tenure at BHP. And her current role is nothing like she imagined it would be in high school. Her early career goal was, interestingly, to be a celebrity journalist.
“While I’m not interviewing celebrities, I love that I get to listen and talk with people about events and what they mean to them.”
Britt first joined BHP as an administration officer. Throughout her career journey at BHP, she’s taken on other roles, including as a Work Management Specialist and Superintendent Maintenance Planning, growing into her current role today.
“Initially, all my training was on the job. I learned our internal systems well enough to become a subject-matter expert. I also received training in work management practices and processes. Over the past 16 months, I’ve been studying for my Master of Business Administration, which I’ll complete in December. The business has been very supportive of my studies.
“It’s also worth sharing that I’ve been very fortunate to have great leaders. They’ve supported and championed my development and pushed me outside my comfort zone.”
So, if you’re considering a career in mining, take it from Britt: being part of a company championing DEI through initiatives can support you to grow in the right direction.
“Let yourself be open to change. And be the change you want to see – don’t wait for it!”