In the winter of 1980, I showed up at the Sullivan Mine to start my Engineer-in-Training job for Cominco. I was a cocky, long-haired guy who was most interested
in what the Kimberley Ski Resort had to offer. Chulwoo Shin, my initial engineering
supervisor, went well beyond the call of duty to mentor me over my time at the
mine. He taught me a lot of mining life lessons, which served me well for the rest
of my career. Many industry leaders were fortunate to have worked at the Sullivan
and had support from Chul.
Later in my career, I was lucky to have a number of mentors who provided me
with support and advice, including John Willson at Cominco and then at Placer
Dome, and Sandy Laird, also at Placer Dome. Some big picture advice for navigating
my career in some large companies was really helpful. When I questioned the
option of getting an MBA, I remember being counselled that I could not get any better
experience and learning than within Placer Dome, working on developing mines
and on M&A evaluations.
Over the years, I have tried to pay it back. I have mentored quite a number of
people, mainly informally, but also within a formal program at Inco. One process
that got a good response, and was always a two-way learning event over the years,
was to have beer and pizza mentoring sessions with young industry professionals.
My shortfall in mentoring, I recently realized, is that I tended to gravitate to mentoring
males. Often these guys had a similar background. Sometimes we shared
common sporting interests so discussions would take place around a squash outing
or golf game. The ideas and discussions I have been a part of at diversity events over
the last year have prompted me to change and to reach out more to women and visible
minorities to play what part I can in fostering a more inclusive industry.
I urge you all as fellow CIM Members to take on several mentoring opportunities
in 2017 and beyond, if you are not already active helping young mining professionals.
You will find it most rewarding and it will strengthen your business. Try to mentor
someone who is quite different from yourself; you might help the most and learn