What led you to join SME? For how long have you been a member?
I first attended the annual conference in 2019 and found it really valuable. I joined then and after a brief lapse in membership, joined again earlier this year.
What initially led you to pursue your profession? Why have you stayed in your profession for the past 12 years?
I wanted a solid career that would keep me feeling challenged and also to follow in my father’s footsteps. I have tried a lot of different areas of law and what I like best about it is that no two days are the same. Every case brings new issues to consider. I fell into my current practice areas (commercial litigation and workplace safety) more or less by accident, but I love the opportunity to learn more about the mining industry and particularly, exploring the various aspects of safety issues. I guess you could say my natural curiosity keeps me going.
How has being an SME member enhanced or shaped your career?
As a lawyer, it is so important for me to have access to professionals with technical expertise when I’m dealing with cases involving the mining industry. Not only to help me understand the issues, but also to see them from different perspectives. Participating in SME has helped me see issues in ways I never would have considered before.
Favorite SME member benefit(s) to take advantage of?
Definitely the networking opportunities. Even with COVID preventing in-person get togethers, I think SME has done a great job of providing opportunities for members to meet each other.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Probably the variety of things I need to know. The basic legal process is roughly the same in most cases, but every case involves a different set of facts and, often, a different type of technical expertise. I’ve been known to tell expert witnesses, “explain it to me like I’m 5.”
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspects of your job?
Helping clients achieve good outcomes. There’s nothing like the feeling of helping a client navigate through what started out looking like an impenetrable maze and getting to an outcome they didn’t think was possible.
Who has been key in shaping your career, and how?
My membership and active participation in SME led to my first full time position in the mining industry, and subsequently led to my current position. Membership continues to benefit me through the professional contacts that I have made and the information I acquire.
In what ways have you seen the mining industry change since you first began your career?
Certainly the changes in the market for coal have been significant for the mining industry. In recent years, ESG has also become a much bigger deal. I think the mining industry is already a leader in technical innovation and has the potential to really lead the way in sustainability and environmental initiatives. I know a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the industry still think of mining as bad for the environment, but that has really changed a lot.
What is one goal that you have for yourself or for the mining industry that you would like to see realized in the next 10 years?
I would really like to see the mining industry continue to encourage diversity. So many companies are doing a great job with their diversity efforts, but it feels like there’s a long way to go. A more diverse industry will benefit everyone in it.