Taryn Petersen - Executive Director, IFMS (Rio Tinto)

Published on : 6/20/23
  • Taryn says, 'When we work towards equity, we create a more just and compassionate world where individuals are empowered to reach their full potential'.

    Through various diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs, Sodexo is committed to creating a work environment where every employee feels valued, supported, and empowered to succeed. In particular, gender balance and mentorship have proven to be invaluable tools for career growth and development.

    On the occasion of Women in Mining Day, we had the pleasure of speaking with Taryn Petersen to discuss the importance of embracing equity in the industry. Taryn shared some valuable insights and answered questions about allyship and the growth of women in mining for AREEA (Australian Resources & Energy Employer Association).

    To get a deeper understanding of the discussion, please find an excerpt of the Q&A session below:

    What does ‘gender equity’ mean to you?

    To me, when we work towards equity, we work towards a world where everyone has equal access to opportunities, resources, and influence. We work towards a better world where no one is held back by their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other factor outside of their control.

    Equity is not just a moral imperative—it is essential for creating a strong and thriving community. When we ensure that everyone has an equal chance to succeed, we create a more prosperous, innovative, and resilient society. To achieve this, we need to check our own biases and prejudices, listen to the voices of all communities, and raise awareness through sharing experiences to take deliberate action.

    The rewards of equity are immense and far outweigh any discomfort associated with standing up for it. When we work towards equity, we create a more just and compassionate world where individuals are empowered to reach their full potential.

    How can women support other women?

    Relationship building. I believe investing time and effort in people and relationships cultivates a strong team and positions anyone to lead. If your team can trust you and lean on you for support (and vice versa), you can accomplish your individual, team, and company goals. This is the essential leadership skill that will positively impact all individuals—and it is not limited to women.

    This is calling out bias, challenging injustice, and knowing when to engage in transparent and honest conversations. I also believe mentorship is another important pathway for women to utilise to enhance their professional skills and extend their leadership responsibilities. Be proactive with opportunities or activities that allow your paths to cross; that may mean volunteering for an initiative, seeking advice or a mentor relationship, or introducing yourself at an event. As a leader, at any level really, the difficult step is to make the time. Don’t put it off, and don’t rush it. Plan and prepare, and ensure you choose the right mentor dedicated to investing in you. When seeking feedback from your mentor, focus on the areas that take you outside your comfort zone—this is where your growth takes off.

    As an organisation, we recognise the need for collaboration to achieve equity, and promote the participation of the Sodexo team in our global SoTogether network which is more than 14 years old. Made up of 23 gender network groups over 46 countries, the network promotes inclusivity through a bias-free culture designed to support, encourage and allow everyone—regardless of their gender—to excel in the workplace and reach their full, individual potential.

    How integral have role models, mentors, or active managers been to your career?

    Never stop learning! Early in your career, it’s important to sharpen your skill set, grow your expertise and get exposure to as many different projects, teams, and people as possible. Treat every challenge as a learning opportunity. Always observe, and learn from the people around you.

    Take the chance to build your resilience and confidence—particularly if you are gearing up to be a leader. Think beyond serving your own success and career progression. More broadly, look at the success of your team and your own success as one and the same.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are deeply embedded in our core values. Read more about our commitments 

    Read the AREEA Female Role Model Toolkit

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