Solving puzzles and a passion for geology core to Shannon’s success

To celebrate their invaluable contributions, the Minerals Council of Australia is recognising four exceptional professionals through the 2024 Victorian Women in Resources Awards.

The awards highlight the success of women across the Victorian resources sector, providing them with a platform to be role models and champion diversity.

Resources Victoria is particularly proud to celebrate one of their own: Shannon Brown, winner of the ‘Exceptional Young Woman in Victorian Resources’ award.

Shannon is a geoscientist working at the Geological Survey of Victoria’s Drill Core Library in Werribee. She joins award winners:

  • Exceptional Woman in Victorian Resources – Fiona Czuczman from S2 Resources
  • Outstanding Trade Operator or Technician – Alina Tyler from Deepcore Drilling
  • Gender Diversity Champion – Felicity Davy from Agnico Eagle

Here’s what Shannon had to say about their journey in the resources industry so far.

What sparked your interest in Resources and Geology?

Being a geologist is like trying to solve a puzzle – and I love puzzles. The objective of the puzzle is simple: find the resource. The catch is, you only have a few pieces of the puzzle (data). This can be really challenging, but it is incredibly satisfying when you succeed, which is part of why I love geology.

I also just like shiny rocks!

Shannon working outdoors

Are there any women who inspired or encouraged you in this industry that you would like to thank?

I am enormously grateful to my manager Melanie Phillips for her ongoing encouragement and support. Mel has consistently identified professional learning opportunities she believes I could benefit from, and has provided the time, space and resources for me to fully engage with them. Having a manager who sees your potential and invests their own time and energy into realising that potential is incredibly inspiring and heartening.

I also have to thank my colleague Claire Hirschmann, who is always willing to share her own hard-earned knowledge; she is so generous with her time and enthusiasm for my professional and personal growth.

Having a network of inspiring, supportive colleagues at the Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV) has been key to developing my self-confidence and understanding my place in this industry.

What advice do you have for other women who might be interested in a career in Resources?

Do it! A career in resources is incredibly rewarding, and the work is interesting and diverse.

As a geology graduate, I believed that the only career path I could take in resources was as an exploration or mining geologist. The reality is that this industry has roles of all sorts which require diverse skill sets and diverse people.

Don’t discount your soft skills, and don’t be afraid to pursue your other interests along the way – you never know when they might intersect!

Shannon at an event

What is your best accomplishment or proudest moment whilst working in the Resources industry?

My role at GSV allows me to work very closely with members of the exploration industry who come to the Drill Core Library seeking additional data for their projects. I feel extremely satisfied every week when I see how much value my assistance adds to others achieving their goals.

Recently a company was able to build an entire drilling program based on the data I was able to help them source. I’m proud to be able to help this industry succeed in little ways, and hopefully lead it to something greater.

Are there any barriers or changes you’d like to see made to support further development and support for women in this industry?

There are many conversations in the resource sector around how to attract more women into the mining industry. While I fully support this endeavour, simply hiring more women into the sector will not fix systemic workplace culture issues that have historically made women feel unsafe or unwelcome at work, resulting in them leaving the industry.

If workplaces are genuinely committed to increasing and retaining the number women in the industry, they need to invest time into listening to the safety concerns of women and take practical steps to fix the issues presented to them.

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