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Keryn Zambroski @ The Coalface

Being able to transfer your skills to roles across the globe is just one of the incredible opportunities that a career in mining has offered Whitehaven Coal’s Keryn Zambrowski. Her story is proof that a career in mining can open up the world… if you are willing to do what it takes.

If her name sounds familiar, that’s because Keryn won the Exceptional Woman Award at the NSW Minerals Council Women in Mining Awards earlier this year. The award recognises what Keryn has achieved in 19 years working in the mining industry.

“I’m Hunter Valley born and bred; I grew up in the coalfields. I went to the University of Newcastle and completed a commerce degree, then worked in a public practice before I fell into the mining industry as an accountant with Peabody almost 18 years ago.

“It opened up so many opportunities. I travelled to the head office in the US when I was just 22 years old. I met with the CEO and CFO at the time which was an amazing opportunity. Trips like this one were the things I never expected to be doing when undertaking that commerce degree!

“Being trusted to represent our team and bring what I learnt back to the Newcastle office was an incredible opportunity.”

Keryn worked in Newcastle for several years before getting the travel itch and heading over to the UK. Her plans for a 9 to 5 job were dashed when her contacts found her a job on the coal trading desk at Deutsche Bank in London.

Keryn stayed in London for two years, then relocated to Singapore for another two years before moving back home to Australia and starting work with Whitehaven almost 10 years ago.

Keryn Zambroski Coalface

“I had to take a few steps backward in my career to move home. I put my head down and applied all the experience I had picked up from my international roles and quickly moved up the Whitehaven chain to get the role I wanted.

“I was always putting my hand up wanting to do more. Two years ago, an opportunity came to do a secondment into investor relations. This took me from customer facing to a role facing investor stakeholders. Spreading myself across marketing and investor relations was challenging and hectic, but fantastic.

“At the end of that secondment they asked me if I’d take on the investor relations role full time. I accepted this opportunity, which represented a huge change in direction from the department that I worked in for so long. I am now able to apply my experience and in-depth market knowledge with our investor community.”

Keryn held a range of roles within Whitehaven, but was the first female Marketer with the company.

“Traditionally, marketing roles for Australian producers have been male. It requires a lot of traveling and talking to stakeholders, it’s a tough gig. It’s a very male dominated industry and it still is. There are a few up and coming females who are getting into that space now which is wonderful to see.

“When I was younger, I knew a career in mining was possible, but I didn’t appreciate the wide range of opportunities it could bring,” Keryn reflected.

“I’ve been fortunate to have several great mentors throughout my career and I’m enjoying having the opportunity now to pass on some of what I’ve learnt to other young women at Whitehaven as well as externally. I am a mentor with the NSW WINNet mentoring program which is a fantastic initiative that supports females in the industry.

“I recommend it to everyone.

“It is important for both senior females and males to continue to be positive role models and create opportunities for others to have a fulfilling career in mining, no matter what role they are doing. The industry is taking great strides in improving diversity and inclusion, which we need to continue to progress.

Keryn Zambrowski Coalface

“Advocating for young people to embark on careers in mining is extremely important to me. While everyone wants to accelerate into the more senior roles at the top, there is such a broad range of important roles in the sector that are all critical for our businesses to operate.

“Every job in mining is a piece of a broader puzzle that provides huge benefits to so many.

“I always encourage people to capitalise on the opportunities that are provided to them.

“It’s your career and you need to drive it. I often see an expectation for things to be handed to individuals more these days, but I am a firm believer that you need to seek out those experiences yourself.”

Keryn is proof of the places you can go and the opportunities that open up if you do just that.

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