Andrea Brannan: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Andrea has over seventeen years’ experience in the industry and is currently with Mastermyne as the Finance Manager Compliance & Mastertec.
The Mastermyne Group Ltd is a leading provider of specialist contracting services to coal-producing areas on the east coast of Australia. Over the past 20 years, it has provided services including roadway development, outbye mine services, secondary support, ventilation, longwall installation, conveyor installation, directional drilling, mine operations, access solutions, protective coatings, mining and industrial consumables, and other major mining project requirements.
Why did you choose mining?
Looking back on this now, my reason seems quite naïve: money. But having had over 17 years’ experience in the mining and mining services industry I have received so much more. I quickly learned that no two days are ever really the same. As you are working in an operation that runs 24/7, there are new challenges to face every single day, which means new learnings every single day, and a diverse range of people to interact with every single day. This keeps what many people believe to be a “boring” discipline – accounting – very interesting, challenging and rewarding.
What is your experience of being a woman working in the mining industry?
I can genuinely say mine has been a positive experience. I’m a firm believer in hard work paying off, and as a woman I have had to work harder to prove myself. However, I have been rewarded, as I have accomplished goals and I have risen through the ranks during my career.
Could you tell us about some challenges you have faced in the resources sector and how you overcame them?
During my career, I have been fortunate to work in a variety of fields within the resources sector: mining services, underground and open-cut mining, and a contracting operation. Each has brought its own challenges and all are unique. Learning about each of the operations and how they work was certainly a huge challenge. To do my job well, it was very important to really understand how these operations worked. I achieved this by talking to people and asking questions (the dumb questions) to ensure I understood all aspects of the operation. This interaction (in part) led to building effective working relationships.
The other challenge I faced, which I’m sure any accountant will tell you they encounter, is getting people interested in my work so I could deliver what I needed to. Everyone is busy with their own job and it is sometimes difficult to gain their time and attention and, let’s face it, when you want to talk budgets and costs who can blame them?! This is where I have drawn on the working relationships I’ve formed. I believe relationships work in two ways: what I can do for you and what you can do for me. By providing requested information in an accurate and timely fashion, delivering on what you have promised and working with people, you build solid relationships. These can then be called on when you are needing information.
What are you passionate about?
Delivering on my commitments. Delivering on time and accurately. Being an integral part of the business, helping to shape its financial and operational success. We all have a role to play!
Any advice to young women starting out?
Find what you are passionate about. Your work will never be a chore if you are working in a field you are passionate about and enjoy.
Find yourself a support network, whether it’s other women with whom you can share your experiences, or just someone who knows how the industry works and can give you sound advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is how you will truly gain an understanding of the business. It will also help you to build relationships, which I believe is a key fundamental to ensuring a successful and enjoyable career.
In recognition of women’s contributions to the resources sector and to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018, Commit Works is publishing a series of interviews with clients and employees this month.