Anita Waihi: Promoting opportunities for industry women

Can you give an overview of your career? Where did it all start?

When we moved from New Zealand to Australia in late 1995, I had worked in manufacturing and service industries, including paperboard manufacture, crane hire and process equipment distribution. Svedala was advertising for an administrative role in Brisbane and as I’d previously worked for a Swedish-based company in NZ, I was familiar with the business system and seemed to offer what they were looking for. At the time Svedala had only recently been established as the company that had combined Allis Mineral Systems and Trellex.

I worked in the branch for five years, taking on more of an administrative management role at the office, supporting the management and sales team and also having a quality assurance role. Back in those days, we were a remote office and admin personnel had to be very versatile and wear many different hats. This also involved typing up quotes and liaising with customers when the sales and service team were out of the office. I left the company when Nordberg and Svedala merged and returned to Metso after a break, and after the dust had settled on the merger. When I re-entered the business, it was as an internal sales person, responsible for handling quotes, order entry, expediting and general support to the external sales team. It was very rewarding and very enjoyable. I haven’t looked back from there.

What has been your biggest challenge in your career to date?

There have been many challenges and it’s very hard to try to pinpoint one. However, I think it may have been taking the step from an internal sales role to an external sales role. Being out of the office without the support of the internal services was quite a change to what I was used to, and this also meant travelling and being away from home, as well as navigating new roads and finding my way around some very remote places. In saying that, it’s been very rewarding and I’ve met some very interesting people along the way, and had some great experiences.

In your experience, what opportunities have you had in this industry that you wouldn’t have otherwise had?

The opportunity to be in and around the industry and promote the role women play in the industry has been very exciting. I had no idea what would come from my acceptance to lead the Women in Quarrying network in the IQA for the Queensland branch, and it has been an amazing journey. We have had some exceptional people come along to our networking events and the friendships that have formed and support we have discovered from all parts of the industry have been amazing. It’s also given me an exposure to things I would never have known about. For example, I know how to assemble and disassemble parts of crushers and screens, can track down all sorts of weird and wonderful components for equipment and have developed a true love for the quarry industry.

Tell me what WIQ is about in 10 words or less!

Can’t do it in 10 words. Sorry, but it’s just so much more.

The purpose of the WIQ is to:

  • Acknowledge and celebrate women’s contribution to the extractive industry.
  • Create a platform to further encourage women’s involvement in and contribution to the extractive industry.
  • Provide the opportunity for anyone in the industry to connect, network and share experiences.

What do you do outside of work?

I spend a bit of time relaxing with family and friends, as well as my beautiful rottie Zac. I enjoy the outdoors and travelling so combine international travel with a bit of camping. We have discovered many great places in the south-east corner to camp and four-wheel drive, as well as exploring some lovely spots overseas.

Where do see yourself in five years?

I definitely see myself staying within the industry and I look forward to developing my knowledge and meeting more of the very interesting characters within.

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