Rio Tinto is heading to the next frontier through the help of some inspirational women


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Say hello to the women taking Rio Tinto into the future

Say hello to the women taking Rio Tinto into the future

Rio Tinto has many things to be proud of – such as producing the world's first certified responsible aluminum, being the first mining company to embrace Indigenous peoples' land rights in Australia, and creating the world's biggest robot.

However, there's a lot more that Rio Tinto wants to do. This is why the company has launched the Pioneer Lab.

The Pioneer Lab is an incubator project, based in Brisbane, Australia. Six Rio Tinto employees have been selected to run it and their aim is to help the company move with the times through new ideas.

Where Women Work has profiled Yinzhu Quan, who is one of those final six. However, there are many more women from all over the world who reached the final selection process. We meet them below.

Teesta Isser, Reliability Engineer, Australia

Teesta's always had an insatiable curiosity about why things can't be better: When she was just 19 years old, she won the national Innovate India business plan for women award for a food delivery business at her university campus, so students could get food while studying late at night. Teesta says the Lab is about understanding how the world is changing and how Rio Tinto can use it to their advantage: "How do we not just ride the wave of the next revolution, but actually create it?"

Priscila Gomes, Senior Adviser, Employee Engagement – Human Resources, Canada

Originally a cell and molecular biologist, Priscila now works in Rio Tinto's Human Resources team and is a huge advocate for inclusion and diversity. For Priscila, the Lab is about making a step change for the future: "It's about not conforming with the status quo. To continue to improve and look for ways to make bold changes. To reinvent ourselves and to think outside the box of what mining could look like."

Leigh Staines, Senior Client Lead – PACE, Australia

Leigh built her own successful management consulting firm specialising in business turnarounds and growth, and acts as a mentor in Brisbane's fast-growing start-up scene. They were skills Rio Tinto just had to have, and so the company tapped Leigh on the shoulder back in 2017 to help run PACE, Rio Tinto’s in-house management consulting team. She's passionate about the opportunities created by big and small businesses working together: "I would love the opportunity to use the Pioneer Lab to bring the two worlds closer together."

Khandarmaa Lunden, Customer Service Specialist, Copper – Commercial, Singapore

Khandarmaa started her own business when she was 23, and says the experience taught her a lot about having an entrepreneurial mind-set. It's fair to say she was thrilled to potentially be part of the Lab: "I hope it can help expand our business through partnership. I think it's about looking for opportunities to strengthen our bond with our communities, suppliers, customers and everyone we partner with."

Daria Oyunchimeg, Senior Adviser, Digital Media – Corporate Relations, Mongolia

An expert on digital media, Daria's the proud daughter of two engineers (her dad is a geological engineer and her mum is a chemical engineer) – so technology and innovation is in her blood. She was excited at the chance to be part of the Lab: "It's a chance for us to change and evolve together as the world is changing constantly."

Amy Pan, Senior Adviser, External Affairs – Corporate Relations, China

Amy is passionate about bringing people and cultures together. She's been a delegate and part of the management team of the Australia-China Youth Dialogue, which connects young leaders in the two countries. Amy says she's keen to explore and test the boundaries of possibilities: "Outside of our daily routines, my colleagues and I often have a good debate on the future of our company, sometimes the future of humankind. I'm looking forward to contributing."

Erica Rannestad, Senior Market Analyst – Commercial, Singapore

Before she became an expert on clean energy commodities like uranium and lithium, Erica's comedy troupe Free Pizza performed on stage at Upright Citizen's Brigade – one of New York's leading sketch comedy clubs, where many Saturday Night Live stars made their debut. She says the Lab is an investment in change: "My hope is that this lab will be a precursor to future labs all over Rio Tinto, where individuals are given license to create positive change if they're willing to put in the hard work."

Yinzhu Quan, Superintendent – Amrun Bauxite Mine, Australia

Yinzhu is known around Weipa for her passion, energy and forward-looking approach. Before joining the world of mining, she worked as an electronics engineer designing telecommunication technology for the Chinese defence department. She is excited to chart a new path for Rio Tinto's vision: "The Lab is an opportunity for myself and for other lucky finalists to really shape a pathway to the way Rio Tinto looks in 2030."

Join these talented women at Rio Tinto

You could discover a rewarding and challenging career at Rio Tinto just like these inspirational women. Search current vacancies today.

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