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For the love of learning: Rio Tinto’s Christine excels

For the love of learning: Rio Tinto’s Christine excels

 March 13, 2018

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Describing herself as passionate, dynamic and committed, Christine Stephenson is connecting the mining industry with people’s everyday lives via her exciting Digital Workplace role at Rio Tinto Singapore.

“My job is to make sure that Rio Tinto employees have simple, easy and enjoyable experiences when they use our IT tools to get their jobs done,” says Christine. As a Senior Manager working on the end-user experience, Christine is also able to share information about Rio Tinto’s’ beneficial work within the communities it operates.

“In my role I help to make a human connection to mining. People need to know the great work companies like Rio Tinto do and that we are not simply mining. For instance we are building communities in Weipa where we are training indigenous people on the job to develop their skills and supporting local business to harness the rewards of mining together,” Christine explains.

Rio Tinto women's careers

Striving to continually improve

With a curious mind and a passion for problem solving, Christine loves that she has the opportunity to impact Rio Tinto’s around 50,000 employees through the use of the technologies her team manage, giving them a great experience and greater motivation at work. “Every day I come to work and I think about what new ‘WOW factor’ I can deliver today that will truly make Rio Tinto a greater place to work in.”

Having worked at Rio Tinto for many years, Christine has found curiosity is what encourages her to explore new ways of delivering her business strategy. “This curiosity has placed me at the forefront of emerging domains of expertise, hence leading change in business and IT.  I started in software development and moved quickly to agile project delivery, business process management, enterprise architecture, customer experience and now employee experience management,” advises Christine.

A unique take on Rio Tinto’s business

Christine uses her range of skills confidently to achieve good business outcomes. “I am known for my ability to see the big picture, and am able to deliver the right outcome. I do not like detail but, when partnered with team members who are the opposite of me, we make a winning team to deliver a great outcome to the business,” suggests Christine. As a Senior Manager Digital Workplace, Christine coaches colleagues and helps them to develop. It is this sort of teamwork that makes Rio Tinto such an attractive and supportive place to work.

Succeeding in a male dominated industry

With a winning attitude to work and the energy to continually improve, Christine says the best advice she received was from a book. "Nice girls don’t get the corner office is a book I was given because I was feeling conflicted about people walking over me when I was perhaps too nice. It seemed the squeaky wheel always got the most attention, and I felt that sometimes I was ignored because I never complained. I just did my job. I’ve learnt how to toughen up and be heard when it is important for the business to be given the right advice,” explains Christine as she reflects on her professional growth.

Although Christine still believes that the opinions of strong men might be more readily accepted than those of women in workplaces, Christine is confident that with great leadership companies will continually strive to ensure inclusivity. Christine is alkso very satisfied with the fact that she has a great leader, Debbie Wilson, who has been able to support her along her career journey - another talented woman who is a great advocate for women in the workplace.

Rio Tinto is a diverse company striving to be better

Rio Tinto is the first company I have worked for that has such a strong focus on Inclusion and Diversity. To have our CEO and leaders support women and give us a voice, instils greater confidence in us to keep achieving despite the challenges we face in the workplace. The white ribbon initiative is a great example of the tremendous support we have received from our leaders. The important thing to remember is that not only women and children suffer from domestic violence, men do too,” says Christine.

Having launched a very progressive support package for employees who may be victims of domestic violence, Rio Tinto has shown that it is really moving forward with tangible and practical support in this area. Christine is a huge advocate for her employer for reasons such as this, whereby the company certainly lives its inclusive vision, purpose and values every day.

“I am a huge advocate of Rio Tinto as a responsible organisation - a company that is committed to sustainable and innovative ways to do business,” explains Christine. “I enjoy knowing that we supply the metals and minerals that help the world grow. Our materials are essential to making modern life work. You will find them in smartphones, planes, cars, hospitals and in your home. These items are dependent on the materials Rio Tinto produces such as titanium, aluminium and iron ore.”

Rio Tinto women's careers

Being supported by an inspirational role model

There is no denying that positive role models are important, and to have your parent be that source of inspiration is very special. Christine has always looked to her father as that kind of figure. “He was an air force pilot for most of his career. He battled for India in three wars and is a decorated officer. He showed me what hard work, duty, attention to detail and passion were all about. After he retired, he told us numerous stories on the close shaves he faced and how it was his quick thinking that saved many ‘Souls on Board’, on several occasions - including the Dalai Lama’s life. For this he was awarded one of India’s highest bravery medals - the Vayu Sena,” reminisces Christine with deep admiration and respect.

Thanks to her father’s impressive stories of commitment to his job, Christine’s own work ethic and attitude to business were instilled from a young age.

“My father once told me a story about his inspections of units when he was a commanding officer of India’s largest air force squadron. He would always ask to use the toilet as soon as he got there. If the toilet was sparkling clean which meant he could eat rice off the floor, he stayed for coffee and biscuits; if it was not, he would leave straight away. This was the best lesson he ever taught me and it is what I practice every day. It’s not good enough to have just the front of your business nice and shiny, the whole business must be nice and shiny, or else you are not running a tight ship. When I think about this in the context of Rio Tinto, I ask myself, what if we only cared about safety at the frontline and we were too lax in our functions? What would be the impact to the whole business? When I come to work and when I lead my team, I am always thinking about how we can deliver our best to the business across the team, how we can work with other teams to ensure we are delivering the best to the business - always - so we can eat rice off the floor too.”

Giving back to society and enjoying interests outside of work

Outside of her busy role at Rio Tinto, Christine is passionate about social work and doing her bit for society. “I am currently pursuing ways to support the anti-plastic movement. I am influencing my inner circle to consider more earth-friendly options in place of plastic today." For Christmas last year, I gave my sisters reusable shopping bags and I’m also exploring ways to encourage people to take their tiffin boxes to hawker centres instead of accepting polystyrene or plastic containers,” explains Christine.

When looking to kick back and relax, there is nothing Christine loves more than fishing. “I find fishing the most relaxing way to de-stress and do absolutely nothing while admiring the beauty of nature and the wonderful world we live in. I often don’t catch but I’m happy to hold a rod in my hand, even when there’s no bait left on my hook,” laughs Christine.

Discover new possibilities at Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a global leader in the mining and metals sector with more than 50,000 people operating across six continents in more than 40 countries. Join a diverse team of talented, enthusiastic individuals who foster a culture of inclusion and diversity. Exploration and discovery have been at the heart of Rio Tinto for over 145 years. Now it’s your turn to help us explore new opportunities. Take a look at these current job vacancies today.

Rio Tinto women's careers

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