It's March 2020, Australia was blissfully unaware of a once-in-a-generation pandemic about to hit its shores. Whether it be travel plans, wedding preparations or perhaps getting ready for the arrival of a new family member, everyone had something to look forward to.
For Kirstie, her 2020 started with a career change, accepting a newly created role at Schlam as the Sales Coordinator for the Payload Sales Team.
Kirstie commenced her role at the beginning of March 2020, and with the COVID-19 pandemic setting up shop in Australia toward the end of March, it's safe to say her introduction to the company was somewhat disrupted.
Within Kirstie's first two weeks at Schlam, her direct manger became a close contact during a trip to the East Coast, and due to the restrictions at the time, needed to quarantine for two weeks.
"By the time my manager was back from quarantine, our office moved to a roster schedule. We had been placed on opposite rosters, so it was at least three to four months before I was in the same office as my manager," Kirstie recalled.
Encountering these challenges so early on in a new role would be daunting to say the least. Fortunately, Schlam had put the necessary infrastructure in place, to allow Kirstie and the wider Sales Team to work seamlessly virtually.
As this was a new position, Kirstie's drive and ambition allowed her to turn the role into her own and determine exactly what the Sales Coordinator role entailed.
'It was an opportunity for me to really showcase my skill set in internal sales, and to mould the position into something that aligned with my own professional growth and met the ever evolving and expanding needs of the team," Kirstie said.
Kirstie is the 'go to' person at Schlam, with many staff accessing her wealth of knowledge of the company and industry daily, so it's surprising to note that Kirstie's career history prior to Schlam wasn't in mining.
Kirstie was born in the Philippines where she lived for the first 6 years of her life before moving to Canada. Kirstie started off her professional career in the Packaging and Manufacturing industry, where she gained her valuable sales skills, before making the big decision to move to Australia.
Moving across the world comes with an array of challenges, including making new friends, which as an adult can be difficult when you think about the time you have left after the weekly work grind.
"I forced myself to play a sport so I could make new friends. I had made a connection with someone who played 'gridiron' and since I already knew the game I thought why not. Friends back home were shocked when I started to play, considering I've never done anything athletic before and that I'm extremely clumsy," Kirstie explained.
Applying for jobs in a new country also proved to be testing, especially when considering job hunting and visa restrictions don't always align.
"I was lucky enough to have received a referral for a job opportunity before I left Canada. Someone I worked with previously had a connection in WA, who knew of a job opening at a pipe manufacturing company in Osborne Park," Kirstie explained.
"From there, I was headhunted via LinkedIn for a law firm in the CBD and decided to make the change," Kirstie said.
Obtaining her residency status allowed Kirstie to explore permanent positions, where she soon came to join the Schlam team.
During Kirstie's three year run at Schlam, she made the transition from Sales Coordinator to Project Coordinator, and more recently received an incredible promotion to Sales and Operations Planning Lead. Another newly created role for Kirstie to make her own.
"I'm fortunate to have managers who are very supportive in this transition and are ensuring that I have access to the appropriate training and resources to succeed in the new role. It's an opportunity to learn something new and the challenges that go along with it," Kirstie said.
To witness such quick professional growth within the company, has been an incredible experience for the Schlam team. Payload Solutions General Manager - Sales & Business Development, Ben, reflects on his time with Kirstie.
"From the moment Kirstie interviewed for a position with Schlam we knew she was going to have a positive influence on our culture and work habits. Kirstie is one of the most efficient team members I have ever had the privilege of working alongside of. Her professionalism, team accountability, follow up, innovation and energy is contagious and her time with our Sales Team has been fantastic. I'm excited to see her tackle this new role and I'm sure she'll make it her own in no time," Ben said.
Kirstie has been and will continue to be, such an inspiration to everyone around her, especially for young women navigating a male dominated industry.
"My advice for young women wanting to break into the industry, is to be confident in yourself and the skills set you bring to the table. If the right opportunity comes along that aligns with your career aspirations and personal values, don't be afraid to pursue it! I didn't have any experience in the mining industry before Schlam, but I knew I had more than enough experience and transferrable skills to be successful in the role," Kirstie said.
We wish Kirstie all the best while transitioning into her new role and look forward to seeing her progress over the years to come!