Briohny joined Fortescue in 2012 as a Maintenance Scheduler and has since progressed to become a Superintendent Fixed Plant Planning for Christmas Creek. As a mother of two, Briohny initially worked with her hiring manager to negotiate a roster that allowed her to achieve a healthy work-life balance. In 2017, when Fortescue’s Integrated Operations Centre (IOC) expanded in the Perth office, Briohny and her family had the opportunity to relocate to Perth where she commenced a new role in Electrical Planning. After only six months, Briohny was promoted to Maintenance Planning Superintendent for Christmas Creek.
As a strong advocate for women’s participation and advancement within the resources sector, Briohny has been mentoring several women over the past 18 months, offering them support, career advice and a sounding board for day-to-day challenges. She is also an active member of a long list of organisations and committees that support women in the industry, including a working group called SWIFT (Supporting Women in Fortescue Together).
“SWIFT was initiated by a small group of women eager to enhance the networking and mentoring opportunities available at Fortescue so we can learn from, share with and support each other. The group also looks at ways we can showcase the range of employment opportunities offered in the mining industry more broadly,” Briohny said.
Briohny’s journey hasn’t always been so smooth sailing – from training as an electrical apprentice to becoming a senior leader, she has faced a number of challenges that many women experience working in a male dominated industry.
“As a young apprentice and the only woman within the team, I have experienced harassment and bullying in the workplace. But rather than letting these experiences get me down, I managed to bounce back and work on building strong relationships with my colleagues,” Briohny said.
“After completing my apprenticeship, I went on to become an Electrical Tradesperson. Again, I was the only female electrician in the department and felt quite isolated within the team. To help combat this, I made an effort to involve myself in company initiatives and I was also lucky to have had the opportunity to mentor a diverse group of apprentices and young women.”
Briohny grew up in the regional town of Port Hedland, Western Australia, with her parents and two older brothers. Throughout high school, she enjoyed participating in organised sports and represented Port Hedland in a number of competitions, including the North-West Netball Championships and the Netball Talent Identification Development Program.
Throughout Briohny’s career she has maintained her commitment to playing, coaching and umpiring sport in addition to holding a number of positions on local sporting committees. Not only does Briohny enjoy the social aspect of sport, but it has also played a key part in the development of her communication and leadership skills.
Briohny said, “Playing sport helps me de-stress, instills the value of teamwork and has helped me develop leadership skills which I’ve applied in the workplace.”
Briohny is competing to become the People’s Choice Award winner for the 2020 Women in Resources Awards. You can read the full profiles of the other finalists and vote for Briohny here.