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Women in Mining – Sherri Powell

“It’s the people you work with that make the job.”

On an afternoon in early March, Sherri Powell is talking to teenagers about opportunities in mining. It’s career day at a local high school, and after 12 years as a mining engineer, she’s the new recruitment coordinator for Capstone Mining Corp. 

“The most important thing is that we find the right person for the right job,” she says.

Sherri made the shift from Engineering to Employee Services last November. Her social skills suit her well for the outreach role, and her technical experience is essential to understanding the skills needed for each job. 

“It’s exciting,” she says, “and it’s critical.” 

Big Picture

“This company develops its people,” Sherri explains. “We want to bring the right person here and have them stay.”

Overall, the company’s goal is to be a consistent low-cost operation, Sherri says, and this means keeping it simple. 

“Give good people the resources they need to do a good job.”

Often, what people need to do a good job is a good team. Sherri helps managers find the right person for each position. 

Day to Day 

“Everyday is different,” says Sherri, “but we do the same things.”   

As recruitment coordinator, half of Sherri’s days are spent interacting with potential new hires. Applications, assessments, on-boarding, and a lot of phone tag. The other half involves coordination with hiring managers. Tasks such as defining required skills, conducting interview panels and creating employee development plans. The best part, she says, is making an offer.   

“I can’t think of a better way to end the day than to call someone and offer them a job,” Sherri says.

 How Did you get into Mining?

Sherri has always loved numbers. After switching majors several times, she earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Arizona.  Seeking real-world experience the summer before her senior year, Sherri attended a career day and spoke to six companies. She learned about mining.  

“I knew absolutely nothing about it,” she declares.

She was offered an internship with Asarco at the Mission mine in Tucson, followed by a full-time employment offer in the fall.  In 2011, she fulfilled a dream by working overseas. A market downtown in Australia led her back to the states, and in February 2014 she was hired by Capstone as a short-range planning engineer. Her focus was on the alignment of business needs across departments.

“The most important thing is timely coordination,” Sherri explains, “if you drop the ball and don’t share an important piece of information with all who need it, the process breaks down.”

In 12 years, she has worked at 4 mines, with 3 companies; she stays connected with people on the other side of the world.

“It’s a small world,” Sherri notes. “Never burn bridges.”

Advice for those interested in careers in mining?     

“You spend half your life at work,” Sherri says, “you should enjoy your work.”

In her engineering courses, nearly 90% of the students were male, but in the field, Sherri has worked with female managers, co-workers and subordinates.
“I don’t see them as better or worse,” she says “everyone is essential to the team.”

Sherri was 4-½ months pregnant and in her first year on the job with Capstone when her then-husband had a stroke. It was the job and co-workers that got her through the experience, she says. They threw her a baby shower and a fundraiser. They helped her move.  

Sherri is now remarried to a man with three children, and is expecting another child this June.  She feels blessed to be part of a “parenting team” that copes with the complexities of integrated families. She’s amazed at how well it can go.

“Again, it’s timely communication,” she says, “and doing what’s right for the kids.”  

Favorite Quote:

“It’s all about perspective.”

 

Sherri Powell was born in Phoenix, has lived in many parts of the world, and moved to Globe in May, 2019. She enjoys archery, shooting, 4-H, and camping with her family. Her dream job is to teach math at a community college.

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