The West

Women call shots at U-miner
Toro Energy Managing Director, Dr Vanessa Guthrie. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

WA's first uranium miner will be headed by two women.

The company Toro Energy is led by Dr Vanessa Guthrie and Dr Erica Smyth, both boasting a long list of achievements in the State's male-dominated resources sector.

Dr Guthrie is managing director of Toro and Dr Smyth is its non-executive chairman.

Dr Guthrie acknowledged it was unusual for a miner to have both a female chief executive and a chairman.

But she sees little practical significance in the situation, calling it a "happy coincidence".

"It's always more difficult for a woman to push through senior executive roles than a man but it is not impossible," Dr Guthrie said.

"I have found through my career a lot of men and women to be very supportive of me and my career."

Dr Guthrie has a PhD in geology. She was WA's first female mine manager at the Huntly bauxite mine at Dwellingup and went on to senior roles at Alcoa and Woodside.

She is the mother of two boys aged 22 and 18. Her husband Joe Stolz runs his own conveyancing business.

Dr Guthrie is on the council of Scotch College and was recently appointed a non-executive director of the Water Corporation board.

Though a strong advocate for women looking to make headway in the corporate world, she is usually reluctant to speak about her own career as a female mining executive.

"My family takes up most of my time," she says.

"It's what keeps me grounded and what is most important to me."

Dr Smyth has spent more than 30 years in the mining and oil and gas sector and held senior positions at BHP and Woodside.

She is on the board of science activity centre Scitech and the Diabetes Research Foundation of WA.

She said the fact a mining company headed by two women was succeeding showed how the resources industry was changing and stereotypes were being broken down.

Dr Smyth suggested that having two women on a board allowed a company to see issues from a wider community perspective.

The West Australian

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