International Women’s Day: Meet Zharni

March 17, 2022

One of START’s key metrics is diversity and female representation in our organisation. By tracking diversity, we are bringing transparency to the aluminium industry and keeping the gender equality conversation going.  

This International Women’s Day, we highlight the achievements of the women in our aluminium business. We spoke to four women across our commercial and operations teams to learn more about what gives them motivation in their roles, and what advice they have for fellow women in mining.

Zharni Crossley

Emergency Services Officer, Weipa, Australia

Zharni Crossley is setting an example for young, indigenous females everywhere.

She was the first trainee under the Local Aboriginal Persons (LAP) Traineeship with the aluminium emergency services team to successfully complete the programme with multiple certifications in fire extinguishing, firefighting, and COVID-19 antigen testing under her belt.

As a young mother, she successfully juggled training, studies, and competency testing. She is now an emergency services officer who ensures the community is well-equipped to deal with emergencies. Zharni’s accomplishments are inspiring others as we observe an uptick in the number of applicants applying for 2022’s emergency services traineeship.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am of Aboriginal and South Sea islander decent. I am from the clan group Winchanum, one of the Wik clan groups in Aurukun. I was born in Weipa and am currently living here today. I have spent my childhood living here as well as out at Old Mapoon and Aurukun.

What does your job entail and what do you love most about it?

As an emergency services officer, we respond to and deal with emergencies on the mine sites as well as the township and surrounding areas. We also do everything from providing onsite first aid, issuing permits, and conducting drug and alcohol testing to name a few. My favourite thing about my job is that unlike other work areas, you aren’t confined to one area.

What is some advice you’d give to other females in the workplace who are starting out in their careers or just in general?

My advice would be to keep your head down, work hard, and learn your stuff. Knowledge makes you powerful. Strive to be the person others can count on and say yes to every opportunity that will enhance your skill set (assignments, work travel).

Who are your biggest female role models and why?

Helen Keller would be one of the main women I admire purely for the way she made the impossible possible. She never gave up despite being blind and deaf, she remained patient and persistent and went on to be the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree.

What do you hope the world will look like for females in 10 years’ time?

I hope to see more women in leadership roles and in roles that traditionally excluded women. I hope for more equality and more respect, and that we continue to advocate for each other.

What superpower would you choose to have and why?

If I could choose to have any superpower it would be to time travel. Why? Because who wouldn’t want the ability to be able to travel back in time and change things that went wrong, or travel to the future to see what would happen if you made a certain choice.