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“Take the road less travelled, take a risk. It is all going to be okay. It is not going to be easy, but it is so going to be worth it.”
Director and President,
Group 11 Technologies (Group 11)
Due to the inclusion of women in mining and diversity at workplaces, the industry has made strides over the past decade. Besides, they are also leading a transformation within the industry, pioneering the shift towards diversity, gender equality, inclusion and empowerment. One cannot talk about unique marketing and communications strategies in precious metals extraction and mining, community engagement then leaves Janet-Lee Sheriff behind. She is an innovative entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience in mining, sustainability, community engagement and indigenous consultation. Sheriff is currently the director and President of Group 11 Technologies (Group 11), a private company focused on the development of non-invasive and environmentally friendly precious metals extraction.
Sheriff is the holder of BA in Economics from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, and a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Commemorative Medal awarded for outstanding achievements by Canadians. She made her entry into the mining sector from the social licensing perspective after she worked with first nations in the Yukon for over 20 years, and that was the bridge that allowed her to come into the mining industry. Ms. Sheriff also established and presently owns the Yukon Mint has created green gold coins with Indigenous art to celebrate local communities and the artists and Sheriff is the owner. She has made strides in this work, and it led her into the position that she finds herself now. Among her achievements, Sheriff had been a vice-president of Till Capital Ltd which had their focus on marketing, community affairs, First Nation relations & investor relations; negotiation and implementation of numerous agreements, progressive programs, and Socio-Economic Benefits Accords with First Nation governments. She then later became the CEO of Golden Predator for 5- 6 years, and she led the world’s first on-site test of EnviroMetal Technology’s solvent which replaced cyanide in the gold extraction process, resulting in the formation of Group 11 where she is currently the director and president of the organisation. As a woman with many hats, she is also the founder of Newfoundland Gold, a strategic marketing alliance of companies focused on the advancement of mineral exploration and mining projects in Canada’s Newfoundland.
She once remarked that, if women given enough chance in this mining industry, they can bring a difference to the industry. “It is important that we balance having men and women succeed in senior management and it makes the industry better. At one point in my corporate life, I had over 50 % female geologists, I had over 50% of the onsite crew female, over 50% of my office staff were female. I truly see this as a sector that has great future for women,” she said.
She is the host of the ‘Mined in America’ podcast where mining stakeholders share in their stories on the road less travelled that lead to the discovery and the development of an industry that is critical for the world, quality of life and national security. With her strong commitment to social responsibility and community engagement she has also successfully negotiated and implemented socio-economic and exploration agreements with Indigenous governments, and she implemented numerous innovative programs, including the award-winning Elders-in-Residence Program that ensures community involvement in corporate projects. By doing so, Sheriff is trying to redefine a traditionally male-dominated field and has helped and is still helping more women to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all.
Conclusively, change is happening for women in mining as they strive for greater inclusivity and diversity. The more women own their confidence and abilities and continue to smash down the glass ceiling, the more they will see the rise of female representation in senior leadership positions and business. One can be motivated by the wise and encouraging words from the innovative entrepreneur, she said, “Take the road less travelled, take a risk. It is all going to be okay. It is not going to be easy, but it is so going to be worth it.”