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Watch Executive Chair of C2C Gold Corp. Janet Lee-Sheriff discuss challenges and opportunities she’s faced in her career in the mining industry.

EY and Women in Mining Canada have joined forces to engage women in the mining industry through a series of interviews. Watch the first interview with trailblazing pioneer Janet Lee-Sheriff, Executive Chair, C2C Gold Corp. 

Janet Lee-Sheriff Executive Chair, C2C Gold Corp.
President, Group 11 Technologies Ltd.
President, Yukon Mint Corp.
President & Founder, Newfoundland Gold

Janet is an experienced industry leader with more than 20 years’ experience in mining, sustainability, community engagement and Indigenous consultation.

Mihaela Stefanov: Hi Janet, thank you so much for joining us today. I am really looking forward to discuss about diversity and the place of women in the mining sector with you.

Janet Lee-Sheriff: Oh, thank you very much. I am absolutely honoured to be here, it’s an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for the invitation.

Mihaela Stefanov: So Janet, tell us a little more about yourself, about your experience in the mining sector and some key success factors throughout your career.

Janet Lee-Sheriff: I came into the mining sector in a bit of a different manner than many people with a technical background in engineering or geology and I came in from the social licensing perspective where I worked with first nations in the Yukon for over 20 years, and that was the bridge that allowed me to come into the mining industry and a lot of that was governed by the elders who were looking for somebody that was respectful of their culture and able really to be a gap filler until their own grandchildren were educated and capable of taking up positions like this in the sector.

I think one of my successes has been a lot of work that I have done with aboriginal training. I have raised about $20 million dollars for aboriginal training in the Yukon and really it led me into the position that I find myself now. I have been the CEO of Golden Predator for 5 or 6 years, I lose track, before that I was a vice-president of communications and first nations relations, and I am now also the president of the Yukon Mint and Group 11 Technologies.

Mihaela Stefanov: That’s quite an impressive career Janet, thank you. I am wondering, what are some of the challenges that you are seeing that women in the mining industry face and how does your organization help women to achieve fulfilling and rich careers?

Janet Lee-Sheriff: I have to say that I am a little embarrassed that I completely underestimated the impact of being a female CEO, on the people I work with, on the communities I work with and on the organization. I think women bring a different lens to the industry and its more holistic. So, I think it’s important that we balance having men and women succeed in senior management and it makes the industry better. At one point in our corporate life, I had over 50 % female geologists, I had over 50% of the onsite crew female, over 50% of my office staff was female and when we did an elders and residents program 100% of the elders that initially participated were female. And I did not fully embrace the fact that that was happening because I was a woman, and I was enabling people to feel more comfortable in the industry and I didn’t have that opportunity of working for women in the industry so I didn’t expect it.

Mihaela Stefanov: Are you excited about the future and the role of women in the mining sector?

Janet Lee-Sheriff: I am extremely excited about the future, mine and for many other women. I think that the more we see women coming into senior management positions, I think there’s going to be a greater comfort in testing out new ideas, innovative ideas, solutions in the sector, ways of working and I just think it’s - the mining industry is an incredible sector. It does more to create local wealth, jobs, contracts, sustainable communities, rural employment and the potential for women to help shape this I think it’s unlimited and I truly see this as a sector that has great future for women.

Mihaela Stefanov: And can you tell us little bit more about the people in your life who have influenced you to become such a risk taker, an adventurer?

Janet Lee-Sheriff: I was very very fortunate to have an amazing grandmother that I considered my best friend. I was raised by a single mom, but I was also jointly raised by my grandmother and my grandmother was a true pioneer for somebody that didn’t marry till she was in her 30s, she dedicated the rest of her life to her family, never had a driver’s license, never learned to swim. But, she believed in me and believed I had to go places, and when I talked about taking an alternate path after university and going North, she bought me a one-way ticket and asked me not to come back. She believed in being a pioneer and she believed that there was something better for me if I was willing to take this risk.

Mihaela Stefanov: And when you look back, what would you tell your twenty-year-old self?

Janet Lee-Sheriff: That’s a very good question. What would I tell my twenty-year old self? Take the road less travelled, take a risk. It’s all going to be okay. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s so going to be worth it.

Mihaela Stefanov: Well thank you so much Janet for chatting with us today. You mentioned you want history to remember you and I can tell you we will remember you as a very strong leader, very inspirational, with well anchored values, and thoughts and awareness about diversity, and we thank you so much time and for your comments and insights.

Janet Lee-Sheriff: Thank you very much for allowing me to join you today. I think we work in the most incredible sector of the economy and I am honoured to be a small part of it. I look forward to looking back many years from now and seeing what the many women that follow me have achieved.

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