Centurion, South Africa — Vanessa Mostert, Stark’s Head of People and Culture has her heart firmly set in the people and culture of our fast-growing, globally active company. She tells us more about the convenience of voice notes-to-self, the pleasures of hiking and the power of showing vulnerability.
Meet our people’s people person
Besides the role in your official job title, what do you actually do day-to-day?
I look after the employee journey of Stark’s people. This means making sure that we hire the right people to our team (for now and future requirements) and that processes, structures, and procedures are in place to help the team succeed in line with the objectives of the company, in addition to their own personal growth.
What made you decide to follow this career path? ?
I realised that people spend a considerable amount of time at work, and what drives me, is that they make a positive contribution to their work as well as being fulfilled by the work they do, and by the team on which they function.
What do you do for fun? And how often do you manage to take time out for that? ?
I love spending time outdoors and connecting with family and friends as much as possible. I thoroughly enjoy hiking, and try to do a two-day hike every month or two.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Knowing that I have the opportunity to make an impact in someone's life, no matter how big or small. And also my alarm clock.
What was the best career advice you've ever been given?
Just be honest when you're unsure of what to say or how to handle a challenging situation.
Can you tell us about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?'
I was doing a hike near Carolina in Mpumalanga. Close to the end of the first day, I had developed foot blisters and my legs were cramping. We took a wrong turn somewhere on the map and where we expected a marker to indicate another 1 km to the final rest camp, it was a 3 km marker instead. At that moment, it felt like my body had physically started giving up. I had to swallow my pride, show vulnerability and accept the help offered by friends to take my bag... The moral of the story (for me) is that we sometimes strive to accomplish goals or to battle alone, while we have people around us willing, ready and able to offer us their help and support.
If you could spend an hour or a lunchtime with someone in the industry to pick their brains, who would you choose and why?
I recently learned about Eira Thomas, the President and CEO of Lucara Diamonds. Her career in the mining industry over the past 25 years is fascinating and I would love to know more about what motivates her, the lessons she has learnt and how she’s dealt with challenging situations.
What is the strangest or funniest situation in which you’ve been struck by sudden inspiration?
Most of my ideas usually come to me while I'm driving. You can find a ton of random voice recordings on my notes app; I like to think of it as organised chaos.
Have you ever been given a Stark award?
Luckily and unfortunately not yet.
Which urban myth or urban legend would you like to bust?
The Mystery of the Missing Kruger Millions...
What do you like most about working at Stark?
It absolutely has to be the people. Everyone is nice, helpful, hard working, smart and experienced. It makes me proud to be part of this team.
What surprised you about working at Stark?
I did not know a lot about mineral processing before joining Stark and I find the technology and innovation in the industry so fascinating!
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with a newcomer to this industry?
Bring your energy, enthusiasm and grab each opportunity to actively take part in the knowledge sharing. A win for one, is a win for all.
What would your closest colleagues say if I asked them to name the one characteristic that they totally enjoy about you, and the one that drives them insane?
I am sure they enjoy my positivity… This might also be something that drives others insane - especially early on a Monday morning. Please ask them and let me know, I’m very open to feedback 🙂