Faby Manzano has led Barrick's community engagement efforts in the Dominican Republic since 2007. During that time, she has helped build strong partnerships with the mine's host communities and spearheaded numerous sustainable development programs.
Before joining Barrick, Manzano spent 12 years managing the corporate social responsibility program of Falconbridge Dominicana. A native of Santo Domingo, Manzano is a trained psychologist. She was recently named to this year’s list of "100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining" by Women in Mining U.K.
Beyond Borders: Why did you choose a career in mining?
Faby Manzano: I didn’t choose to make a career in the mining industry, but sometimes life chooses your destiny. In my case, life took me to mining. From an early stage in my career, I started to gain experience in different fields and it was practically by chance that I joined Falcondo (Dominicana) and later Pueblo Viejo, where I’ve been for nine years.
Is there someone who served as a mentor to you and what was the most important thing you learned from them?
Yes, I’ve had many mentors. The main skill I’ve learned from all of the people who I admire is that it’s important to analyze challenges in a systematic way. By that I mean looking below the surface to understand the root causes of a problem or complaint. Often, things aren’t what they seem so the resolution requires careful analysis to address the underlying issues. I had a boss who always told me you have to see the whole board, not just your next move, and I have certainly found that to be true.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career?
Convincing key industry players about the importance of having an effective corporate social responsibility program.
How has the industry changed in its approach and attitude towards diversity since you entered the field?
Years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find women working in mining, and seeing a woman in a senior role was extremely rare. Today, you see far more women in the industry, so we’re making progress. Giving women the opportunity to work in the field has yielded great results, especially if we consider that women are very systematic and that they bring a humanist point of view because women are nurturers by nature.
What can the industry do better to accommodate change and diversity in your particular area of endeavor?
The main thing the industry can do is value women’s ability to communicate, empathize, have a long-term vision and use their emotional intelligence to maintain a positive attitude when needed.
What are some things that have surprised you about being a woman in a male dominated field?
Realizing that men, particularly miners, also harbor great sensibility and passion for their work underneath their apparent toughness. The pride of our miners is overcoming the challenge of finding and liberating gold from the ground. I think our work in social responsibility achieves something similar in that we have had to overcome the skepticism and fear of mining in many communities where we operate.
What advice would you give to women considering mining as a career?
Chase your dreams! Any woman can work in any industry and, if she is convinced about the importance of her work and assumes the right attitude, she can overcome any challenge and always have a chance to be successful — even in mining.