This week on Profiles in GRIT, we meet Dionne Auguste. Dionne is the operations manager for NES Global Talent in Perth, Australia. NES is a workforce provider that provides staffing solutions across the Oil & Gas, Power, Infrastructure, Life Sciences, Manufacturing and Mining sectors globally. NES offers a diverse workforce and technical recruitment across major projects around the world.
Dionne moved to Australia 6 years ago, she did not know anyone and moved without her friends and family, but through perseverance and grit, she overcame the challenges to build a successful career and a personal brand.
She focused her efforts on networking and became involved in programs like a local lean in circle, Women in Oil and Gas Australia where she is a mentor. Today, she runs the lean in circles for her region and mentors other women and young professionals.
It was a pleasure to honor Dionne at our 2nd annual GRIT Awards in October. And we’re excited to share more of her story with you.
Pink Petro: What’s the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?
DA: One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced both personally and professionally was moving from the UK to Australia. Not only was it a challenging personal transition, but I also had to learn the WA market, major projects and the technical aspects required for working in resources.
When I made this move, I was about to turn 30. I was broke and trying to make a new life for myself away from my family and friends. The self-doubt I had during this time period was like nothing I had experienced before. I wanted to run away and go back home to my comfort zone. Fortunately, the thought of failing gave me the drive I needed to kickstart a new life and career.
I knew I had to learn the market quickly so I began networking with professionals in the industry. I asked candidates and clients for their feedback and I looked after those who believed in me. In return, I was able to build a reputable personal brand in a competitive market.
What’s one mistake you made and what did you learn from it?
DA: One of the biggest mistakes I made was underestimating how hard the move would be. I moved without much planning. It was very stressful, but I did it. I believed in myself and I worked hard to achieve success. I also had support from sponsors and mentors who I still seek advice from today.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your career?
DA: I love being a people manager and enjoy seeing success in others. One project that sticks out in my mind is the indigenous drive we did for a large LNG operator in Darwin. Their indigenous workforce was 0 and they wanted us to assist them in employing some indigenous candidates in their business. Darwin is a very remote location and it is difficult to source local candidates. However, we were able to provide a shortlist of 22 candidates of which 16 were from an indigenous background. The client put 12 of our candidates through their assessment day and employed 6, of which 3 were indigenous and 1 was female. This was an incredibly rewarding opportunity for me and NES Global Talent.
Who’s been a “gritty” role model for you and why?
DA: Oprah Winfrey is one of my all-time role models. I come from a diverse background myself. My father was born in the Caribbean and my mother is from Scotland. So I can relate to some of the challenges Oprah has faced throughout her career. The strength which Oprah has shown to the world is phenomenal. She has touched the hearts of thousands of people and has not been afraid to bare her soul, emotions and imperfections. It has been inspiring to follow her career and what she has achieved.
Which community service activities/organizations have you been associated with and in what capacity?
- DA: Women in Oil and Gas Australia - This is a Lean In circle lead by Veena Mendaz who is a category manager for Chevron. I have been part of the membership since Veena founded the organization 5 years ago and I am now honored to be part of their mentoring program. I am currently mentoring a female project controls engineer.
- Wirrapanda Foundation - This foundation is an indigenous non-profit organization. We work with the foundation to assist them in placing suitable candidates within the resources industry who have gone through their mentor program.
- SCLAA - I have had a relationship with this organization for about 5 year. We regularly reach out to them when we are seeking young professionals within the supply chain industry who have completed their degrees and looking for their first full-time position in mining and oil and gas.
- Leadership - I am the internal diversity rep for APAC at NES Global Talent and run our lean in circles across the region.
- Pat Thomas Women’s Refuge - I regularly donate clothes, cosmetics and other items to this women’s refuge.
- Women in Mining - I am currently a member of this organization and am in conversations with them to present at their sundowner later in the year.
- Brightwater- I am a volunteer as part of their “Music Pharmacy Program” the program works with Dementia patients to engage them in music programs such as personal playlists, group sessions and harp playing.