Cathy Cheng’s professional career has taken her from food to mining, with a stint in oil and gas along the way.
She began a career in business development 20 years ago when she transferred into the executive search industry after working for a company involved in fast-moving consumer goods.
After a brief stint in the oil and gas industry, Cathy made her way into mining five years ago.
“In the middle of 2015, I was working as an executive search consultant in the oil and gas industry when the oil price slumped to a historically low level,” she said.
“A friend introduced me to the general manager of CPC Engineering, and although I had no experience in the mining industry, my communication skills, ability to connect with people, fast learning nature and strong determination to succeed enabled me to thrive in a business development role.
“Within two months, I brought my first client to the business.”
Cathy spent five years in a business development role at CPC, and during that time assisted the company in establishing its corporate image as a quality mid-tier service provider, increasing its brand awareness and market exposure to the mineral resources sector.
Her role also included collaborating with stakeholders and joint venture partners to help grow the business.
Wanting to grow in her career after a number of years working with CPC, Cathy enrolled in a Master of Business Administration at the Curtin Business School.
She graduated earlier this year and about the same time was introduced to MinSol Engineering.
MinSol, a Western Australia based resource development consultancy, specialises in mineral processing facilities and associated infrastructure. Its portfolio includes successfully delivering the Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide processing plant for Tianqi Lithium and the Chemical Grade Plants one to three for Talison Lithium.
As one of its core members, Cathy’s role is to develop strategies to grow the business with support from its technical team and to manage internal and external stakeholder relationships.
Cathy says the most interesting parts of working in the sector are the intelligent conversations she can have with the executive and management teams as they work to develop their various projects.
It is for similar reasons that she has enjoyed being a member of the WA Mining Club for the past five years.
“WAMC gives me the opportunity to connect with industry people in a professional and engaging environment, which results in the generation of business opportunities,” she said.
“I have also gained a better understanding of the Western Australian mining industry by discussing industry innovation, issues and challenges with the industry professionals.
“From the speeches given by industry leaders, I have expanded my industry knowledge and appreciate more the perspectives brought by different people.
“By taking our existing and prospective clients to the luncheons, I have enhanced the relationships with them.”
Cathy also commended the staff and committee of the WA Mining Club for making her feel welcome every time she has attended an event.
Cathy last wore her “magical” boots to Kalgoorlie in July this year with top management from CPC where she said they helped win a million-dollar project at a greenfield gold mine.
The most exotic place that mining has taken her is Xiamen, which she describes as a beautiful coastal city in Southern China.
Cathy’s three most desired dinner guests are Melinda Gates, Michelle Obama, and Warren Buffett.
She enjoys socialising – either catching up with friends or going to new events.
“Otherwise, you can find me hitting golf balls or riding my bike in winter and playing beach volleyball in summer.”
She said that one thing she wishes about the world is that more people would have self-awareness, especially politicians.
“If we all think about how our language and behaviours impact the people and environment around us and try to look after each other, it will be a much better world.”