Jacqueline Madsen, Technical Training Consultant, Caterpillar Inc.

Jacqueline Madsen: Unlocking Opportunities and Supporting People to Thrive in the Mining Industry

Mining sector, being largely a man’s domain, has gradually started witnessing the marks of women in the industry. By stepping into the mining industry, women have changed the way the industry moves forward, while inspiring other women to be a part of this demanding industry. With their empathetic approach and fresh points of view, among other key differentiators, they are bringing a drastic transformation in the mining industry. One such woman in mining is Jacqueline Madsen, Technical Training Consultant at Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives.

Jacqueline has a diverse background as an Electrical Engineer, Project Manager, Autonomous Haulage Specialist, Trainer, Divemaster and Life and Mindset Coach. She is passionate about problem solving, identifying ways to do things safer, more effectively, more efficiently. She is known for enabling and encouraging people to ‘have a go’, discussing their existing execution strategies, then working with them to think differently about how they can achieve their objectives.

Over her three years at Caterpillar, Jacqueline has been privileged to connect with and lead a great number of Caterpillar and customer team members. Having worked across the first four autonomous sites in Australia, she has been exposed to varied leadership styles and learning experiences. These experiences have helped shape the leader she is becoming. While on sites she led Caterpillar and customer teams in a step-up capacity, ensuring everyone felt heard and connected together to achieve optimum results.

In her current training role, she seeks to ensure that she creates an inclusive, open environment where teams feel comfortable to ask questions and push their limits. She focuses on leading new recruits, networking across Caterpillar teams between sites and connecting people to who they need to talk to on issues that arise. For her, leadership is about unlocking opportunities and supporting people to thrive.

We, at Insights Success, interviewed Jacqueline to unveil her leadership journey and her contribution to the mining industry through Caterpillar Inc.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Being a business professional, what is your opinion regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Mining & Machinery Industry? And how has Caterpillar Inc. managed to overcome this significant challenge?

The mining industry in Australia took quick action to control the spread of COVID-19 to FIFO sites. There was a fast change in the way we flew, the way we worked, and the way we lived up on sites. The response to the pandemic from Australia’s big mining companies was admirable. As Caterpillar is a multi-industry global company, some industries were hit harder than others. The company banded together and all employees made sacrifices to help the company support those industries.

The mining industry has seen this as an opportunity to propel companies towards automated solutions sooner. The biggest challenge I see now in the industry is keeping up with this demand – finding the right people for the job and upskilling them to support sites. Customers and service providers alike are finding this same challenge in finding the people to run the system, and to retain existing talent.

What is your thought on the necessity of a positive work culture? In what ways do you implement it at your organization?

A positive work culture is essential to a company’s success. We hire people because of what we see they can bring to the company. We need to then enable them to be themselves and bring their best selves to the job. By bringing positivity and a sense of play into the workplace we promote a culture where people want to come to work, which in turn leads to better outcomes for the company. I’ve seen throughout the industry that high morale and strong interpersonal relationships in the workplace lead to improved performance across all areas, including efficiency and safety.

What truth everyone needs to know about Mining industry making it safer and more efficient for people & the planet?

Fresh eyes and fresh perspectives are important. We need to be bringing in people with diverse experiences that can break the mold of how we currently do things. We need to be constantly asking ‘why’ and creating an environment where it’s ok to do so. I am a keen environmentalist and safety advocate working in the mining industry, so I am always looking for ways we can operate more safely, more efficiently, and more environmentally consciously.

In what ways have you or Caterpillar Inc. contributed to the community?

Caterpillar as a global company does a lot of volunteer work in different regions. In a more indirect way, Caterpillar is also helping the community reimagine what is possible, and prepare for an increasingly automated future. By introducing autonomous mining trucks in controlled environments on mine sites, it is slowly normalizing the idea for the rest of the world. As autonomous machines become increasingly common, we are experiencing, learning and sharing those learnings to improve safety and efficiency in how we interact with the machines and the world around us. This sharing of learnings is critical.

In terms of my personal community work – my primary focus currently is on developing and leading the mentoring stream of RYLA Oceania 2022. RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) programs are an amazing opportunity for young leaders from the community to come together and work on Professional and Personal Development in a fun and interactive way that has a huge impact on participants extending well beyond the length of the program.

The RYLA Oceania program brings together alumni of the district level RYLA programs across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands to further accelerate skill development and build even stronger networks. I was a participant in the inaugural program in 2020 and so am thrilled to have this opportunity with a passionate, talented, diverse team to contribute to its continuation and impact in the broader community.

Where are you focusing your energy now, and where do you hope to make an impact next? What is your vision for Caterpillar Inc. for the next five years?

At the moment I’m focusing on setting up Caterpillar to be ready for upcoming influx of trainees – both internal and external. There is a lot to learn in the autonomous mining space, and a mistake by one individual at this stage has the potential to set the whole industry back 5 years. Fortunately, Caterpillar ’s development and operations teams are working together with customers to ensure the product stays ahead of potential incidents, with an impressive zero Lost Time Injuries to date – a huge feat in the mining industry.

In the next 5 years I look forward to Caterpillar continuing to adapt how they do business, upskill people, and lead innovation. There are lots of exciting products in the works which have the potential to radically alter how mining operations run. It’s exciting to be a part of it.

What would be your advice for aspiring and emerging women in the Mining Industry?

Give everything a go! Push your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of what looks like a step backwards, it may have potential to slingshot you forward. Create your own opportunities to learn and see new things – there is so much out there to experience.