"Removing judgement makes you a totally different leader."

As a Mechanical Engineer with many years of experience in resources and energy industries, Joli Mendez is no stranger to technical details. But while she is an accomplished Project Manager, she also values a skill often overlooked in technical projects: stakeholder engagement, and cultivating great relationships with the team and organisation.

“When you work with people, you encounter a wide range of different perspectives,” said Joli. “If we have open minds to understand that we are different and to accept that difference, then you can comprehend why people think differently in the same situation”. She added: “when dealing with different perspectives, the first thing that you can to do is to find the common points. If you find common points, you can reach a real commitment easily. Also, this helps to build a productive relationship on the points on which you disagree.”

When leading people, Joli is mainly focused on two key leadership attributes: trust and collaboration. In her own words, “I’m focused on the work that we can do as a team, rather than what individuals can do. The deliverable produced by the team is very important.”

To get to this position as a Lead Operational Readiness, Joli has embraced a leadership journey that has been more lateral than vertical. “I need to understand the scope and the details of the project, but normally I don’t go too deep. I like to transfer my knowledge between projects,” Joli said.

In this role, Joli is well positioned to understand different perceptions and ultimately find solutions for complex business problems.

“Do I want to win for myself or for the team? Sometimes you need to leave your own thoughts aside so you can find the best solution.”

Joli is an Alumna of the 2020 Rising Leadership Program. She was attracted to the Program because of its emphasis on experiential learning.

“The Rising Leadership Program was transformational in a professional and personal sense.” She added: “My main takeaway was the importance but also opportunity of diversity. Removing judgement and valuing others makes you a totally different leader. When you have that as a foundation then the rest is trust.”

Joli has since been appointed as the Business Readiness Project Manager at Newmont Australia.