With a background in people management, Kezia Smith is perfectly positioned to build a strong, capable team on our new village management contract in remote Western Australia.
Kezia is a Gooreng Gooreng woman and was newly appointed as Village Manager for the 220-person village, moving across from Darwin in the Northern Territory and a 15-year career in People & Capability.
"I really wanted the chance to learn about our operations, to build on my corporate experience and broaden my skill set," Kezia says.
Ventia have been really supportive of my career aspirations and the learning curve I am going through to set me up for success.
Kezia spent a number of years in her late teens and early twenties in Kununurra, a 230km drive north of the current village. Her partner is also from the region.
The picturesque surrounds of the Savannah
"The location is very picturesque, and is a unique part of Australia," Kezia enthuses. "Its isolation can be challenging for people. Whilst the role can be quite hectic, our team has been weclomed by our client and other service providers on the site. Everyone is really keen to deliver for the client and the workers that fly-in and fly-out of here."
Her 19-strong team come from Kununurra, Perth and Darwin, working a two-week-on and one-week-off roster.
"Working away from home as they do can be isolating, so creating a good team environment has been really important."
Conecting with local Indigenous communities
In addition to encouraging and empowering her team as she manages the village, Kezia has connected with local Indigenous communities and groups, including the Warmun Local Drug and Alcohol action group, who host a 2-way health and healing camp on Gija women's lore ground in June every year.
We're on Gija country here, and it's important that we respect the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work
Kezia acknowledges that this role is quite a change from her previous role; she is learning a lot and has a supportive team in the broader Living Services group that are sharing their knowledge and expertise.
She says there is a real sense of team work and cohesion on the site.
Kezia and Chef (and Navy Veteran) Rolly Vall
"We constantly get compliments on the food our chefs serve, and the cleaning teams have been acknowledged for their high standards and I make sure that feedback gets to them," Kezia says. "Recognising everyone's contributions and sharing compliments is a good motivator to encourage people to go above and beyond in service delivery. And as their manager, that's also something I find rewarding."
This contract sits within Ventia's Village Services business, which includes 22 sites in locations across Western Australia, Queensland South Australia and NSW.
Kezia says she intends to attract more local employees to the contract in line with our commitment to support the communities in which we operate.
The Savannah Nickel mine is located in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia, with the nearest town - Halls Creek - around 110km away.
Charlie the RAP car