Dr. Patience Mpofu

Dr. Patience Mpofu   

She is a multi-award-winning mining executive, International Women’s Forum 2018 Fellow, global thought leader in sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), an executive leadership coach, and a Women in STEM advocate. She is the founder and partner of Insight Mining Experts, a global platform that connects technology experts to help solve sustainability issues in the mining industry and assist them in meeting their ESG commitments. She has more than 25 years of global multidisciplinary industry experience in the mining and metals sector.

She is also the founder and CEO of Peak Performance Executive Leadership Coaching, an academy that helps women in STEM unleash their superpowers to succeed. Prior to founding her businesses, she was Vice President of Corporate Affairs Africa for a global Australian mining company, where she led the delivery of the Africa region sustainability strategy, risk mitigation, social performance, and reputation enhancement.

Previously, she spent several years working for other global mining companies in senior technical roles in processing, mine planning, transformation, M&A, strategy, and business development. Dr. Mpofu has represented important leadership forums and is a member of various industry bodies, lobbying and advocating to influence policy on the challenges facing the industry and women in mining.

In 2017 and 2018, she was exclusively invited to attend the prestigious Ministerial Symposium, which brings together more than 100 C-level mining executives and government officials, including ministers and vice ministers of mining and energy, and mining company CEOs, prior to the Mining Indaba. The Africa Mining Vision focuses on creating an inclusive and sustainable mining sector across Africa, as well as elevating the industry by tracking achievements and better communicating the important contribution of mining to the economic development of societies.

In 2017, Patience was invited by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women to be a member of the UN Women Global Innovation and Coalition for Change (GICC) (2017–2019), focused on accelerating and removing barriers to the advancement of women and girls in STEM. She was recognized as one of the 36 women leaders from around the world to take part in the prestigious 2018–2019 International Women’s Forum Fellows Program. The IWF Fellow Program is a customized leadership training that includes executive education components at Harvard Business School and INSEAD. In 2019, Patience won the CEO Most Influential Woman in Business and Government in South Africa award. She also won the CEO Most Influential Woman in Mining in Business and Government in South Africa and southern Africa in 2019. In 2020, she was awarded the CEO Global Most Influential Woman in Government and Business in the mining sector for Africa.

Patience is a frequent global speaker who successfully represented key global events such as the Mining Indaba, where she launched the first Women in Mining luncheon in 2017, attracting industry influencers and keynote speakers including the Minister for Women in the Presidency and Senator for Western Australia. She was also a panelist at this luncheon, discussing the challenges of diversity and inclusion in mining. She is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the mining industry and helping women navigate the often-complex mining work environment to advance in their professions, especially in STEM-related fields. In 2018, she was a panel speaker at the Mining Indaba Conference under Mining Sustainability, discussing key issues such as how to bridge the trust gap between mining companies and communities.

Patience now spends her days as a sustainable development mining expert, helping to advance critical sustainable development goals for mining companies, ensuring they meet ESG metrics, and as an executive leadership coach for women in STEM. Her experiences in the mining industry and as a woman in STEM have sparked a real passion in Patience to use the trials and tribulations she has navigated throughout her career to help other women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. She uses her voice as a globally sought-after speaker to get more women, and more importantly, male champions, to help women in STEM unleash their superpowers.

As part of her Legacy Project, she will be launching her award-winning book in August, “Unleashing My Superpowers: How to Navigate and Succeed in a Male-Dominated Mining Workplace”. As part of her IWF Fellows Program Legacy Project, she also successfully launched a 100-day campaign that attracted over 30 successful global women in STEM and leaders, where she interviewed them on what it takes to achieve in a male-dominated work environment.

Patience holds a Ph.D. in Minerals and Material Science from the University of South Australia. Her Ph.D. was sponsored (under P523 AMIRA) by global mining companies that included BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Iluka Resources, Anglo Platinum, Cable Sands, Era Range Uranium Mine, Newcrest Mining, Outokumpu, Tiwest Joint Venture, and DeBeers. She subsequently published 10 international journals and conference publications and won several awards for the emergence of new knowledge that significantly improved sustainable water recovery in clay mineral waste tailings. Patience also holds an Advanced Management Program from INSEAD and an MBA from Wits Business School. A dear soul sister, she builds opportunities for all beyond the glass ceilings.