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Ceclie Wake our 2016 Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources

Top ‘women in resources’ award for QGC executive

Cecile Wake
She narrowly missed selection for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but QGC’s top female executive Cecile Wake received a gold medal at the Queensland resources sector’s annual International Women’s Day Breakfast today.

Cecile, Growth Director for QGC’s $20.4 billion QCLNG Project, won the Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources category in the 11th annual QRC/WIMARQ Resources Awards for Women, sponsored by Rio Tinto.

Cecile has mining and resources in her DNA.

As a child, she followed her PhD father around mine sites in Australia and Papua New Guinea and spent many hours with him at UQ’s Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre at Indooroopilly after school.

‘My father passed away in 1984, when I was 13 years old, as a result of a motor vehicle accident,’ said Cecile.

‘My experiences with him inspired my career choices and I have spent the past 20 plus years working in the resources industry – both as a lawyer in private practice in Australia and internationally and in senior commercial and executive leadership roles at QGC and BG Group.’

Cecile began her career in 1995 at Clayton Utz in Brisbane where she spent seven years working on some of Queensland’s leading resources projects.

During this time Cecile also represented Australia at seven World Championships in the modern pentathlon.

‘Balancing the physical demands of around 30 hours a week of training and international competitions with my professional commitments at Clayton Utz was hugely challenging but also infinitely rewarding,’ said Cecile.

Although she achieved a top 20 world ranking in her sport, Cecile narrowly missed selection for the 2000 Sydney Olympic team.

‘While this was a crushing disappointment, it also marked the start of two really exciting career developments - a 12 month secondment at Origin Energy and moving to London in order to gain international oil and gas experience,’ she said.

It was in London where Cecile met her husband and, in 2010, with two children and husband in tow, Cecile returned to Australia as General Manager Commercial at QGC.

‘The opportunity to be part of the leadership team delivering the world’s first coal seam gas to LNG project in Queensland, my home state, was utterly compelling,’ said Cecile.

‘It is a world-class project being delivered in Queensland and has given me the opportunity to grow and develop new skills and leadership attributes to succeed in a completely different operating environment to the law firms where I spent the first half of my career.’

Cecile was promoted to Vice President Commercial in May 2012, and in September 2014 was awarded a scholarship by Chief Executive Women to attend a two-week Executive Development Program at Wharton Business School in the United States.

In December 2014 Cecile was appointed to her current position and in addition to her QGC directorships, she also serves on the boards of UQ Sport and St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School.

‘Australia is a nation blessed with huge mineral and hydrocarbon resources, which provide energy security and the building blocks not just of our economy, but also for the way each of us lives in the modern world,’ said Cecile.

As the most senior woman at QGC, Cecile is a sponsor of the QGC Women’s Network and plays a leading role in setting the QGC diversity agenda and in implementing a program with a particular emphasis on high-potential and professional women.

‘I have been fortunate to work in organisations that supported my ambitions and aspirations, provided opportunities to grow and take risks and which rewarded my efforts, however, it is not sufficient to simply be a beneficiary of that support,’ said Cecile.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the awards and breakfast celebrated and showcased the depth of female talent in Queensland’s resources sector, while providing industry ambassadors and mentors, particularly for their female colleagues and women and students thinking about entering the resources field.

‘The long-term future of our sector relies on attracting and retaining the best people to keep us at the forefront of innovation as we compete in a global market,’ Mr Roche said.

‘A workforce with people from diverse backgrounds, including a better gender balance, is critical to supplying the workforce of the future.

‘The attendance of about 800 people across the state today at breakfasts to witness the presentation of these awards is a clear demonstration of our sector’s continued commitment to its goal of at least 20 percent women in non-traditional roles by 2020.’

The awards were presented by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Grace Grace, QRC President Stewart Butel and WIMARQ Chair Heather Parry.

More than 500 people attended the Brisbane event, while a further 300 watched proceedings via live webcast at breakfasts in Blackwater, Mackay and Moranbah, Mount Isa, Ernest Henry Mine and Townsville.

Click below for the full stories on our other category winners and for video clips.

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