From a life-threatening heart condition as a small child, to surviving violent unrest in Zimbabwe and then starting school in country WA without knowing another soul – Tan Farquhar’s life journey is a story of incredible courage and determination. The first person in her family to go to university, Tan started her career in management consulting, but working with energy and resources clients sparked an interest in mining and prompted a career change with Rio Tinto at age 26.
As a young, female Superintendent working across Greater Hope Downs operations, Tan overcame people questioning her age and gender and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to quickly establish herself as a respected leader. She has progressed into a newly created transformational role of Principal People Empowerment supporting the deployment of Rio Tinto’s Safe Production System across iron ore operations. Tan is highly regarded for the interest she takes in team members and is a role model for other women in the business and a voice for women new to leadership roles.
She is involved in numerous internal initiatives including transferrable pathways programs and she founded Rio Tinto’s WA “coffee roulette”, which connects people throughout the organisation. Tan is the peer support champion for her division within Rio Tinto and an active mentor and advocate for female career opportunities and progression, through Women In Mining WA (WIMWA), the WA Mining Club Young Professionals and University of Western Australia (UWA) Career Mentoring.