I always work for the result
Anna Glushkova is not afraid of difficulties and is ready to work without a break for sleep and food to achieve her goals. It is not surprising that, having started her career at Polymetal as a sampler, Anna became the chief engineer of a gold recovery plant in Chukotka at the age of 26. Another recognition in the profession was the victory in the award “Talented Woman in the Extractive Industry” in the nomination “Leader of the Future”. In her interview, our heroine shared her opinion about stereotypes in the profession and her plans for the future.
— Anna, what prompted you to choose the specialty “Mineral Processing”?
– There was no goal to enter this specialty, it happened by accident. There were no miners in my family at that time. I was planning to go to the Energy Institute for Applied Informatics in Economics. Then everyone wanted to become economists, lawyers, customs officers. There was no such competition for mining specialties then, it was possible to enter the budget without any problems.
— What university did you study at? What vivid memories are left from student life?
– In the Mining Institute of Chita State University (recently it was merged with the pedagogical institute and renamed trans-Baikal State University). I think any student life is quite rich, there were many memorable moments. But, probably, the brightest thing is our first training practice. She was introductory, in her first year at a fluorite enrichment factory. Probably, it was not the best object where to go.
After visiting this factory, probably not everyone would want to work in the mining industry. It was in such decline… And in general, at that time there were few successful enterprises. Now the industry is on the rise. At the time I enrolled, there were two groups of 20-30 of us, and after the first year, many were expelled. And now I am receiving another education in absentia – Open Mining, and this time there are 160 of us on the stream. That is, mining specialties are popular.
— Your first job is as a sampler at Polymetal’s facility in the Khabarovsk Territory. How did you end up in the company?
— My brother worked in the Khabarovsk Territory and he brought my documents to the office of Polymetal. After some time, I received a call and was offered a job as a flotator. At this time, I was studying for a master’s degree and could not immediately go, I needed another month to defend my master’s thesis. And during this time, the vacancy was closed, but I was offered a job as a sampler in the technical control department. Naturally, I did not refuse, I wanted to work in my specialty, and for me it was a step forward. Therefore, without any hesitation, I agreed and went to the Khabarovsk Territory.
— How did your colleagues meet you? What was the job?
– Our team was friendly, we met well. I was the youngest there, my colleagues were constantly supportive. But in fact, it was difficult, the profession of a sampler can not be called female. It’s more physical labor. You take samples, bring them to the “cutting”. There they are dried, cut and transferred to the laboratory for analysis. Now they are trying to accept men for this position. Still wear heavy buckets.
— Your career advancement is impressive. Six months later, they became a master technologist, then a shift supervisor. And at the age of 26, you became the chief engineer of a gold recovery factory. Was it difficult to lead people, many of whom are older than you?
– Yes, of course, there were difficulties. I think any young leader has faced this. In general, subordinates who were older were very respectful. There were, of course, people who took it painfully, believing that they were smarter, since they had more experience. But after a month or two, everything got better: colleagues saw that, despite my little experience, I know a lot, I understand my business, and I have a desire to understand even better.
– And how do your subordinates address you – by name-patronymic or by name, but to you?
“Everyone turns to me Anna Petrovna or “Petrovna”(laughs). When I was a technologist, Anya called me the chief engineer of the factory Sergey Barikeevich. But this is understandable, I was suitable for him by the age of his daughter, and by position he is allowed.
— How was the production process organized at the factory where you worked? Have new technologies been introduced? What was your involvement in that?
– It was a new factory, which was launched in 2011. And I came there as an operator just at the moment when the commissioning process was underway, the second production line was starting. New automation was introduced, there were many sensors, the chain was almost completely automated, all information was displayed on the monitor. With the click of the mouse, it was possible to stop, start the equipment, monitor the indicators, performance.
But, of course, together with the specialists of the company “Sinetik” we participated in the process of setting up new equipment. The main algorithms were provided, but we came up with some new “chips” on the automatic operation, control of drying drums and condensed product supply pumps. That is, there were many moments that were refined to make life easier for operators and apparatchiks.
— Now you are engaged in technological support of the investment project for the construction of a processing plant at the Veduginsky field. What is your job today?
— My main tasks are to coordinate the main technological, planning solutions, the choice of equipment. It is important to provide for all the moments in order to minimize the “alterations” that begin during the start-up and adjustment of the plant.
— What characteristics will the new factory have? What technologies will be used on it?
— Now everyone is striving to develop projects where the negative impact on the environment is minimized. In our case, the main production waste is enrichment tailings. Previously, almost all processing plants stored waste in tailings ponds of the liquid type. And in this factory, the tails will be dehydrated on the filters, semi-dry storage will be applied. Of course, this is not the first factory where such warehousing technology will be used, but nevertheless it is worth noting.
– It is generally accepted that it is more difficult for a woman to make a career in the mining industry than for a man. Do you think your case is an exception to the rule, or are the rumors that the extractive industry is the territory of men greatly exaggerated?
– That’s true. Here it is necessary to explain that the extractive industry is large. It is clear that there are areas that have long been “female”. For example, the hr department, the personnel department, the accounting department, the technical control department, the laboratory. It seems to be the extractive industry, but women are normally perceived there. But when it comes directly to production – factories, quarries, geological survey, there is an advantage for men. And that’s still the case. I don’t know if that will change in the future, but I really hope so. In the next ten years, probably not until a generation changes. And the stereotypes of the same men will not change.
Do you agree with these stereotypes?
– I believe that if a person likes what he does, then there should be no difference whether it is a woman or a man. Although there are such professions as, for example, a factory mechanic. In my understanding, this is probably not a women’s profession. Of course, there are women with an extraordinary mindset, and they understand some basic points, but how the gearbox works, how it transmits the rotation to the crown gear, what spare parts need to be replaced and after what period, how to interact with locksmiths, men still know better.
Although at the award ceremony I was surprised that, it turns out, women can hold such positions as deputy chief mechanic. It’s a fantasy, in my opinion. Therefore, I will not be surprised if women succeed in mechanical service.And in order to manage the staff of the factory, it is not necessary to be a man. It is enough to have the desire, knowledge, experience and willingness to take responsibility for your team.
You said that you did not have an example of relatives in the mining industry. What about your family? Where does your husband work? Do you want your children to repeat your life path and also associate themselves with the extractive industry?
— Yes, my husband and I have the same profession. We met him in Chukotka, and now he works as a site manager at Bystrinsky GOK at MMC Norilsk Nickel. We have one daughter. I believe that she should choose her own path, and in no case am I going to impose mining. I understand that this is not an easy profession. There are and will be difficulties, here you need to be a fairly stress-resistant person. Of course, if she herself is interested, I will help. But for now, she wants to become a dentist. I don’t know how it’s going to go.
— How difficult is it in your profession to combine family and work?
– It all depends on the mutual understanding of the spouses in the family. In families where a woman, in addition to work, cooks, cleans, and watches the child, and the man only works, of course, this is difficult. But when there is a distribution of responsibilities, then I personally do not see problems. My parents and my husband’s parents always support us, ready to come at any time from another city. Of course, when you need to go somewhere on a business trip to the site, and the child stays with grandparents, you still yearn. Well, to make it get in the way, no. It all depends on the person, if you want to go forward, then you can cope with everything.
How did you feel when you found out that you had won the Talented Woman in Extractive Industries Award?
What did I feel when the results were announced? In my nomination, they immediately said that there would be two winners. And when they started calling names, the first one wasn’t mine. At this point, I was a little nervous, I had time to think: “Okay, so this is how it should be.” And then they called my last name… I experienced the brightest emotions: a sense of recognition, joy, happiness.
— What do you think, due to what achievements and qualities of character did you manage to win the competition and achieve success in the profession?
– The first is dedication. More dedication. I am such a selfless person that when I need to do something, I can stay awake for days. I come to work not because I need to work a salary of 8 hours a day, but because I have certain goals and objectives that the manager has set. I always work for the result and with pleasure.
– Your nomination is called “Leader of the Future”. What do you think it should be? What kind of person is this?
– In my understanding, this is the person whom they are ready to follow, for whom people feel like behind a stone wall. Everyone who has worked with me knows that I am not afraid to take responsibility and do not let my own offense. Another leader is someone who motivates people to go forward. Well, it should be a competent specialist who is ready to share his experience.
— What tasks do you set for yourself for the next 5-10 years?
Of course, all ambitious executives want to become at least a technical director, and I’m no exception(laughs). I also enrolled in Open Mining for self-development purposes in order to gain additional knowledge that may be useful to me. I don’t know what lies ahead of me or how much the direction of my work will change. Therefore, I expand the range of my competencies. My goal is to lead the enterprise, to become a manager not of the middle, but of the top level, to become a “big boss”(laughs).