Raleigh Finlayson, a COO at 31, a Managing Director at 33, at 38 he is the newly elected President of West Australian school of Mines Alumni, and Managing Director of Saracen Mineral Holdings. A mining boss born in boots on a station that his mine site is on now.
Despite all the heights he had scaled, Raleigh has stayed true to humble beginnings and states that his most memorable moments were at the School of mines, where he formed great friendships and bonds that lasted forever.
Interestingly the foundation of his great career also started out at the WASM when he started working right from the first year in the school from which he gained immense experience. He gives credit to his success to the right opportunities he took which came at the right place and right time. It is this winsome attitude that brought him more opportunities and inevitable got him to where he is today. Raleigh faced a lot of challenges in his career however he believes, it was all about making the right decisions, and proper planning. Advising young people stepping into corporate roles, he says the challenge is handling the expectations from people below and stakeholders above you, and perhaps even bigger challenge is to give oneself a break, focus on family too. He explains about those days when he comes home inexplicably frazzled and must figure out how to switch off from work and relax a bit.
For the newly graduated engineers his advice was to learn things differently and to get financial perspective, perhaps even study a bit of finance to know and gain insight on how things work in the bigger picture. He never underestimated the importance of culture one brings into the teams. His prime focus for his teams had always been working hard, working together and learning much more with each passing day. He also invests a lot of time Mines Alumni as he feels that the school’s contribution to what he is today are immense.
When asked about three major decisions in his career that defined it, he candidly replied that firstly courage and conviction about what you think, to stand up to your own beliefs will land you in situations that prove your mettle. Secondly he says, seeking advice and support will help young professionals, and finally he says young professionals must network and constantly try to up skill which will open new avenues for growth. Insightful as he is, with all his experience he said that as an industry, we might not be looking as great, with all the closing down of mines and loads of negative publicity. However he believed that the situation can and will turn for better.
His thoughts on diversity were also very pragmatic. He said that the biggest mistake is that they are targeting diversity in the board room. Their focus should not be on prescribed numbers; instead it should be the quality and value of the person coming onto the board without any bias in terms of gender or ethnicity. However promoting quality in young professionals will help many females and individuals from diverse backgrounds an equal footing while getting into managerial and corporate levels.
Raleigh Finlayson continues to bring immense value to this industry – and reflects the strong family values we have all come to know being WASM graduates.