OMA Kicks Off Centennial Celebrations

Posted on Thursday May 30, 2019

In 2020, the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), one of the longest serving trade organizations in Canada, will turn 100 years old. For an organization committed to improving the competitiveness of Ontario's mining industry, while promoting safety and sustainability, the centennial represents an opportunity to take a fresh look at the role of mining in our lives and in our province: the achievements, the people, the progress, the legacy. 

On May 28, OMA members and special guests, including community, government and industry partners, gathered for a gala evening to mark the start of the celebrations. According to OMA President, Chris Hodgson, "The success of Ontario mining is rooted in our members' drive to continually improve, and the achievements of our association depend on member engagement and strong leadership by the OMA Board of Directors. Today's festive gathering is the first of a series of events that will serve to acknowledge their contributions, connect our community, share their stories, and inspire future successes."

As articulated in a video unveiled at the gala, mining has always been about discovery. Not just the minerals we've discovered underground, but the discovery of how much humanity can achieve when we bring those minerals to the surface. OMA members and guests put their own knowledge to the test in a friendly trivia game with questions designed to make them appreciate the longevity and evolution of both the OMA as an organization, and the industry it represents. "The game set the tone for the year to come, as we want to spend it surprising ourselves and others with what we can create, and how much we've progressed as individuals and as an industry," said Duncan Middlemiss, President and CEO of Wesdome Gold Mines, and outgoing OMA Chair, who oversaw the planning of OMA's centennial campaign. "We want Ontarians to join us in discovering everything mining in this province has become. We want them to form opinions about our industry based on curiosity, discovery and engagement." The evening ended with an opportunity for the gala guests to discover the unforgettable and uniquely Canadian sound of Midnight Shine, a band with strong Northern Ontario roots and a heart of gold.

The next day offered more chances to learn and share big ideas at a 'meeting of the minds' designed to challenge and inspire the thinking of mining industry leaders. May 29 began with OMA's 2019 Annual General Meeting, which featured remarks by the Hon. Greg Rickford, Ontario's Minister of Energy, Mines, Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs. Minister Rickford noted how much he depends on the OMA and how pleased he was to attend the AGM as the 100th anniversary nears. He further pointed out that in the coming weeks the Mining Working Group will "attack major substantive hurdles," aiming to reduce the time to bring mining projects online.  "I am pleased to reaffirm the pledge to work with people on the ground at mine sites to find out what is and isn't working," said Minister Rickford.

The AGM Conference that followed included interactive discussion moderated by Stephanie Meyer, President, Stratos, and four keynotes (see speaker bios) covering topics of consequence to the mining community. Ken Hoffman, a Metals & Mining Sr. Expert for McKinsey, spoke about the impact of the global commodity outlook and emerging technologies on Ontario. Dr. Roger Strasser, Dean and CEO, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, addressed the role of mining as a partner in supporting sustainable communities, while Carol Anne Hilton, Founder & CEO, Indigenomics, presented compelling arguments for re-defining notions of success and building shared value. The conference ended with an insightful talk by Kristen Hadeed, who is part of a global team of influencers using concepts popularized by bestselling author, Simon Sinek, to ignite positive change in how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act and communicate. 

In her talk entitled This is Leadership: Cultures that Empower Millennials, Kristen presented ideas on how to attract and engage the next generation of talent, while empowering people to transcend their limits. As both a millennial herself and someone who has employed thousands of millennials over the last decade, she knows what it takes to succeed. Here's how Kristen sees it: "By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the working world. They are our future coworkers and our future leaders. Think they aren't ready? Think again. There's nothing remarkable about a new generation entering the workforce. It's a phenomenon that has always existed and always will. Now it's millennials. Next it will be Gen Z. After Gen Z, it will be Gen Alpha. The only constant is change, and organizations that embrace that fact and adapt, in the long run, will outperform the ones that don't."
"Given the popularity of Kristen's TED talks, her ideas are clearly resonating with a wide audience," said Duncan Middlemiss. "She certainly touched off a fascinating discussion today, as did the other speakers. Each in their own way, they sparked ideas that will influence our strategic thinking and help those present today make lasting, meaningful, and positive changes across our teams and organizations."

In all, the two days of events struck the right balance: acknowledging our industry's 100-year-old legacy of community building and efforts to become better at what we do, with our sights firmly set on the future. Thank you to the sponsors listed below, who made the gala, AGM and conference possible. Expect more exciting discoveries throughout our centennial campaign!