Kendra Johnston officially stepped into her new role as AME President and CEO on June 13. As a true geologist at heart, one of Johnston’s first orders of business was to suggest a field trip.
She called Michael Goehring, who was appointed President and CEO of the Mining Association of BC (MABC) earlier in 2019, and Alec Morrison, President and CEO, Mining Suppliers Association of BC (MSABC), to invite them and their staff to travel to the Kamloops area to experience a snapshot the mineral and mining life cycle from start to finish.
“The trip was partly a staff retreat but also an opportunity for the four new staff that joined AME earlier this year to visit some of our members in the field,” said Johnston, “I wanted to help the staff build a clearer understanding of what our members do and how we can support them.”
Between August 20-22, a group representing the three associations toured Teck’s Highland Valley Copper operations, including the impressive core shack, and visited the Kal Tire retread facility in Kamloops to see one of the mining suppliers in action. They also headed out to Westhaven Ventures Inc.’s Shovelnose project to see a grassroots exploration project and toured the gravel quarries on Sumas Mountain. AME Vice President, Regulatory and Technical Policy, Rob Stevens, hosted the group at his property on the outskirts of Merritt one evening for a campfire and BBQ to simulate an exploration camp setting and allow the group to enjoy the social benefits of field work. You can view a full summary of the trip here.
In addition to helping her staff gain on the ground experience, another of Johnston’s goals for the trip was to align the three organizations more closely by building new relationships and discussing how to collaborate in the future.
“We really need to put a united foot forward,” said Johnston, “Often, members of the general public and even our colleagues in local and provincial governments don’t fully understand the differences between mineral exploration and mining. The mandates of our three associations are so similar, we are often more effective together.”
Another important collaboration Johnston supported during her first 100 days is the BC Regional Mining Alliance. She travelled to Beaver Creek, Colorado, US, in mid-September to attend the 2019 Precious Metals Summit, to support AME members who were promoting BC projects at the Summit and to help build the BC brand. Johnston also joined Doug Donaldson, BC Minister of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and leaders of the Tahltan First Nation at the signing of the Klappan Plan in Iskut, BC.
Johnston attended her first AME board meeting as President and CEO on September 3. Although she has been in the leadership role at AME for a just few months, she is far from a stranger to the association, having occupied numerous volunteer roles including Director, Executive Director, Chair of the Board, Chair of the Roundup Committee and serving on numerous committees including the Finance Committee.
“I learned so much by seeing the AME board meeting from a new perspective and by taking part in the preparation,” said Johnston. A major accomplishment at the September meeting was approval of the Annual Work Plan and Budget. This was a proud moment for Johnston, who directed a comprehensive revision of the accounting and budgeting procedures during August, along with a full review of corporate controls.
“My goal was to streamline the accounting and budgeting procedures to ensure clear account tracking and transparency for the board and finance committee,” said Johnston.
One aspect of the role that Johnston has found challenging is planning for Roundup. In her previous roles as a volunteer with the association, she was closely involved with developing content for the associations’ biggest event. But, as President and CEO, she said she has “taken a step back to oversee the event at a higher level and to focus on the financial and political aspects of Roundup 2020”.
Johnston is already fulfilling her personal mandate to forge strong connections with AME members around the province. In her short time as President and CEO so far, she has attended the 2019 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Cranbrook and while there, took the opportunity to visit the East Kootenay Chamber of Mines, and the Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC in Nelson. She has also attended meetings in Victoria and participated in the Kamloops Exploration Group (KEG) Golf Tournament. She passed through Smithers on her way to the Klappan Area and has firm plans to visit Terrace, Smithers, Kamloops and Prince George before the end of January 2020.
Johnston and the AME communications team also launched the “AME for Explorers” video campaign in August, designed to showcase the pride and diversity of AME members on the big screen at Roundup 2020.
“Show us how proud you are to be an AME member in a short video,” said Johnston, “See you all at AME Roundup 2020.”