Emerging Leaders - Asuka Kagawa

5 May 2015

Asuka Kagawa’s (Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) ’97) engineering career has taken her to some of the most remote and exotic corners of the globe.

Her journey started at Mount Isa Mines, before heading off to work in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Spain and Canada. Now back in Brisbane, Kagawa has come full circle to the place where her journey began when she enrolled in engineering at UQ.

As Manager, Investments, for Rio Tinto’s Energy product group, her role covers the link between the business’s commercial and technical departments. She says a highlight is mentoring the next generation of mining engineers.

“As an engineer, it’s really pleasing to find a balanced outcome for the community or implement a smarter way to work, but it’s even more rewarding when someone you’ve trained or mentored achieves this,” Kagawa said.

“When you plan for someone else to take your role, you approach your work in another way – as was the case in PNG.

“You share information differently; you make sure you aren’t the only person that could do a task, and it results in a more sustainable way of working. There was a transition period, but it was great to see local PNG mining engineers taking on more leadership roles.” Kagawa’s role is also helping to encourage more women into mining and engineering careers.

“One of the ways we are doing this is through UQ Women in Engineering, a partnership with the Australian Power Institute, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and Rio Tinto,” Kagawa said. “We are promoting a career in engineering to female high-school students and their parents by removing some of the stereotypes and highlighting the many career path options.

“In the future, we will have to be more creative and collaborative as problems become increasingly more complex. We need both smart and caring women and men to take on this challenge and I’m really pleased to be part of this journey,” Kagawa said.