Meet the Miners: Nathalia Gaviria Salinas from Colombia

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Young, brave, and adventurous Nathalia Gaviria Salinas made perhaps her boldest life decision when she moved to Australia in 2013, over a thousand miles from her home country, Colombia. Nathalia, who now works as a Sales and Technical Account Manager (PAM) with the BASF ANZ Mining Solutions team, has learnt a lot over the past ten years in Australia, and shares some of her highlights in this article.


It had always been Nathalia's dream to move away from her hometown in Medellin, to live in a different country, explore new opportunities and to live independently. In 2013 she did this by moving to a foreign land that she had never visited before: Australia. When she first arrived, Nathalia barely spoke English and felt far away from home and family; however, she had faith from the start that her new home would be a good fit for her. "I had a few priorities in mind when I first considered relocating – quality of life, job opportunities as well as personal safety, with Australia ticking all the right boxes."


However, things didn't get off to the best start, as the language barrier initially made it extremely challenging for her to pursue a career that suited her qualifications in Chemical Engineering. Never one to give up easily, Nathalia reassessed the situation and decided that working in the hospitality and F&B (Food & Beverage) industry would give her the best exposure and development for her English language skills. 


While working, Nathalia also decided to take the opportunity to further her studies, embarking and completing a Master's in Business and Project Management at the Asia Pacific International College in Sydney, which ultimately helped her to land a new role. "After I completed my master's program, I worked in ALS Tribology for almost four years. I started as a lab technician and was promoted to lab supervisor. My responsibilities were to test, analyse or make diagnosis of our clients' products and share the results with them," she explained.


Nathalia then moved to Brisbane to work with Ampol Australia as a Process Chemist for about a year before she joined BASF's Mining Solutions team. "I initially moved to Brisbane for a temporary relocation as my role with Ampol was on a contract basis. During my time there, I found a vacancy with BASF which fit my background and experience, and am now based in Brisbane," she added.


In the role of Sales and Technical Account Manager (PAM), Nathalia is the point person in managing mining customers, which requires frequent site visits and providing technical servicing and equipment examinations to ensure BASF's chemical solutions and thickeners are working as planned. This role also draws on her skills in account management, finance, commercial, administration, and planning. "Believe me, these are the things that I initially found difficult, as I did not have any experience in administrative tasks. Sure, I learned the theoretical part, but it was definitely different when it came to putting theory into practice," she explains.


Reflecting on her first year with BASF, Nathalia noted how open and supportive the organisation has been in helping her develop the skills required for her role. "Despite my diverse skill sets and career experiences, the colleagues at BASF have been very supportive and engaged in making sure that i succeed. I'm truly appreciative of the trust and guidance that i've gotten, which in turn has given me the confidence to excel at my job. As the same time, when I face difficulties, they have always gone the extra mile to help."


Having spent almost a decade away from her family, making her own path in her new home in Australia Nathalia now looks forward to visiting her family in Colombia very soon and has already started planning her homecoming trip. From what we've heard, we're incredibly motivated and in awe of Nathalia's agility, determination and resilience; proof that if you truly desire something, go for it and let nothing stand in your way.