Building stronger communities with Stanwell

16 February 2022

Stanwell’s Marketing and Communication Coordinator, Karen Wall, has a genuine passion for seeing the communities we operate in grow and thrive – because they are her communities too. 

Karen began working for Stanwell in the Mining Operations team in October 2012, and while working as a Support Services Coordinator at Meandu Mine, Karen found herself gravitating towards communications and building relationships with suppliers and employees.

She was always drawn to looking for ways to promote the people who work at Meandu and the fantastic job they did, and so when a platform purpose-built for employee communications was introduced in 2016, Karen was given the task to assist in the publication of Meandu’s weekly internal newsletter and site manager update.

This platform also provided an opportunity for Karen to promote community events, as connecting people is one of her strengths.

“As I look back, I will be forever grateful for all the encouragement and support I have received over the years from past and present site managers, supervisors and peers,” she says. “It assisted my development of communication, relationship building and writing skills and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all those red correction marks.”

Through her external business studies with the University of Southern Queensland, which she began in 2016, she was heavily drawn to marketing and communication. It was through this growth she was able to step outside her comfort zone, and investigate alternative career opportunities within Stanwell. 

In 2019, an opportunity arose to join the Strategy and Engagement Community Relations team. “I’ve really found my passion in the stakeholder engagement space,” Karen says. “It can be tricky for stakeholders to navigate ‘big business’ and ensure their voices are heard in the decisions that are made. Lucky for them, I’m nice and loud!

“The simplest way I’ve found to describe my role is that I’m the connection – energy pun intended – between the community and our business. It’s important for Stanwell to know what our neighbours expect of us, and I’m always more than keen for a chat, so that certainly helps open the line of communication.

“The most common questions I’m asked when meeting new neighbours or community leaders are ‘Where are you from? Do you live here?’ Of course, once people know I’m a local and that my parents grew up in the region, it’s only a matter of seconds before we figure out what we have in common – schooling, friends, a passion for food! Having grown up in the region and raised my two girls here certainly helps me appreciate how organisations like Stanwell can contribute in a meaningful way. 

“My role provides me with the opportunity to ensure leaders from across our business get the opportunity to engage with the community, so they can meet people and build rewarding relationships as well. It is important to Stanwell that our communities  know the people behind our operations.”

Another part of Karen’s role is to identify worthwhile projects in the community and manage Stanwell’s Community Sponsorship Program and Tarong Community Partnership Fund.

“I feel very fortunate to be a part of projects and programs that make a genuine contribution to the community,” she says. “These projects are building social connectedness, leading to increased employment, improving access to critical services, enhancing educational opportunities, and building economic capacity, preparedness and resilience.”

Recent projects include the Farm 2 Fork Collective, Queensland Country Women’s Association and the Kingaroy Junior Cricket Association. 

Cameron Watson, Project Manager of the Kingaroy Junior Cricket Association – one of the successful applicants of the Round 1 2021/22 Tarong Community Partnership Fund – says Karen’s support has been much appreciated by the Association.

“This is more than a job to Karen,” Cameron says. “She is genuinely passionate about her community, and it shows. We can’t thank her enough for all her guidance, encouragement and support.”

A recent performance appraisal succinctly summed up Karen’s commitment to the community. “Thank you for liking people,” it read. “It shows in how much you care about your work, others and Stanwell.”

“This is my community,” Karen says. “Through Stanwell, I get to witness the hard work that community groups put in behind the scenes and be part of a story that is seeing the South Burnett thrive. I feel very fortunate to be in a role like this. It’s a pretty cool job!”