LUCARA MD GETS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
- Lahri is ranked among the world’s 100 inspiring women in mining - “The youngest female to run a successful diamond mine in the world,”- The New Yorker
Describing herself simply as a Motswana woman from Moshupa, the Managing Director (MD) of Lucara Diamond Corp Botswana Naseem Lahri has proved to be more than that by becoming the first young Motswana woman MD of a diamond mining company.
She continues to amass recognition in the global mining sphere and is - beginning last night (Thursday night) - ranked among the top 100 inspirational women in the global mining industry by the Women in Mining UK (WIM), which produces the “100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining” (WIM100).
The nominees are announced every two years by the global publication that celebrates the selfless contributions of women to the global mining industry across all roles, seniority and jurisdictions.
Lahri’s academic qualifications, a Masters in Strategic Management (BCOM, FCCA), and industry experience have transformed her into an accomplished executive well-groomed to run, successfully at that, a diamond mining company. She has directed various boards of leading organisations in Botswana, including serving as a Director of the Debswana Pension Fund (DPF), Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) and Pula Medical Aid (PMA). She currently serves as a Director at First National Bank (FNB).
“These various board positions have helped make me a relatively seasoned leader,” Lahri narrates in her inspirational letter to the WIM UK committee. “One of my proudest achievements is building an amazing leadership team and together we have broken all company and local records since the inception of the operation. This is at all levels, including safety, production and finances. We have implemented the first digital mine in Africa.”
The diamond miner also states that the achievement provides the operation with a tool to pro-actively deal with problem-solving and looks at predictive and preventative maintenance. Speaking to the bravest moment in her life, she states that it was leaving her job at Debswana Mining Company, “the employer of choice in Botswana,” and move to, at the time, “a small mining company that was in production for less than a year”. “This was my leap of faith,” she attests. “It landed me the job that I have. I moved to a more progressive organisation that saw my potential.”
As for the most exciting moment of her job, Lahri reveals that it occurs every day because the diamond industry is a key income generating industry in Botswana. “Every decision that gets made at the corporate level has a direct impact on the bottom line of the company and country,” she says. “It’s the best job in the world to have an opportunity to change someone’s life daily. This for me is very exciting and gives me the opportunity to improve or impact people’s lives daily.”
The mining industry is one of the most volatile but also provides the most meaningful moments. “We have added to diversity in the communities of interest to ensure that the communities we work in are sustainable beyond the life of mine,” she says.
Being from a local community, it is not surprising that Lahri has inculcated traits of integrity, respect and responsibility into her team alongside the technical achievements, thus making them “very people-focused”.
Lahri’s accolades far precede the landlocked confines of Botswana and her performance in the industry has led to her being mentioned in global publications such as Forbes Magazine and The New Yorker where she was labelled as the youngest female to run a successful diamond mine in the world and a trailblazer in the industry.
“I am often asked to speak at conferences and am involved with the Government of Botswana to build the Botswana Diamond brand, which is unique and advocates the Botswana model as the blueprint for the world to use,” Lahri notes. “My performance in 2019 has led to me being selected as Best Corporate Leader 2019.”
“I actively participate in community upliftment projects and am currently actively advocating against Gender-Based Violence through the company and as an individual,” she states, adding that during this time as the world grapples with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, she has spearheaded a campaign that raised food items to donate to the needy, assisting 500 families in Botswana.
This year WIM UK received 1,100 nominations for 626 women in mining working at 356 companies, the highest number of both nominations and the number of women nominated received since WIM launched the publication in 2013. The 4th edition of the WIM100 is being sponsored by BMO Capital Markets, Boston Consulting Group, IBM and Heidrick & Struggles.