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Leslie Maple underground

Leslie Maple, Barrick's USA manager of communications and corporate affairs, guides a tour of the Cortez Hills underground mine.

For a strong work ethic and leadership in her field, Leslie Maple with Barrick Gold Corp. was recognized this month with a 40 Under 40 award in Las Vegas. The award honors professionals in Southern Nevada who demonstrate community service, an entrepreneurial spirit and have an impact on their respective industries.

Barrick Nevada President Michael Brown nominated Maple, the only mining professional among the honorees.

“It’s an honor, and I enjoy getting that recognition for the company,” Maple said.

The former Elko resident earned her degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno, and has lived in Nevada for all of her 39 years. She joined Barrick as a training planner at the Cortez operations about eight years ago and worked her way up to become the manager of communications and corporate affairs with the communications team based in Henderson. Through her role at Barrick, Maple seeks to educate people about modern mining and support the community.

What was your role in helping develop the company’s community relations strategy?

We had begun working on, in conjunction with the Nevada Mining Association, helping the state understand the business of mining and how it contributes to the economy and the importance of mining. Through that work we identified — we being my boss Michael Brown and the leadership at Barrick — that in order to help people in the southern part of the state where mining is not tangible that we needed to have a presence here. At the time we planned to open a small office that would house about 30 information technology professionals. It has just grown since them.

Through that Barrick has a corporate social responsibility policy. The company’s philosophy is to support the community. I have a dual role in that I manage communications, and I also do a lot of community outreach here to support our host community. So once they decided to put the office here, I worked really closely with Michael Brown who is Barrick’s regional president to continue the strategy we already had for supporting Southern Nevada and to grow it, and make sure it supported the community outreach program that was engaging our employees as well.

Since the office opened, some of our leadership in Toronto decided that we would grow the office so now we have, in addition to our IT staff, folks from supply chain, people from finance and payroll, and we recently expanded and opened CodeMine 2.0 here in Henderson. Everyone here supports the global operation.

Michael Brown nominated you. How does it feel to be recognized by your boss in that way?

That’s always appreciated. Michael is a great boss, and he is usually good about providing good, constructive criticism and support, and always acknowledging when I or other employees do a good job. But it’s still nice to get that more public recognition as well.

Why are the organizations that you and Barrick support important to you personally and professionally?

One of the main groups I support, and I actually serve on their board, is Communities in Schools. That’s an organization that I was exposed to prior to working for Barrick in Elko. I think it’s such a great program because our state continues to struggle for issues in education, and they look at each child [having problems and find the root cause]. The program is great because they put a coordinator who can really manage, talk to those kids, to figure out what those problems are and then help find support for them through community programs. It’s great because it lets teachers [focus on teaching] and connects students and the parents to the services they need so the kids are successful at school and beyond.

Even though I don’t have children, I think education is so important for all of us because the kids today really are everyone’s future. So for them to get an education and be successful is really beneficial for everyone in our community.

Also for Barrick, our company recognizes the importance of education and keeping really qualified students and graduates in the state. The company supports education from all levels, starting at the preschool level with our support of Communities in Schools up through the university system and our support to Great Basin College, University of Nevada, Reno, and UNLV.

I also serve on the board of the McCaw School of Mines. The McCaw Elementary School here in Henderson is actually a magnet school that focuses in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] with an emphasis on geology. Several years ago, the principal decided to reference [Henderson’s history as an old mining town], and they built the McCaw School of Mines Foundation. On the property of the elementary school, there is a model underground mine, and the kids from the elementary school get to be the docents and give tours of the mine. They learn a lot about the mine, the history of mining and minerals that are produced in Nevada. It’s one of the only free tours that is offered to the Clark County School District, and it’s offered up to the fourth-grade level. Teachers can sign up and bring students at no cost through the mine, and they get good STEM education about minerals and mining, and importance of mining to everyday life.

What are your goals for the future in your role?

My goal is to continue spreading the word about mining’s importance to the state. I also think it’s important that our staff be recognized: all of the hard work of the people at the mine sites out in Elko, as well as the teams that are here. Helping people understand that the work they do is important to everything we enjoy in modern day life is a goal of mine — helping people really understand modern mining and move away from that historical view to help the community understand that mining is a modern day, tech-forward industry and a great industry to work in.

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