With International Volunteer Day on Dec. 5 and Miners Day on Dec. 6, the Nevada Mining Association put together this spotlight on Samantha Faga, an employee at Kinross Gold’s Round Mountain Mine north of Tonopah who has devoted herself to making Nevada’s communities and the mining industry stronger.
Samantha Faga has always been about helping people. She lives by what can only be described as a creed of kindness. For her, it’s not about being the smartest person in the room, but the most approachable, empathetic and understanding.
That creed charted a path for Faga that brought her to where she is today. As Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist at Kinross Gold Corporation, she is responsible for developing, championing, implementing and managing the company’s charitable donations, volunteerism, sustainability and community programs. But Faga’s thirst for making the world a better place doesn’t stop at the end of her workday. In her spare time, she is PTO president, her daughter’s class advisor, and is a member of the Round Mountain Town Board.
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As a mother of four, Faga is drawn to making a positive impact on Southern Nevada’s young people and helping them succeed. Working for Kinross, she saw firsthand the growing number of high-paying jobs available in mining and scholarships offered by the industry that students rarely applied for. Faga partnered with Jobs for Nevada’s Graduates (J4NG), which allowed her to visit students at Basic High School in Henderson and local student job fairs, connecting them to these opportunities and resources. The efforts were so well-received that Faga and Kinross Gold will visit every high school in the Las Vegas valley during the 2022-23 school year.
Under Faga’s leadership, Kinross forged several partnerships with groups focused on improving the lives of Southern Nevadans. This includes a collaboration with the Nevada Mining Association to kick-start Mining Vegas for Talent, a program that connects under-represented populations in the valley to mining careers. This past fall, Faga facilitated a career fair for Kinross Round Mountain, a mine located about four hours north of Las Vegas, resulting in nine people gaining employment, and in some cases, breaking generational poverty.
Last fall, after Faga learned of an opportunity to support local Army and National Guard veteran Todd Payton, his wife Wanda, and son Erik, she coordinated Kinross’ participation in the FOX5 Super Build in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas. Kinross volunteers joined local community partners to build a home from the ground up for the Payton family. Not only did this make the Paytons’ dream of owning a home a reality, but also provided a space complete with accessibility modifications. This allowed Todd and Wanda to live together with and safely care for their son Erik, who lives with cerebral palsy. Faga also coordinated efforts for a second partnership with FOX5 to renovate a playground at W. Wayne Bunker Family Park, ensuring local kids have a safe place to play. Construction wrapped in late July.
These are just a few of the many ways Faga lives her creed of kindness in her personal and professional life.
How does Faga help to create a better Nevada?
Faga goes above and beyond to drive positive change in Las Vegas and across the Silver State.
She served as Kinross’ Medical Assistant and Health and Safety Coordinator prior to her current role of CSR Specialist. During that time, hearing conservation was a major focus to protect workers with occupational noise exposures from hearing impairment. As a certified CAOHC Hearing Conservationist, Faga wanted to increase employee interest in partaking in the vital preventive medicine service. She got creative, implementing a meditation class that incorporated hearing conservation training elements. This increased employee participation by 75%.
This creativity, combined with her kindness, makes Faga an unstoppable force in the community. Faga has worked with several nonprofits in Las Vegas, volunteering approximately 200 hours in the past year alone. Faga has also volunteered more than 500 hours with NyeCC, SWCREDA, Reno Rodeo Foundation, Dress for Success (Reno Chapter), VFW (Tonopah Chapter) and Western Shoshone communities. She has dedicated herself to mentoring young people and bolstering Kinross’ charitable, volunteer and sustainability efforts, too.
For nearly 10 years, Faga has trained almost every class of Kinross new hires at Round Mountain Mine. She not only introduces them to the world of mining, including free health and safety programs, but also how they can get involved in making the surrounding communities like Las Vegas even better places to live and work. Faga believes that a career in mining can be life changing and wants to share the opportunities mining can bring to all Nevadans.
Faga also works with the communities she serves to prepare for the future once Round Mountain Gold is no longer mining in Nye County. Faga works to develop legacy plans with Nye County schools and nonprofits to implement sustainable approaches to their programs and plans to secure funding and resources after the eventual closure of the Round Mountain Gold Mine.
Some background information on Samantha Faga:
Faga attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then went on to earn a Medical Assistant and Phlebotomy certificate from Pima Medical Institute.
In 2009 she began working for the City of Henderson, where she served as an Inclusion Coordinator for more than a year, responsible for creating content and implementing activities at the City of Henderson recreation centers. Faga joined Kinross nearly 10 years ago as a Medical Assistant. With Kinross, she has served as Health and Safety Coordinator as well as Industrial Hygiene and Safety Coordinator. Faga is also a Mine Safety and Health Administration blue card safety instructor and is passionate about giving miners all the tools for a healthy and successful career.
Faga truly believes in the core values and guiding principles that Kinross operates under, which is Putting People First: evaluating social, environmental, and economic outcomes to make the most impactful positive outcomes. Faga believes youth are the key to our success in Nevada, and by bridging the gaps between our industries in Northern and Southern Nevada, we can create a thriving, sustainable future.