It's an Inside Job

Pioneering Diversity: Ana Gabriela Juarez's Impact on Mining.

November 27, 2023 Jason Birkevold Liem Season 4 Episode 22
Pioneering Diversity: Ana Gabriela Juarez's Impact on Mining.
It's an Inside Job
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It's an Inside Job
Pioneering Diversity: Ana Gabriela Juarez's Impact on Mining.
Nov 27, 2023 Season 4 Episode 22
Jason Birkevold Liem

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Feeling inspired by stories of resilience and determined to make a difference in a male-dominated industry? What if you could learn from a trailblazing professional who has overcome significant challenges and is empowering others to do the same? If you're ready to be inspired and empowered, this episode is for you.

In this episode of the It's an Inside Job podcast, host Jason Lim introduces Ana Gabriela Juarez, a resilient and determined professional from Guatemala who has made significant achievements in the international mining sector. Ana's story is an inspiration, as she has been recognized as one of the top 100 most inspirational women in mining globally and serves on the board of a mining company on the Toronto Stock Exchange. She has also founded a non-profit called Women in Mining Central America, which empowers women in the male-dominated field of mining.

Imagine breaking barriers and empowering others in your field while maintaining resilience and determination. 

By listening to this episode, you can:

  1. Gain Inspiration from Ana's Journey: Learn about Ana's personal and professional experiences in the mining industry, and how she challenges misconceptions and promotes proper environmental practices.
  2. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Discover the importance of diversity and inclusion in male-dominated sectors, and learn about the efforts of Women in Mining Central America to empower women.
  3. Build Resilience and Overcome Adversity: Hear Ana's stories of overcoming personal challenges, embracing failure, and finding strength and positivity in difficult times.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Inspiration and Empowerment: Draw inspiration from Ana's journey and learn how to empower others in your field.
  2. Practical Insights on Diversity: Gain practical insights on promoting diversity and inclusion in traditionally male-dominated industries.
  3. Resilience Building: Learn strategies for building resilience, embracing failure, and learning from mistakes.

Learn about breaking barriers, promoting diversity, and building resilience in both personal and professional life. 

Bio:
Ana Gabriela Juárez, a distinguished Guatemalan professional, has left an indelible mark in international mining. Recognized for her leadership in empowering women in mining and her educational initiatives in Central America, Ana Gabriela was honored as one of the Top 100 Most Inspirational Women in Mining globally in 2022, a first for Guatemala and Central America. She also made history as one of the first Central American women on the Board of Directors of a globally listed mining company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Contact:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ctaanajuarez
Website:  http://www.cta-consultoria.com/
Book:  http://anagabrielajuarez.com/

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Feeling inspired by stories of resilience and determined to make a difference in a male-dominated industry? What if you could learn from a trailblazing professional who has overcome significant challenges and is empowering others to do the same? If you're ready to be inspired and empowered, this episode is for you.

In this episode of the It's an Inside Job podcast, host Jason Lim introduces Ana Gabriela Juarez, a resilient and determined professional from Guatemala who has made significant achievements in the international mining sector. Ana's story is an inspiration, as she has been recognized as one of the top 100 most inspirational women in mining globally and serves on the board of a mining company on the Toronto Stock Exchange. She has also founded a non-profit called Women in Mining Central America, which empowers women in the male-dominated field of mining.

Imagine breaking barriers and empowering others in your field while maintaining resilience and determination. 

By listening to this episode, you can:

  1. Gain Inspiration from Ana's Journey: Learn about Ana's personal and professional experiences in the mining industry, and how she challenges misconceptions and promotes proper environmental practices.
  2. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Discover the importance of diversity and inclusion in male-dominated sectors, and learn about the efforts of Women in Mining Central America to empower women.
  3. Build Resilience and Overcome Adversity: Hear Ana's stories of overcoming personal challenges, embracing failure, and finding strength and positivity in difficult times.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Inspiration and Empowerment: Draw inspiration from Ana's journey and learn how to empower others in your field.
  2. Practical Insights on Diversity: Gain practical insights on promoting diversity and inclusion in traditionally male-dominated industries.
  3. Resilience Building: Learn strategies for building resilience, embracing failure, and learning from mistakes.

Learn about breaking barriers, promoting diversity, and building resilience in both personal and professional life. 

Bio:
Ana Gabriela Juárez, a distinguished Guatemalan professional, has left an indelible mark in international mining. Recognized for her leadership in empowering women in mining and her educational initiatives in Central America, Ana Gabriela was honored as one of the Top 100 Most Inspirational Women in Mining globally in 2022, a first for Guatemala and Central America. She also made history as one of the first Central American women on the Board of Directors of a globally listed mining company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Contact:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ctaanajuarez
Website:  http://www.cta-consultoria.com/
Book:  http://anagabrielajuarez.com/

Support the Show.


Sign up for the weekly IT'S AN INSIDE JOB NEWSLETTER

  • takes 5 seconds to fill out
  • receive a fresh update every Wednesday

Transcript


[0:00] Music.


Introduction to It's an Inside Job podcast


[0:09] Welcome back to It's an Inside Job podcast. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
Now, this podcast is dedicated to helping you to help yourself and others to become more mentally and emotionally resilient, so you can be better at bouncing back from life's inevitable setbacks.
Now, on It's an Inside Job, we decode the science and stories of resilience, into practical advice, skills, and strategies that you can use to impact your life and those around you.
Now, with that said, let's slip into the stream.

[0:37] Music.


Introducing Ana Gabriela Juarez: Resilience in Mining


[0:46] Welcome back to the podcast. My name is Jason Liem and this is an Inside Job. On this week's episode, I am privileged to introduce you all to Ana Gabriela Juarez. She's a remarkable, professional from Guatemala who embodies resilience and determination in the international mining, sector. Ana's story is a testament to the power of perseverance and leadership in the, face of challenges, making her a perfect fit for our focus on sharing stories of resilience.
In 2022, Anar achieved a significant milestone by being recognized among the top 100 most, inspirational women in mining globally, becoming the first Guatemalan and one of the earliest Central American women to receive this prestigious accolade.
She also made history as one of the first Central American women to serve on the board, director of an internationally enlisted mining company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

[1:38] She has over 15 years of experience leading environmental projects in the mining and energy sectors across four continents.
Anna currently serves as the President of the Canadian Operations at CTA, an environmental consulting company based in Guatemala that operates in 19 countries across four continents.
Her commitment to gender empowerment in the mining industry and dedication to environmental social sustainability, epitomize resilience. But also in today's episode, we will also delve into her personal life, where a few years ago, she broke her wrist and thought she would just go in for a normal operation. But on the operating table, she flatlined. And how that experience changed the course of her life, changed her focus. So in today's episode, Anna will share her stories of resilience and equanimity both on the professional and the private front.
So now let's slip into the stream with my conversation with Anna.

[2:35] Music.

[2:46] So hello everyone, my name is Ana Gabriela Juarez and I'm thrilled to be here on this podcast.
So I'm a passionate Guatemalan environmental consultant working in the mining industry.
So if people don't know where Guatemala is, we're a really small country next to Mexico.
I've been working in, yeah, as an environmental consultant over the last 20 years. I've worked in four continents and I've dedicated really my career to creating sustainable solutions for the mining sector and also a bit on the energy side. I'm the founder as well of a non-for-profit called Women in Mining Central America where I work as a volunteer empowering women in a traditionally very male-dominated field and really trying to change also the narrative of the mining industry because I think there's people sometimes don't understand the importance of the sector.

[3:38] I also have several hats and one of them is as well as a non-executive director in a board of a mining company based in Jersey in the UK and I was also president of another company called A2J Minerals based here in Toronto and I've really had the privilege to contribute to the growth and transformation of these companies. I embarked and I think we will touch on that a bit as well later recently on a journey as an author. The book was published last week and it's a book that is there to inspire girls, basically, and getting them into STEM and mining. And it's called the Adventures of Anna, Anna's Adventures at the Mine. And I'm really a firm believer in the power of education, equality, and innovation. And I'm excited to discuss this topics with you guys further on this podcast.


Introduction and Background of Ana Gabriela Juarez


[4:34] On this podcast, we try to get diverse voices to speak to the ideas and share stories and skills on equanimity and resilience. And I think your story is a very fascinating one.
As you said, you sit on a board or you are part of, I don't know if it's an NGO, but Women in Mining in Central America. Can you tell us a little more about what that is?

[4:56] Yes, it's an NGO that I started two years ago. So it's a non-for-profit and it's really a dynamic and forward-thinking organization dedicated really to advancing gender diversity and inclusion within the mining industry. Really specifically at the beginning was targeted into Central America and the Caribbean region. So Central America coming from Guatemala to Panama and you know the Caribbean islands. It has expanded in last year much more than that just because of the.

[5:27] Innovative ideas and initiatives that we have started, including some of its kids programs and educational programs that we have done. So that has been maybe one of our most impactful endeavors that we started since we started two years ago, because we really believe that the knowledge is really the key of empowerment and I think in our region there's a lot of a lack of of education.
There's people that don't even graduate from first grade. So we really need to educate and empower.
We are also very matista culture, right?
Spanish.
So we really need to change the perspective. And we hope that during the programs that we develop, including the Kids' Mineralogist Club, that right now we have reached around 2,500 children in this last two years in more than eight countries.
We really can hope that it helps change and shape the minds of the future.
It's a free educational program that we do.
We hope that this inspires them, especially girls as well, to explore the world of also mining.
That is the area that really I'm passionate about, and minerals.
And it encourages them to think that there's more than being at home, a mom at home.
That is not, like I'm a mom as well, but I think, you know, you can dream bigger and you can contribute as well in another way to your family.

[6:55] I have two daughters of my own and I'm constantly encouraging them to think above and beyond sort of the traditional, if I can call it this, women's roles in society.
I treat them exactly the same way I treat my son. You know, I'm constantly encouraging the science and the critical thinking and the mathematics and look beyond the pigeonholes that we sometimes put genders into. And I think it's so important.
Maybe we could rewind.
And I'm just curious as to, Ana, how you got into that as a Guatemalan into the mining sector in a culture that tends to be very male-dominated in a sector that tends to be very male-oriented.

[7:38] Yeah, it's interesting. I think I am and I've seen my story maybe reflect in many other women.
And I think but then we are also a small part of it. And I think that's why we need to, you know, think bigger and not in, you know, widen up our, you know, reach. But I was so I have been working at a family business for the last 23 years. My parents started this business in Guatemala 23 years ago and at that time the mining industry was, you know, starting to bloom in our region, in our country as well in Guatemala. We had the first mining operations in Guatemala in the 1990s and maybe 1970s. We have a really rich countries, we have a lot of nickel, we have gold, we have silver, you know, copper. So, but it took a bit in that time really to really.

[8:36] Get, see that we had potential in our region. And also the prices of, you know, the minerals were not the best. So really the mining started in the 2000s, early 2000s. So that's when we started, you know, to work with the mining industry as well. So I started really because of my parents. And it has been really great. I mean it's been, like I said, in Guatemala we are quite new in mining so I think a lot of people are not aware what really mining is, what it means for our society, what it means not to have mining as well, what it would do to our way of living that we have right now if we wouldn't have mining. I think a lot of people when I tell them that I'm in, you know, that I work in the mining sector, they like, you know, they look at me like okay why mining? You know that that is you know pollutes that's one of the first things they tell me and then I'm telling me well I'm an environmental consultant working with them and then they even look even look at me even more you know why is an environmental consulting consultant working in the mining industry but I have really learned to see that the mining industry um, can be done right and a lot of them need to do it right because they get a lot of financing.

[9:51] And they need to you know show them that they will you know it won't go to waste that people are not going to reject the project and they will have to close it up right. So I think there's so much potential I mean of course there's a lot of barriers and large systemic issues it doesn't really have sometimes to do with the sector, but how we as women were sometimes taught and grown.

[10:16] You know in the society. The man is the man you know the head of the house, he's the one that is going to the income, we as women have to stay home and you know be the ones that take care of the family. So a lot of the times this is the thinking. In my case we were not like that. My family is a family business. My mom was always working alongside my dad and I jumped in as well quite early on. So I didn't really think this, I didn't even see this as an issue until a bit later on when I was really moving up on the ranks and I really and now when I hear stories of women, it is a struggle sometimes to work in the industry just thinking that sometimes the mining sites are not close to home and they have to travel long distances to be there and that makes it that you, you know, that they have to leave on a Monday and come back on a Sunday, or sometimes even, you know, 14 days off and then seven days home.
You know, whatever the way they do it in the specific companies.
So it can represent a struggle and a challenge for moms specifically, I would think.
But I think at the same time.

[11:23] We don't say the same thing about a doctor, right? They also have long days. So I think it's just because it's also really tied to how people think about it. I remember once I was invited on a podcast and a guy told me, you're in mining? I imagine a person in mining and I imagine a guy wearing a helmet full of dust, you know, with this pickaxe and, you know, that's not the way it's done anymore. You know, we have this misconceptions of what a specific industries are and what they represent and how the work is done. And now it's completely another thing. Everything is remote. Everything is, you know, so I think there's a lot that we need to change, but that's how kind of I got into into mining as a Guatemalan.

[12:08] It sounds very fortunate that you had very forward, progressive thinking parents. And And so, you know, your mom and dad, they were sort of your role models, especially your mom, that this was, you just took this as a given, this is naturally what I can do.
And that you broke past any sort of traditional narrative that we would assign to whatever of male or female.
That narrative never sprang to your mind. As you said, as you climbed through the ranks, as you gain more experience and knowledge, you said you started to experience some of these things that went against the narrative that you always thought was, you know, all women must be progressive, like myself, like my mom. Can you maybe share some of your one of those first experiences where you kind of saw this?

[12:53] Like, um, I think maybe I remember one occasion where I went to a mine site. I'm a, I'm a girly girl. Let's say it like that. Put it like that. I have been a tomboy too. I like, like, you know, the sports and whatever, but I like to dress up with my colors and like, really girly as well, more if I have to wear boots and helmet. I really like to see that they can see that I'm a female. So I remember my first boots that I got for the field were purple.


Embracing Differences and Overcoming Challenges as a Female in Mining


[13:22] And I remember I entered, it was lunchtime and I entered the cafeteria. They have this huge beautiful cafeterias there at the mining site and I remember everyone looked at me.
I was one of the few females and boots I thought okay, why is like everyone looking at me and then one of the guys afterwards, oh yeah I saw you from far away with your purple boots and that's when I really think something maybe also it's not common to have purple boots but I think it also kind of sunk in I was so different than everyone else right and I think that's where I realized okay Yeah, I was really maybe we were maybe two or three women there.
And then when I I like like said, I maybe came through my mind, but I really didn't put attention to it as much when I kept climbing.
And now that I'm, for example, on a board of a mining company, I do realize that I'm the only female.

[14:18] And everyone are white males as well. So I'm the only Latina, you know, brown women and then I'm.

[14:26] 20, 30 years younger than them as well. So I mean you do realize it, thank God. I don't think it's a bad thing. I think you have to take that opportunity, you know, and pull everyone with you that you can with you on your arm. Use it as that and then at the same time you have great great mentors there as well, right? Their age and you know, they're wise and you can learn so much from them. So I don't see it as a bad thing. I see it as an opportunity for me to grow and but at the same time, I know that everyone is looking under me and seeing that I hope that I don't fail because it, might close the door for everyone that's you know, hoping to be in my position at some point later as well. As.

[15:05] You said, you you're relatively young. So there's an age difference, right? You're you're you're talking to obviously a gender difference, and that's starkly shown in just the industry you are in. And so that would speak to that you've had to build up a level of courage and confidence to walk in those shoes that you do walk in purple work boots or whatever they are. But you know, for young women listening to this, they may not be particularly in their mind, they could be almost in any industry or any discipline. And they're thinking I'm coming up in the game, it's very male dominated, And they may not have the most positive or constructive narrative about themselves.
They may see themselves as diminished compared to those around them who maybe are male, who are very knowledgeable, very experienced.
What advice, Ana, would you give to these young women trying to come up in whatever discipline they're trying to come up through?

[16:04] I mean, I think everyone has those feelings. I had them too. I do remember when I got the email that my first time, you know, for even for the interview to be able to be at the board, when they were inviting me to be at the board, they had and I remember I was trembling. It's, not like you're like confident and you know it all. Of course you don't. More when I saw that everyone on the call was older, tons older than me. And you know, English is not my first language either. So, you know, you just have to, I think, get the courage and try it out. I think people saw something in you and that's why they took me into consideration. If they wouldn't, they, you know, you wouldn't even been on their list. So I think sometimes, I mean, I think I've heard And I've been reading that I think women, most of the times to access a position, like if you want to apply for a position, they want to be 110% prepared.

[17:06] Men sometimes with 50% of the qualifications needed, they go for it.
So I think it's this female thing that we have of, OK, I have to over prepare to be sure that I'm complying with whatever I need to do.
And I think we are prepared.
It's just that sometimes we don't see it. So I think in that in this case I felt a bit under prepared as well but I thought okay if they're seeing it in me I just I have to give it a shot right and they have been great mentors. One of them really took me under the wing like the chair of the board completely took me under his wing and has been mentoring me through the process.

[17:47] Which has been great. It's been really a great growth for me and an opportunity.


Having the Courage to Take the Bold Step


[17:55] So I think you have to give yourself the chance as well. So I think you just have to, I would tell everyone, all the women that are listening, to have the courage to try it out, you know, give the bold step, try it out, you know, raise the arm. I think you have to do that to be able to to move forward. Yeah and so would you recommend sort of taking a chance where there's not huge consequences like sort of.

[18:23] Pick the low-hanging fruit first just to kind of build up some sort of tolerance to doubt and to to move into those kind of harder and harder experiences?
I mean I definitely started it was not like I went on you know my first board that was the one, um I started um maybe before that my first board was maybe 12 years ago before that one so I, started in an association um because that the the board I'm sitting on right now is a paid board from an international company that has operations worldwide and is listed in the TSX and the Toronto stock exchange, so it's a public company as well. So I prepared myself for that and I had little positions. I started in, and I remember in an association of exporters in Guatemala where you know I started in this little board and I started you know writing up everything everyone was doing and slowly I went up. I ended up being the president of that organization as well but But, you know, you have to build yourself to be there because you cannot from day one to, you know, go and do whatever.
You have to, and then prepare yourself. I did study a lot. I did take courses.
I knew at some point it would lead there. I didn't think it was going to be so quick as it did.

[19:42] But I did prepare myself as well.
And so moving into certain things, you know, sometimes when we try experiences, we will flop, we will fail, we will flounder in a sense.
I mean, what advice would you give to a young woman or a young man coming up in the game where they're afraid of failure, they're afraid of making a mistake because they may think that they'll be labeled as incompetent or not knowledgeable enough.
How should young people sort of embrace failure or just making mistakes?
I mean, what did you do as a young professional coming up?
I think, I don't know who hasn't made mistakes, but I think we all have.
But I think that when I face adversity or when I, you know, see something I'm reminded always that it's always part of the journey that we're in and that path is really defined not by the difficulties we face, but how I've overcome them.

[20:49] And then really we have to try to embrace those challenges or those problems that we have in our way, And use them to strengthen us to transform us and to give us the growth that we need to, Um, and i've faced quite a lot of them as well. It's not like you always do everything, right?
Um, so I think we need to breathe, And think okay how i'm going to use this. What do I need to do to not make it happen again, right?

[21:15] So it's very important to stop, reflect, try to pull the lessons to learn from that experience, and not just to, I mean, we can feel bad for a while if something went bad.
But what I hear you saying is that you've pulled from those experiences to try to, to fortify yourself to create more tenacity moving into the next experience.
Is that what I understand? You draw from your experience?
Yes, 100%. in everything you do, right? Life experiences, but also challenges that you have directly at work. And I know that at some point we will talk about my life challenges that I've had, because I've had quite a few as well. And I think that has made me realize that I needed to, to do much more than what I was doing.
Yeah, I'd like to circle back to the life challenges in a sec. I just want to sort of connect what we talked at the trailhead of this conversation about women in mining in Central America, your NGO. So you're teaching a lot of young girls, I guess in school and such, to infuse them with the idea that there is much more than just being a mom or house wife. And there's nothing wrong with that, but there's much more to that if you wish to go down that road. When you're building the, course curriculum or the information in that NGO, what you teach, do you draw a lot from from your own experiences, what you learned as a young woman coming up through the ranks of science and mining and just being a professional woman yourself?


Identifying Gaps in Education and Inspiring Change


[22:45] Yeah sure 100% and I think mostly of what I didn't learn because in Guatemala because we were not a mining country as well we didn't learn about mining, we didn't learn about minerals, we didn't learn barely about soil sciences. So I think I saw a lot of gaps that I personally had as well and that I felt that you know when I now that I live in Canada and I see that some kids do receive it and I think that has definitely and now that I have a son as well I see that he is learning and I think that has inspired me and I've been putting those pieces together right okay what I'm missing what I'm seeing that people get somewhere else in other parts of other countries and how can we do to strengthen the kids because it's not just girls but also boys right and getting into just to stem and into into mining. So we have three pillars we work on education and we work on advocacy so getting to people understand and know why mining is important and then as well the gender piece of course that is even already the women that already work in mining how we can do or not working in mining how we can do for to retain them and to grow them and advanced in the career and that of course has to include mining and mentorship. In my case, one of my big mentors apart from the little board experience that I've had has really been my dad.

[24:12] I think he has been my number one supporter. Even before I go into my board meetings now, because he also serves on several boards, I go to him and I'm like, okay, this is what is happening.

[24:24] You know, what is your thoughts? Because he is an environmental consultant as well, right so he knows all that is so I've really tapped on his experience and his knowledge and I think I've gotten the confidence that where I'm thinking is the right path and right track, and I think we need those those mentors those people that cheer us on on the side.

[24:44] Music.


The Journey of Ana Juarez: Empowering Women in Mining


[24:50] Organizational resilience, company resilience, team resilience is greatly fortified through, gender diversity and inclusion.
In part one of this episode, we delved into the remarkable journey of Ana Juarez, the, founder of the NGO Women in Mining, which is dedicated to advancing gender diversity and inclusion within the mining industry.
Ana firmly believes that knowledge is the key to empowerment, and her work as an environmental consultant in the mining sector showcases her as a role model for what other women can achieve in traditionally male-dominated fields.
When asked for advice to offer young women entering male-dominated industry, Anna emphasized the importance of taking chances and finding the courage to seize opportunities.
She encouraged women to start with small steps to build their confidence and to prepare themselves through reading and taking courses.
Additionally, Anna stressed the significance of finding a great mentor to guide and support.

[25:50] One's professional journey.
Regarding the topic of embracing mindsets, adopting that learner's mindset, Anna's, perspective was truly insightful. She highlighted that the path to success isn't determined by the difficulties one encounters, but rather how they overcome them.
Drawing from personal experience and actively planning to apply lessons learned are key components of growth and resilience in the face of challenges, in the face of, adversity. Anna's wisdom and her dedication to promoting diversity inclusion in the mining industry serve as an inspiring example of empowerment and determination. Now as we slip into part two of this episode I asked Anna what was one of the life challenges that really shaped her and she shares the story as I said at the top of this episode where she broke her wrists quite severely and she had to get operated. And on that operating table she flatlined and when she woke up and someone told her what actually happened, it, fundamentally reshaped her perspective. It became Anna's wake-up call to fully, take account what was truly important in her life. It was her second chance.

[26:58] Music.


Moving to Canada and Family Challenges


[27:07] If we move on to your life challenges, could you pick one of your life's challenges that kind of really shaped who you are today, you know, and how it has strengthened yourself to make you more resilient and as the person you are today?
I think if I think of, I cannot think of one thing, but I think of a time. So I moved to Canada. I was raised part of my life in Germany and then in Guatemala. And then after I started working in the family company, we grew quite a lot. And one of the offices, our fourth office was established here in Canada. So I was at the age and time where I thought, OK, I'm ready to move. I had a partner, I had a son, and I thought, okay, let's move to Canada. So we moved six years ago now, and I remember a bit after coming, I felt that everything family-wise was falling kind of apart, and I thought, okay, I think I might need to, you know, separate and get a divorce.

[28:10] But then at the same time, just after we decided that, you know, it was time for getting a divorce, my partner broke his leg, his Achilles tendon, and I thought, okay, my God, this is a really bad timing. And then a week later, I broke my wrist. And so it was like, you know, everything at the same time happening. And I had to go to a big wrist surgery because I broke it really, really bad. Like basically my arm, like my hand was hanging. Wrist surgery. And while they were doing the surgery, I flatlined. My heart stopped and they had to resuscitate me.
Me. And I think like during I didn't see nothing, nothing like I woke up, I was crying, because I remember was in tons of pain.
But I really didn't know what really happened till like, some days later, that I saw the doctor again. He said like, No, yeah, we like we had to sound alarms. blue code, I think it is. And it beeped, right? You know, you were dead.
You're flatlined, as you said, right?
And but you like, you don't understand it completely tell like people really tell you what really happened, right?


Reflecting on the Impact on Her Son


[29:18] And I've thought, you know.
Well, so many ideas came to mind. First, I thought about my son, right? What would have happened if my son, because I had just separated as well during this process.


Living in the Present, Ignoring the Future


[29:34] Had not even a will. So I didn't even think about the future. And I think a lot of the.


A Life-Altering Change and Rethinking Priorities


[29:43] Partner-wise things that were happening as well, I think I needed to make that change really quick and I needed to get out of it. So I think it made me really rethink everything about my life, what I was really what I was doing. I really was enjoying my work. I loved what I was doing, but I think I needed this higher calling or purpose as well in my life and I needed to give back somehow as well. I felt that that was part of my calling and so that's how I started really women in mind in Central America as well. And that was born around a year after. It took some processing time to get everything settled and all my ideas in place to be able to do that.

[30:24] But I think that has been one of the craziest life challenges that I've had, not just for me, but also for my family, for my son, because it did leave a lot of, you know, I still have some heart issues, I still have some problems. So you do see it as a, I saw it as a second chance too, right? Okay, this is, I'm not dead, so this is my chance. If I die tomorrow, what did I do?
What is my legacy? So I think that made me change completely my chip on my head and it made me do things differently.
It sounds like life sent you not just one curveball, but multiple curveballs and that kind of just left you kind of spinning, dazed and a little confused. But what it sounds like, you saw the positive spin to it. It really awakened what you truly burn for, the values.
And as you said, it was to build an NGO, to give back, to contribute to something more than yourself. Is this is this what I understand that this period of time, this lesson brought to you?

[31:35] Yeah, 100%. I mean, this moments have really not just shaped my path, but have been really powerful reminders. And I'm a Christian, so really a powerful reminders of the grace of God in my life and on my family and it's really during this trial sometimes that we are refined you know and that it allows us to emerge stronger and more resilient than we have before and sometimes I think it has helped me also to look at life as a glass half full instead of a glass half empty and sometimes the secrets of these rocks on your path and mirror life itself, there's often something good hidden in this hard stuff that you go through.
And so every bad day has really given me experiences every worst days valuable lessons and the best days, good and cherished moments as well.

[32:35] I mean, those that's a very well articulated I am not a religious man myself, but I understand the strength of faith, the faith in a higher power, if that's your belief system, or faith in yourself, or faith that you will come through it.
And I think as you said, you know, it's half glass full, half glass empty.
It is also about reframing it, because, you know, a lot of us can be hit by life's challenges and they can be a tough curveball like you felt, you know, being actually flatlined just to go in for wrist surgery.
I mean, I technically wouldn't have made, I mean, I wouldn't have made those connected those dots. But that just shows you sometimes there are some craziness that we don't see coming at us. And it speaks volumes to your mindset, the ability to go through such turbulent and trying times and come out stronger on the other end. Not that it was all about positive thinking and such, but it sounded like you had to truly reframe it. It really awakened your values again, Ana, and that allowed you to build an NGO and to contribute in a much bigger way than you did previous to that. But it also showed that it strengthened the faith that you have in however you define faith.
Yeah, I think sometimes when you're going through them, I don't think you realize it.
Sometimes you just, you know, feel like you're sinking and sinking and sinking.

[34:03] So sometimes it's hard to, you know, get the head out and try to look at the big picture.
Now I understand a lot of those stuff I needed to go through to be able to be where I am. I think I think I've been hearing like podcasts about resilience as well and I always hear about you know, diamonds need to go through fire to be able to, you know, rocks need to go through fire to be able to get a diamond, to be diamonds, right?
Or how is it the other one is like grapes need to be crushed to become wine.
But it's like these little things that you have to sometimes to go through.
If you don't have never experienced anything, how can you relate to anyone?
Everything has been quite nice and easy, then you'll never be able to sympathize with no one.


Finding Strength and Appreciation in Difficult Times


[34:53] If everything's easy, you cannot sympathize with anything that someone has gone through.
So I think it's made me, I think, also appreciate everything more, like my son more, like my family, my parents more. So you really, really rethink everything during these difficult times because I think a lot of you lose so much, right? The only things that you really have is your family and maybe your close friends if you didn't lose them during that process too. So I think it's a hard process to go through but I think it does reshape your strength and transforms you as well.
You know, going through something like that can be a form of trauma because it really shakes you, right? It really shakes you down but it sounds like you kind of...
It sounds easy, but obviously, this was an evolution of your mindset, but you made sense of it eventually going through the months and months that you did to recover and to recuperate.
What really resonates with me, what you're saying Ana, is that we go through life and we have routines and after a while, we start taking things for granted.
But then something on a Tuesday afternoon hits us, it just T-bones us and we become tourists in our own life, right?
And we're sitting there, and I think COVID was a big thing on a global scale, right?
All of a sudden, everything was taken away from us.

[36:17] And we couldn't even go to the movies, as simple as that, just to sit in the movie hall to see a great movie, we couldn't do that.
And becoming tourists in our own life in a way is a good thing, because it really wakens us up.
And you have said it so eloquently, that how it's waking up to what truly value.
You saw your son in a more vibrant way. You wanted to contribute and add and give back.
And obviously, that's contributed to your life. I mean, the dividends from all those efforts and initiatives, investments you've made to other people, obviously, we can walk around at the end of the day and feel really satisfied, even if it's been a tough, hard and long day.

[36:57] I think also one of the things that has helped me in this process is having the family's


Giving Back and the Journey of Writing a Book


[37:03] love. I think if we wouldn't have that support system around us, I think it is easy to fall completely through the cracks. So I think having that strong support system and of course in my case my faith I think made me go and go through that and I think because of all that love that I received by people that sometimes I didn't think were so close to me, I think makes you want to give back the same way as well, right? And you had one of the people you interviewed before, my friend Tania, with the book you're writing and I really thought, okay, I really want to participate in this book as well because I want to help give back. And if I can do it through my testimony, you know, it's, I mean, it's not the nicest testimony that I have, but I think it's It's a way of showcasing that it doesn't matter where you are in that process, you still can thrive and do well.

[38:06] If we could just shift the conversation now, because I would like to explore, you are a recently minted author, and your book, The Adventures of Ana in the Mine, was just, I, think, recently published.
I don't know if it was a couple of months ago, a couple of weeks ago.
I was wondering, maybe you can speak a little around that. I think that's a very interesting angle or tangent you've taken in your career.

[38:29] Yeah, so the Adventure Savannah really started as an idea of a bit of what I said at the beginning, right? I am an automata, I'm an environmentalist working in mining and I really thought, okay, I really didn't know about any of this when I was young. So that's kind of the idea how it came to life and then I thought also we need some like more literature for kids that we were educating so they can read and keep learning about mining and minerals and STEM sciences.
So really this book is a book that inspires children to take, and basically a lot of them girls, through a journey into the world of mining. It's really a tale, like a tale.
It revolves around Anna, that's me, and that is a determined, curious young girl.

[39:21] And it embarks in this incredible adventure alongside a courage group of friends.
All these friends that I got into the story are real characters as well.
And there are women from around the world.
So I have a lady from Saudi Arabia that's a geologist. I have a chemist from South Africa, a lawyer from the Dominican, a mining hall famer, a geologist from Canada, and a lady from health and safety from Chile.
Chile. And we are all part of the story. Of course, we became cartoons in the story.
But at the same time, I wanted to make it relatable to see that there's really, women working in the industry as well at the end. So alongside this group of friends, Anna explores.

[40:07] Really the hidden secrets of magic and mining realm. And they discover the beauty of the minerals and the importance of the mining industry in the daily life and it really encourages the ideas really that it encourages children to explore their passions, conquer them as well because they have to conquer some challenges through the story and it also breaks stereotypes right that you know we go through that as well right that this is mining it's really just for man no it's not for man.
And to dream big and realize they can really make a difference in the world and in an industry as important as mining. So it's been a really interesting book and so I wrote it in Spanish. The idea really came maybe a year ago but I started really like putting it on paper on around May and it was published last week. We published it in Spanish and English at the same time on Amazon worldwide. We hit in that week 32 bestseller lists, number one bestseller lists around the world. Right now we have it already been translated into Arabic, into Portuguese, and hopefully as soon as well on into French. So that will come on as well. And I think that.

[41:30] That has been a really exciting, a bit nerve-wracking without sleep kind of last month.

[41:38] Because you know this is my part like my volunteering work apart from my real-time work that's environmental consulting but it's been really incredible to see so many women that could relate immediately to the story and say like oh my god I want this to like give them away in our schools. I want this to give them to my grandkids. I want this to get to my daughter.

[42:02] You know, so many and not just mining people that work in industry that is similar to mining as well where it's very male dominated. So I really, really enjoyed seeing how well the story was received really worldwide. What I like to ask a lot of authors is what they learned about themselves during the process of putting a book together.
What did you learn about yourself, Ana?
I learned myself that I need a team. I cannot do these things by myself.
You need more people. You cannot do these things. But no, it's so much work.
I mean, we have the cartoon, then the illustrator, then, you know, then I hired a coach that helped me through the process of, you know, how to develop the idea of the book and how to make it you know impactful at the end as well because you don't just want to write a book you want to make it you know give it a higher purpose as well right.

[43:02] And then I hired an editor and you know so there's so many pieces and parts that you need to put together that you need a tribe to make these things happen. I'm the author but behind me there's so many people that had to believe in me, believe in this vision that I had, and walk with me through it. So it's been, yeah, I think that is, I think, most, one of the most valuable lessons that I've learned through this process. Do you think you would embark on the journey again to write a follow-up or another book?
Yeah, so the idea is that we write a series of books. Okay, okay. Yeah.
So that is the idea. I really am still feeling a bit of fever, feverish because of all the work that I just went through.
So I think I will take some rest for a bit and then embark on my next adventure.
But yeah, that's the idea that we have a series of books that, you know, go back in time and see, you know, how I'm Guatemalan.
So we had the Mayas, for example, and they were miners too, you know, thinking of the Egyptians or so many other cultures.
And so travel around time and space. And I think that I would like to put into the story as well.

[44:20] So there's already some ideas and but nothing started because we just launched this book.
Yeah. I mean, how long was the process in itself? I started in May really to put down my ideas of what I envisioned for the book.
May 2023?
Yeah, May this year. Oh, okay, okay.

[44:40] And so it was really a short time. It's a kid's book. So it's a, I have it here. It's.

[44:47] It's a thin book. It's like 100 pages. So around 12,000 words. It's not too long, because it's thought for kids around 8 to 13 years old. So it's 12,000 words. It's not super long, but it is, you know, had tons of work in itself too. But it came to life right now since, let's say, end of May till now. So that's really the time that I put down pen and, you know, and we really started working on it. One of the first things I really thought about, you know, the main plot and objectives and I got my cartoonist and I think as well at the beginning because I needed to visually imagine everything to be able to to draw the story, right?


Writing Concisely: Art and Science in Itself


[45:30] Yes, yes, yes. That's a very interesting journey. I just didn't know it was only a few months.
That's quite an incredible achievement, accomplishments in such a short period of time.
Most authors I've talked to, I understand it's a short book, but you know, sometimes even writing a song, like Sting used to write a song, a three-minute song, he is very articulate.
He can capture the essence in so few words.
But the ability to write in so few words, it's an achievement just in itself, right?
Because you can fill lots of words in a book just to fill it between the covers.
But to find a succinct way to tell a story that has impact but is also makes people curious, I think that's art and science in itself.

[46:18] Yeah, I mean, the book has 100 pages, 104 pages, so it's not a super short book.

[46:23] But I think definitely, you know, the thing is...
I am the type of person that really needs to see come things come to life and more now that I saw you know time is short sometimes you can't be sure so I think I needed to see this through, and so like I said I really had a lot of nights where I was working through the nights to be able to get this done and that's why I think it went uh on a really short time because also it's a a tool for us, right, with our kids club.
So we needed this tool as well as part of our work for the not-for-profit.
No, it's definitely been a process.
I've grown, really, and I'm incredibly confident in really my belief in God's plan, really, for my life.

[47:12] And really knowing that you can't have a testimony without a test, like I mentioned before.
And life really challenges you, but it set me on a path of transformation and to become what I am right now.
Anna, we're coming close to the top of the hour. I'm very respectful of your time.
Is there any last advice or suggestion you would like to leave with my audience today when it comes to resilience, equanimity, and this transformation that we all go through?

[47:43] I would just think to say that like my story, my family is not a wealthy family. We come from a family that has had a lot of immigrants going, you know, illegally immigrants as well to the United States. So we are not from a family that is wealthy. We didn't start off like that. But I think when you have a path and a, you know, on mind, in mind, and you really work hard to get there, I think you can survive, but it also requires a lot of education, right, and hard work.
So I think you have to put, you know, all the, everything on its place to make that path and the journey that you envisioned make it happen. In my case, I'm really confident that everything that has happened in my life, like I said several times, is because of God's plan for my life, and I hope that it will help and do everything that I envisioned that it does for all the people that are hopefully touching with whatever I'm doing. And I think that also is a testament for my son, right? To see, you know, his mom is unaccomplished. He saw what we went through, right?
And I think that I hope that as it inspired my son, it can inspire as well other people.

[49:05] Well, Ana, thank you very much for joining me today on It's an Inside Job.
I really appreciate you sharing your being vulnerable and sharing your story with us today because I find it very inspiring and hopefully there's just one thing that you, said one sentence that can help just give a person a little little boost to take the next step in the direction they want to go to give them the confidence the courage.
I hope so too Jason and I'm really happy to have been here and I really appreciate your time and your meeting.

[49:36] Music.


A Profound Wake-Up Call and Second Chance


[49:52] Table served as a profound wake-up call, causing her to reassess the priorities in her life.
This second chance has transformed the challenges she faced into powerful reminders of resilience and strength.
These trials have not only refined her but have also provided valuable lessons, helping, her to adopt a positive outlook to life, seeing it as half-full rather than half-empty.

[50:17] She believes that sometimes life's hidden treasures lie within the difficulties.
Furthermore, having a strong support system, especially her family, played a pivotal role in keeping her afloat and propelling her forward.
A personal thank you to you Anna, from me, for sharing your time, your knowledge, and your experience, and your vulnerability.
It's highly appreciated. Folks, if any of you wish to get in contact with Anna, I will leave all her contact information in the show notes, and I highly recommend picking up her book, The Adventures of Anna in the Mind. It's aimed at inspiring young readers to embrace the STEM subjects such, as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and of course, mining.
Well folks, here we are at the finishing line of another episode. Thank you for joining me and allowing me to be part of your week. If I may ask for a call to action, if you could suggest, recommend, and ask people to subscribe to the podcast, to colleagues, to family members, to friends, you would be doing me a huge favor to spreading the word of equanimity, resilience, and sense of well-being.
And until the next time we speak, the next time we meet on this channel.


Introduction to It's an Inside Job podcast
Introducing Ana Gabriela Juarez: Resilience in Mining
Introduction and Background of Ana Gabriela Juarez
Embracing Differences and Overcoming Challenges as a Female in Mining
Having the Courage to Take the Bold Step
Identifying Gaps in Education and Inspiring Change
The Journey of Ana Juarez: Empowering Women in Mining
Moving to Canada and Family Challenges
Reflecting on the Impact on Her Son
Living in the Present, Ignoring the Future
A Life-Altering Change and Rethinking Priorities
Finding Strength and Appreciation in Difficult Times
Giving Back and the Journey of Writing a Book
Writing Concisely: Art and Science in Itself
A Profound Wake-Up Call and Second Chance