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Hello my name is… Sherrill Norris

August 25, 2021

Sherrill Norris, human resources business partner in Newfoundland and Labrador, joined our company in May 2021. Photo: Sherrill Norris

Welcome to an occasional series in Vale News called Hello, My Name Is… where employees and leaders from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. share personal experiences, tips and insights on a variety of topics. This week we meet Sherrill Norris, human resources business partner, supporting our operations in Voisey’s Bay, Labrador. 

As we all know by now, a lot is happening at Voisey’s Bay with the mine expansion project. Of course, more work means more job opportunities – which also means lots of recruitment and a larger workforce to support. Sherrill, who joined our company in May, is very impressed with the ramp up and the Human Resources team, which is working hard to support our colleagues there and to recruit great people for our growing operation.

What’s your role at Voisey’s Bay?

I get involved with everything human resources for the various groups I support at site. There’s a big range to what I do, including dealing with compensation, training and development, relocations, employee relations, recruitment and onboarding. And being so new to Vale, I continue to learn every day.

Some of the groups I work with include Health and Safety, Warehouse, Aboriginal Affairs, the Integrated Project Team and Site Services. I’m currently working from home, in Winterton, Newfoundland, about an hour and a half from St. John’s, but I’m in constant contact with my client groups, people at site and my HR colleagues. 

Tell us how you came to Vale.

My background is in oil and gas, and I worked as an HR business partner at my previous employer, Husky Energy, for 17 years. I was based in Newfoundland when I worked at Husky, but I travelled, both to Calgary, Alberta and to Houston, Texas as well as within the province. Between my positions at Husky and Vale, I took a couple years to spend with my family—we have two kids, who are 10 and eight years of age. I was happy to be able to put the focus I had placed on my career into my family for that time.

When this position opened at Vale, I was excited to apply. I’m enjoying the challenge of working in a new industry. It’s been a wonderful experience so far.

What’s different about working in mining compared to oil and gas?

Working in mining – and especially on the Voisey’s Bay project – has been refreshing! With the tough situation the oil and gas sector has faced these last few years, with projects being put on hold, it feels good to be part of an operation that’s growing. The Voisey’s Bay Mine Expansion project is bringing lots of employment opportunities and other benefits to Newfoundland and Labrador. As a Newfoundlander myself, I’m proud to be part of that.

Have you been to Voisey’s Bay yet?

Not yet, but I’m scheduled to go in August. I’ve seen pictures, but that’s not enough. I’m very excited to go – when you work in human resources, it’s valuable to immerse yourself in the employees’ experiences: what it’s like to fly-in and fly-out, sleeping on site, eating in the cafeteria. I’ve also been working with many people at the mine remotely since I started, and I’m looking forward to meeting them face to face (in a COVID-friendly way, of course!). Going forward, I will visit regularly, especially as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

Sherrill Norris stands with her husband, Mark, and their kids, Ava, 8, and Alex,10 atop Sugarloaf Trail near the Norris’ hometown of Winterton, NL. *Scroll to the end of the story for more information about this trail. Photo: Sherrill Norris

My kids love to be outside, and we live in a small community, so we’re always outdoors. In the summer, we go fishing and hiking, and in the winter we love to snowmobile. My kids are into sports, too. They spend a lot of time playing hockey and soccer.

What would you like to be doing at Vale in the next, say, five to 10 years?

I see myself continuing to evolve as an HR business partner, perhaps delving more deeply into areas like diversity and inclusion or compensation. I’ve been an HR business partner for years now and I love this role. I want to keep getting better at what I do and I think this is an awesome place to continue to do that. 

*According to AllTrails.com, Sugarloaf is a 3.7-kilometre trail rated as moderate and features beautiful wildflowers. Click here for more about this trail.  

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