For bringing a new generation of leaders—and new ways of working— to mining
Fred Camus Yeomans is digging deep—looking for ways to transform Latin America’s mining sector into a more sustainable source of economic development. It’s a sorely needed shift. Despite being the world’s largest producer of copper and the second-largest producer of lithium, Chile suffers from “an archaic culture of fear,” which leaves it short on both cooperation and communication, Camus Yeomans says.
“We need new professionals with a mindset of collaboration and innovation—who know how to work on teams and who can transform potential risks into opportunities,” he says.
To deliver just that, Camus Yeomans helped launch Young Miners Foundation in 2020. Along with serving as a local resource for best practices, research and information, the group connects young miners—many of whom work in remote and isolated areas—with a vibrant professional network. The goal: inspire and empower young mining professionals to make mining more efficient—without having a negative impact on the environment.
With a strong focus on sustainability in mining, the foundation has attracted nearly 50,000 followers on social media and hosted a variety of in-person seminars and professional development events.
The thrill of connecting with young talent motivates Camus Yeomans to ramp up his knowledge-sharing and volunteer efforts. As project coordinator at the Central University in Chile, he’s working with Compromiso Minero and the PMI Antofagasta, Chile Chapter to develop a strategic plan that promotes sustainable economic growth in his home region of Coquimbo—allowing mining and tourism to thrive together.
Camus Yeomans sees his project management prowess as creating a ripple effect for good, allowing him to “be a more effective leader, carry out projects more efficiently, and generate positive impacts for the environment and the innovation ecosystem.”
Whether acting as CEO of project consulting firm AdapVector, as a project management professor or as a speaker at PMI events, Camus Yeomans is mindful to follow one of his professional mantras: Listen twice as much as you talk. Active listening helps him develop a richer understanding of the other person’s perspective and goals. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that we’re all humans,” he says. And by aligning around a common goal and working effectively together, Camus Yeomans believes teams can “leave this world better than we found it.”
Q&A: Fred Camus Yeomans on collaboration, adaptation and his dream team
What’s your project management superpower?
My ability to connect worlds, align interests and objectives, and create collaborative spaces. In mining, the ability to integrate agile approaches and incorporate sustainability and social responsibility can transform the industry into a high-impact engine for sustainable development and value.
How are young people changing the world of projects now?
Through their disruptive capacity and creativity. Young people bring new perspectives and innovative approaches to project management. Their digital skills and adaptability allow them to approach challenges in a different way, using emerging technologies and agile approaches to improve efficiency and sustainability.
What’s the biggest challenge facing young project leaders right now?
Young project leaders must be able to adapt quickly and master technical and digital skills, all while staying people-centric and environmentally focused. Cross-disciplinary collaboration is a must, but so is fostering collaboration between generations, to leverage both the experience of senior professionals and the fresh approaches that young people bring.
Fast forward: What’s one way managing projects will have changed over the next decade?
Emerging technologies and agile approaches will continue to drive greater adaptability and creativity. And for distributed teams, we’ll see more enhanced communication tools that can facilitate stronger collaboration.
What books and podcasts are you recommending?
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a book that teaches how to create and manage successful startups using agile. And I often recommend The Project Management Podcast by Cornelius Fichtner because it’s such a rich source of information that covers so many relevant topics for project professionals.
What famous person would you want to recruit for your team?
I would want multiple leaders from diverse areas: Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla’s Elon Musk, but also Michelle Obama for her work in education and equality advocacy, Emma Watson for her activism around gender equality and human rights, and Bill Gates for his expertise in both technology and social engagement. Collectively, they’d be able to address any challenge with innovation and inclusivity.