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International Women’s Day 2023

Last updated March 2023

Category: Invest

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First marked more than 100 years ago, International Women’s Day is a global event celebrated on March 8 to mark the achievements of women and highlight issues around equality.  

Traditionally, women have been underrepresented in the precious metals industry, but this is changing. In the financial year 2018-19, just 14% of The Royal Mint’s customers were women, but by 2021-22, this figure had increased to 22% - and is continuing to grow. In addition, many senior leaders at The Royal Mint are women, including our first female CEO, Anne Jessopp, whilst many of the influential positions at our partner organisations are also held by women.  

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we hear from inspiring female figures in the precious metals sector. 


Karina Hicks Head of Marketing, Precious Metals, The Royal Mint

With more than 15 years’ experience in digital and strategic marketing and communications, Karina joined our Precious Metals division in 2018.  

Karina said: “Whilst precious metals investing is traditionally a male-dominated industry, I feel privileged to work with some outstanding female peers in senior roles, and I would urge other women to join this exciting and ever-evolving sector.  

“I definitely feel a responsibility to help educate women in relation to investing in precious metals. Historically, women have been far less likely to invest than men, and this hasn’t been helped by the traditional marketing approaches of many investment companies.  

“At The Royal Mint, we’ve made a conscious decision to actively portray women in our marketing campaigns and to develop products and propositions that would appeal more directly to them. We have strong ambitions to increase the number of female investors in the UK and we are passionate about making it happen.” 

Laxmi Vaghani Partnership Executive, The Royal Mint

Laxmi worked as an Account Manager for a global insurance brand before joining The Royal Mint at the start of 2022 as Partnership Executive within the Precious Metals division. 

Laxmi said: “While the precious metals industry appears to be male-dominated, I am proud to be surrounded by so many female colleagues here at The Royal Mint. Working within such a dynamic team has given me the opportunity to learn lots about the reasons people invest and how The Royal Mint is able to remain competitive in a market where there is so much demand for both our physical and digital products.  

“The female presence at our face-to-face events is growing. I am incredibly proud to be able to talk about precious metals and The Royal Mint and delighted to be able to engage with so many women when out and about representing our business at partner events.” 

Barbara Coverdale – Business Transformation Project Manager, The Royal Mint

After studying mechanical engineering, Barbara moved from North Germany to South Wales in 1991, where she worked in industries including water, automotive, medical devices and pharmaceutical. Barbara went into teaching while her children were of school age before returning to her project management career in 2021. 

Barbara said: “I started in The Royal Mint as Business Transformation Project Manager and was given the Sustainable Precious Metals Programme to manage. We have seen the UK electronics plant through design, construction and installation, with commissioning now being imminent. These have been very exciting times for me personally and The Royal Mint, diversifying into a new venture.” 

Louise Street Senior Markets Analyst, the World Gold Council 

Louise joined the World Gold Council in 2008 and works in the Research team as the lead analyst producing Gold Demand Trends, the foremost industry publication on gold demand and supply. She also has responsibilities for generating and writing research pieces, managing consumer research projects and engaging with gold industry stakeholders.  

Prior to joining the World Gold Council, Louise spent 12 years working in investment analysis and communication, having previously held positions with Gartmore, Capital Group and Thomson Financial.  

Louise said: “While the precious metals industry – like many others – tends to be a male-dominated space, what fascinates me about gold is that it is such a democratic investment. It has universal appeal, and research we’ve done shows that women across the globe have a very strong affinity to gold investments.  

“I value the role I can play in demystifying gold investment and helping to arm women with the knowledge they need to take greater control over protecting and growing their wealth. I’m also proud to be a World Gold Council champion in our partnership with the WealthiHer Network, a partnership that aims to drive the economic advancement of women on a global stage.” 

Ines Viana Partner Relations Lead for Europe and North America, the World Platinum Investment Council 

Ines is responsible for WPIC’s European and North American Partnerships, developing initiatives that stimulate and sustain investor demand for physical platinum. She has 14 years of marketing and communications experience internationally and in the UK. Ines joined WPIC in 2019 from Amalgamated Metal Corporation PLC, a group of 18 global companies that trade, distribute and manufacture non-ferrous metals, metal products and construction materials. She held full responsibility for all marketing and communication efforts of both B2B and B2C group companies. 

Ines said: “I find the precious metals industry a very challenging place to be – especially in the past few years! It connects with global markets and macroeconomic events, as well as ‘big picture’ developments and my work with our partners gives me a great chance to get involved with what is happening on the ground. In many ways platinum is less well understood than other precious metals, although this is changing, so a good part of my job is to remind all players across the value chain of platinum’s compelling investment case. Most people find it quite interesting when they learn about all the current and future industrial and technological uses for platinum that will create more demand.   

“In my career I look for challenge, opportunity and the chance to be judged on my performance and, even though my role has not disappointed in that front, I recognise that there is a gender imbalance in the industry. I am passionate about having a long-term impact in promoting and encouraging more women’s participation within this exciting market.”  

Nicola Howell – Chief Commercial Officer, The Royal Mint 

“We have grown rapidly in the precious metals market over recent years and the talent of our team has been integral to that. In what has traditionally been a male-dominated sector, I’m incredibly proud to see women at The Royal Mint thriving in precious metals and bringing the new ideas and approaches that are essential in such a competitive space.  

“Gender should never be a barrier to your career and I’m confident we’ll see more and more women shining through in the gold market.” 

Lucia Garcia Rodriguez – Senior Chemist, Sustainable Precious Metals, The Royal Mint 

Lucia joined The Royal Mint in 2022 after working as a researcher in the field of organometallic chemistry. 

Lucia said: “My previous years as a researcher with precious metals, including gold, silver, palladium and platinum, allowed me to obtain a position as Senior Chemist in the Sustainable Precious Metals team. I feel very proud and grateful to be able to participate in the new journey which The Royal Mint is beginning, and to be able to contribute to the success of all the projects related to precious metals.  

“Laying the foundation of any new project on a sustainable basis – always with the idea of maintaining and creating new jobs in Wales – makes this job even more fulfilling for me. I also feel very proud to be part of a Research and Development team in which the gender distribution is totally equal, and the SPM team in which, from the beginning, I have felt supported, listened to and valued. I have no doubt that this is just the beginning of many milestones to celebrate together”. 

Hayley Messenger – Chemist, Sustainable Precious Metals, The Royal Mint 

Hayley joined The Royal Mint as a chemist in the Sustainable Precious Metals team in 2021. 

Hayley said: “I feel privileged to have been working on the SPM project for nearly two years, in which time the Research and Development team has grown substantially. Seeing the progression from then to now, from chemistry in the lab to full scale equipment, has been fascinating. It’s great working in such a diverse team and I am looking forward to seeing the next steps in this process and continuing to develop my skills and knowledge.” 

Ruth Crowell Chief Executive, LBMA 

Ruth was appointed Chief Executive of the LBMA in 2014, following seven years working in the Association as Commercial Director and Deputy Chief Executive. Her responsibilities include representing the interests of the Association in relation to regulators, investors, the media and international precious metals markets. 

Ruth said: “I stumbled my way into the precious metals industry and have never looked back. Not only is the industry welcoming, but the global challenges that face it are quite varied, so it makes for very interesting work. I hope that more women not only stumble into, but choose a career in precious metals, as it is an industry I am proud to represent.” 



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