• 8th Mar 2017

ANZCP Women in Leadership


The College is celebrating International Women's Day with recognition of influential women within ANZCP and the profession. Clare Beech, Sue Cruttenden, Dr Paula McMullen and Suzanne Davies have all played an important role in the progress of ANZCP over the past 5 years.

We interviewed these ANZCP members on their involvement in leadership of the College.

CLARE BEECH - Current ANZCP Board Director and Vice Chair

Tell me about how you first got involved with the Board? I had been a long serving member of the College and was honoured to be nominated for a board Directorship in 2013. This was a great opportunity to contribute to the future direction of the College and has without doubt taught me a lot about the challenges and opportunities faced by member based, not for profit companies. Being a company Director, whether in the profit or not for profit context, bears significant responsibility in terms of meeting the needs and expectations of members. ANZCP's vision for providing quality professional development and industry leadership was something that aligned strongly with my own personal and professional objectives as a paramedic and manager.

What have you been most satisfied with in your time with the Board? During my time on the Board we have modernised many of our processes and systems to ensure members can benefit from intuitive yet simple interfaces with the College. We will soon launch our most significant advancement yet with the go live of our Member Portal. This platform will provide a one-stop shop for paramedics to manage their CPD and in years to come, their requirements for registration.

Over the last 4 years the College has built on the success of our annual conference programs, delivering high quality, engaging and worthwhile conferences to delegates across the country, from under graduates to academics.

What do you wish other women knew about getting involved with the Board? Like many industries, ambulances services nationally have traditionally been male dominated in operational and managerial domains. We know the paramedic workforce demographic has changed significantly over the last few decades with projections for 50/50 workforce gender diversity close to realised in some states. The opportunity to participate in the senior strategic direction of the College has been an honour and remains an opportunity available to female members who wish to be involved in the future success of the College.

How would you describe the challenges associated with gender and career success? On one hand I don't consider gender to be an advantage or disadvantage in my experience. On the other hand I do acknowledge the perceptions that exist about capability and tradition. I recall a particular case I attended on the road years ago where the elderly male patient, astounded that I responded to his call as a single officer remarked 'how dare they send you out by yourself after dark and since when did they think a girl could help me all on her own". He insisted that he speak to my boss and demanded his name and number. There are numerous and less acceptable examples of gender bias in our operational and managerial experiences as women but none of which can't be overcome with resolve and resilience. I believe my experience is evidence of that.

That aside, I would prefer not to be measured on the basis of my gender or any other demographic marker for that matter but on the quality of my work and contribution.

Who is your role model and why? Group Captain Cate McGregor AM of the ADF is a remarkable woman. Her resounding and unbreakable authenticity is something anyone could aspire to. She tells a compelling story about the need for resilience and self-belief and provides advice that I have found incredibly useful when dealing with challenging situations. She uses a sport analogy to illustrate the importance of resilience and says "If you bat in the top order you are bound to get hit by fast bowling. It's how you bat on that counts".

What is an important trait for women in the industry? Resilience is an important strength that the Paramedic profession and the individuals within it have built up over the many decades. Women in this industry have played a key role, and at times, have required a different kind of resilience in order to overcome some of the challenges faced. We can now look forward to a future where gender diversity and equality is a reality.

SUE CRUTTENDEN - Former ANZCP Board Director

Tell me about how you first got involved with the Board? I became involved with the board when we were still known as ACAPnsw prior to the ANZCP rebranding. I did so because I was approached by the Chair who believed I had something to offer. Having been a member since joining NSWA in 1996 I was proud to be able to give something back to the organisation.

What have you been most satisfied with in your time with the Board? The rebranding of the College was satisfying, as was having a small part of the delivery of successful conferences and CPD events.

How did your involvement with the Board make you feel? Being an ANZCP Board member gave me the opportunity to meet amazingly talented and dedicated clinicians from all over Australasia which I found to be very motivating and inspiring. I also felt privileged to represent the members’ interests when being part of the decision making on where to direct ANZCP’s resources.

What do you wish other women knew about getting involved with the Board? As the face of the profession moves towards a younger, female demographic it is important that women in the profession know they can influence the organisation’s direction into the future.

Can you tell me a time where you were BOLD with your career and the result of that bold action? After 6 or so years holding various administrative positions I decided to return to the road in a clinical capacity about 18 months ago. This move was challenging as some of our pharmaocologies, procedures and protocols had changed; I had to orientate myself to a new area, and I had new responsibilities. Since the move the last 18 months have been so rewarding; I am enjoying the patient contact and working with outstanding paramedics who really are inspirational.

Tell me about an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career? This would certainly be attaining my ICP qualification. It was one of the most challenging, and continues to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Who is your role model and why? There are many women in this job that I try to model myself on, but I won’t embarrass them my mentioning them by name. One I can name is Julia Gillard, because no matter what you think of her politics she had courage and displayed remarkable grace under pressure. These are qualities that I admire greatly.

DR PAULA McMULLEN - Former ANZCP Board Director and Chair

Tell me about how you first got involved with the Board? I started attending the ANZCP (formally ACAP) monthly education meetings at the NSW Ambulance Education Centre when I started working as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Paramedicine at the University of Tasmania (Rozelle Campus). I was so impressed by the enthusiasm for professional development demonstrated at these evenings that I wanted to do more than be a recipient of the benefits of being a member of ANZCP. After speaking with various Directors of the Board and seeing their commitment to the progression and direction of the paramedic profession, I knew then that I really wanted to be an active part of this organisation.

What have you been most satisfied with in your time with the Board?
The knowledge that ANZCP was able to evolve from ACAP NSW to become the preeminent professional body for paramedicine. This was a result of the dedication, collegial and supportive relationships of the Directors on the Board and the General Manager.

How did your involvement with the Board make you feel?
It was an absolute honour and a privilege to be on the Board. It was very satisfying to feel I was making a contribution to the paramedic profession.

What do you wish other women knew about getting involved with the Board? It is an extraordinary experience. It provides an opportunity to get involved in the paramedic profession at a national & international level. It affords you the chance to influence a positive direction for the profession.

Can you tell me a time where you were BOLD with your career and the result of that bold action?
Changing career paths and becoming a Senior Lecturer and later the Associate Head of the School of Paramedicine with UTAS. It gave me tremendous joy and satisfaction to see the graduates go onto to become paramedics throughout Australia and internationally.

Tell me about an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career?
Becoming the Chair of ANZCP

Who is your (female) role model and why?
My role model is Paramedic Educator Sharon White. She is innovative and passionate about paramedic professional development and education. Her work ethic, commitment and dedication in educating at all levels of paramedicine is outstanding. However, it is not a person’s occupation that necessarily makes a role model. Sharon’s altruistic nature, generosity, kindness and compassion for others make her such an inspirational role model.

SUZANNE DAVIES - Former ANZCP Board Director

Tell me about how you first got involved with the Board? My first involvement with the College was to support its ongoing paramedic education programme, a passion that continues to drive me to this day.

What do you wish other women knew about getting involved with the Board? I strongly encourage all prehospital clinicians, including women, to contribute to the profession by becoming actively involved with the College. The numbers of women in the field have, and continue to, increase exponentially; however these numbers are not yet reflected in representation on professional boards – we need to have an active presence in decisions, policies and practices affecting ourselves, our families and our colleagues.

Can you tell me a time where you were BOLD with your career and the result of that bold action? If I am not bold every day, if I don't take risks and push boundaries to drive changes in my profession and support my students, I have wasted my day.

Tell me about an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career? My most significant accomplishment is the realisation that I accomplish nothing without others.

Who is your role model and why? I have no single role model - I am continuously inspired by the women and men I meet everyday, who without seeking fame, and despite enormous challenges, live lives of fearless integrity and kindness.

Oh. Except… Natalia Romanova (My marvel superhero). A strong, smart and feisty redhead – what’s not to love?

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