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International Women's Day 'Investing In Women: Accelerating Progress'

Fri, 08 - March - 2024

International Women's Day 2024


This year's theme is 'Investing In Women: Accelerating Progress'

We caught up with some of the women working and leading at MindWise to talk about their journey, milestones, and insights into the world of mental health, the significance of International Women's Day, and the challenges and triumphs faced by women in the workplace.

Leading with Passion and Purpose: An Insightful Conversation with Anne Doherty, CEO of MindWise


Beliefs and Roles in Social Justice

Anne Doherty proudly serves as the CEO of MindWise and holds the esteemed position of Trustee at Mental Health UK. Describing herself as "strong, passionate, and determined," Anne's commitment to social justice and equality is evident in her multifaceted roles as a woman, friend, wife, mother, and organisational leader. Anne has been with MindWise since the company demerged from Rethink in 2009.

Family Roots and Volunteering

Anne's inspiration is deeply rooted in family, particularly her grandfather's extended stay at Purdysburn. She reveals, "My grandfather was a long-stay patient in Purdysburn," shedding light on the familial impact that fueled her transition from a successful career as a Graphic Designer to advocating for mental health causes. Delving into the family dynamics, Anne discloses, "I never met my grandfather, and I never really discussed how the absence of his father affected my Dad, but this unspoken issue always hung over us as a family." As she made career choices, Anne found ways to volunteer within the mental health care arena, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The shift felt right, prompting her departure from her Graphic Design career, and she hasn't looked back since.

Inspiring Inclusion and Celebrating Women

"International Women's Day is a day of celebration, a day to thank all those women who have touched my life!" Anne's resonance with this year's theme, 'Investing in Women" extends beyond professional circles, acknowledging the inspiring women within her personal life and the importance of social justice and equality. Reflecting on her journey, Anne vividly identifies key milestones that have shaped her path. From coordinating interschool health programs during her school days to the impactful experience of working with at-risk youth in inner-city Dublin, she points out the importance of hands-on initiatives and investing in those with a commitment to ensuring community-based services and support.

Challenges and Triumphs

When we discussed challenges as a woman, Anne candidly shared her experiences of being a single mom denied a car loan to facing gender discrimination in various aspects of life. She points to the collective efforts needed to challenge systemic issues while expressing optimism about positive shifts occurring for women. Reflecting on her journey, Anne recounts, "I remember applying for my first car loan, which was denied because I was a single mum, not because I didn’t have the financial security! I remember trying to buy a kitchen for my house, which was denied because my male partner was not there to sign for it!" These experiences underscore the challenges faced by women throughout society and Anne states the need for "transformative change in societal cultures and practices", to address them. 

Establishing MindWise's Volunteering Department stands out as Anne's proudest achievement. She passionately elaborates, stating, "Volunteering has supported many people’s recovery journey." Anne's emphasis lies in the empowerment strategy for clients, showcasing the tangible impact of this initiative.

Leadership, Listening, and Collaborative Initiatives

Anne's role as CEO allows her to spearhead numerous projects, and she stresses the importance of "active listening to clients, staff, members, volunteers, and partner agencies. Initiatives like 'Our Strategy (2022 – 2027)' and the Corporate Balance Scorecard exemplify MindWise's collaborative approach." Reflecting Anne's commitment to inclusivity and strategic planning and MindWise's commitment to investing in people. Anne actively participates in opportunities for personal and professional development, highlighting the integral role of coaching, mentoring, and trauma-informed leadership in MindWise's sustainable growth.

Organisational Commitment to Development

MindWise's recognition as an Investing in People Gold organisation and Investing in Volunteer Accredited organisation reflects its commitment to staff and volunteers, explains Anne, "I appreciate the diverse opportunities for personal and professional development provided within the organisation." Anne recalls various training programs contributing to her growth, including the unique experience of sitting her last exam for her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) two days before the planned section for her third child. Her journey is a testament to the value of commitment from both the organisation and the individual for effective development.


Describing her leadership approach as "transformative and adaptive", Anne acknowledges applying different styles depending on situations or individuals. Her "fiery red leadership style", marked by decisiveness, boldness, and a visionary focus, resonates with her commitment to leading by example. Anne expresses her joy in mentoring others, particularly finding fulfillment in supporting the growth of young individuals transitioning into working environments. Her leadership styles range from transformative to laissez-faire, demonstrating adaptability based on the situation and people involved.

Experiences as a Woman in the Workplace

When the topic of women in the workplace arises, Anne delved into the challenges related to gender, demonstrating a deep personal understanding, she recounted experiences such as being asked about redeployment to a lower-grade job upon return from maternity leave. She stressed the importance of challenging gender discrimination and highlighted the evolving landscape where women are better positioned than ever to challenge the status quo. In advocating for a more inclusive workplace, Anne stresses the need for greater support for women's career progression, specifically into leadership roles. While acknowledging improvements, she calls attention to the ongoing challenges and the importance of "transformative change for effective equality." While acknowledging improvements, she said, "There is still some way to go yet."  When commenting on MindWise's commitment to investing in people, Anne reflected on the organisational challenge of ensuring investment is in the right areas, highlighting a comprehensive review of their people investment plan in the upcoming year.

Inspiration and Hopes

Anne cites recent investments, such as the establishment of a Human Rights Framework and work towards a Menopause Policy, as initiatives positively impacting women at MindWise. Inspired by her family, especially her daughter's determination to be a female role model, Anne envisions future generations achieving "parity of esteem with their male counterparts" and focuses on the importance of "respect." Advice grounded in authenticity and learning from others, Anne urges women to be themselves, reflect, listen, and reach for the sky. Anne attributes her success to a "can-do attitude," emphasising the vast opportunities available when one embraces a positive mindset, highlighting that "the world's your oyster." 

In reflective words and in closing our conversation, Anne says, "Life tends to throw us all curve balls, it’s not easy, so we need to look after ourselves and, if we’ve energy left, those around us!"


Breaking boundaries: Fionnuala McKenna's journey of empowerment and transformation at MindWise 


Over 12 months into her role, Fionnuala reflects on a journey deeply intertwined with her values, resilience, and commitment to change.

Career Progression

"My name is Fionnuala McKenna. I was inspired to pursue a career in mental health because I was looking for a role in an organisation that aligned with my values."

Fionnuala's professional tapestry is woven with diverse threads, navigating through industries, from the male-dominated realm of car parking to governance and business process management, she faced unique challenges. Her journey took a turn into the public sector and a pivotal role at Belfast Metropolitan College, where the sprawling campus became a canvas for her passion for environmental issues.

"I was fortunate enough to have had excellent previous employers throughout my career who believed that training is worth its weight in gold. My degree was in International Management and my MSc was in Business Development and Innovation. I was supported while working at CPS where I was able to complete my Masters while working full-time. CPS is a car parking company and this is a particularly male-dominated industry, but I had strong female role models in the managing director, Catherine McHugh, and the senior management team at the time."

In her spare time, volunteering became a calling, driven by inspiration from her sister and collaborations with Another World Belfast CIC. The opportunity to join MindWise presented itself as a culmination of her interests and experiences.

"In my spare time, I started volunteering when I was inspired by my sister who was a skills coach volunteer for the Simon Community a few years ago. I was a Move on Coach for the Simon Community and then I became involved with Another World Belfast CIC and was honoured to be invited to be a trustee on their board. Becky Bellamy and Connor Kerr at Another World have been hugely inspiring to me in their work, and I am very grateful to know them; they are wonderful people. When the MindWise opportunity presented itself, I knew it would tie together my interests and experience, and just over 12 months in now, I can say I was right!"

Achievements at MindWise

When discussing her achievements at MindWise. She beams with pride at securing significant funding vital for the longevity of MindWise's mission. From Dormant Accounts funding for digital transformation to her role as vice-chair of the Senior Management Team, she underscores the collaborative spirit driving MindWise's success.

"Accomplishments at MindWise that I am most proud of specifically for my role is the securing of significant funding to provide longevity for the clients we service and the staff that provide that help." Fionnuala shared the journey of submitting the first application for Dormant Accounts funding within weeks of joining MindWise. Her collaboration with the Digital Transformation Manager and Director of Finance bore fruit, marking a triumph amidst intense competition.

"Dormant Accounts funding for our digital transformation programme was the first application that I submitted when I had been at MindWise for just a few weeks. I enjoyed working with our Digital Transformation Manager as the subject matter expert and Director of Finance. We were thrilled to receive a positive outcome as the competition was very intense. We have had a lot of success in the past year, and it was a full team effort to bring in these new opportunities. Now that the Executive is back in place I am hopeful that this will mean progress for our sector in services that are fundamental to the wellbeing of our society."

Fionnuala added that she is proud to be vice chair of the MindWise Senior Management Team and part of the MindWise HealthWise working group; "we have such a fantastic team of really talented and engaged individuals who are a pleasure to work with."

Investment and Training

MindWise's commitment to Fionnuala's growth is evident in strategic investments. The mentorship she received from Alice Garrad at the onset of her role became a cornerstone of her professional journey. Beyond her personal development, Fionnuala passionately advocates for broader initiatives uplifting women in the workplace."The provision of a mentor for me has been a massive help in terms of how I was supported to enter into this role."

Leadership and Mentorship

Fionnuala's approach to leadership mirrors the transparency and empathy she admires in MindWise's CEO, Anne Doherty. She shares her belief in addressing conflicts with respect, fostering psychological safety, and creating an enjoyable work environment. In her role as a mentor in SistersIn, Fionnuala champions the importance of providing a platform for every voice to be heard. "I have been very much influenced by the leadership of our CEO Anne Doherty. She leads by example in how she conducts the running of MindWise."

Experiences as a Woman in the Workplace

The conversation takes an introspective turn as Fionnuala delves into her experiences as a woman in the workplace. From subtle instances of misogyny to the broader challenges faced by women today, she calls for collective action and allies to dismantle age-old stereotypes.

"I think that any instances of misogyny needs to be called out, every time it is witnessed. Sometimes that might be disguised as 'humour,' and sometimes it might be language that is not gender-neutral. Behaviour that is not challenged just becomes accepted, and change requires allies from all genders. It is not fair that only those who are discriminated against have to do all the work in defending themselves, so we all have to do our part. Similarly, it is important to pass the mic and put your support and effort behind existing organisations and people with lived experience that are already doing the important work. I saw an online post that summed up some great advice recently, which said 'disregard gender roles and embrace gender identity,' and that stuck a chord with me."

Diversity and Inclusion

Her vision for fostering a more inclusive workplace extends beyond the conventional narrative of diversity driving innovation. Fionnuala insists on acknowledging the physical needs of everyone, making the workplace a haven for all, irrespective of gender or identity."Companies can foster a more inclusive workplace firstly by acknowledging physical needs, particularly for women, including trans and non-binary people. Work should be a safe and accepting place for all."

International Women's Day Theme - Investing in Women

Aligned with this year's theme, Fionnuala sheds light on MindWise's investment in its staff, particularly initiatives that have positively impacted women. Her journey of continuous learning is laid bare, emphasising the importance of training programs like the Mental Health and Wellbeing Coaching Diploma. "To develop your skills, you have to honestly look at yourself and be able to say what you are good at and what you need to improve upon. A trusted friend, colleague, or manager can help you do that. I was lucky enough to get the chance to complete the Goleman Emotional Intelligence training with Dr Annemarie Millar, which I highly recommend. Once you have identified what you want to improve upon, look for and ask for training opportunities to do this. Ask to be involved in projects that you are interested in, that will improve this skill and get support from your manager. The next training that I would love to do is the Mental Health and Wellbeing coaching Diploma delivered by MindWise in collaboration with Kingstown College."

Inspiration and Hopes

Fionnuala draws inspiration from her mother, a feminist and former Primary School principal, alongside public figures like Sinéad O’Connor and Kelechi Okafor. Her hopes extend to future generations of women, envisioning workplaces built on respect, open-mindedness, and informed challenges. "Sinéad O’Connor, Kelechi Okafor, Mhari Black, Mikaela Loach, Gina Martin and Aja Barber. All of these women have been inspirational in terms of their activism and teaching."

Advice for Others

Fionnuala concludes the conversation with heartfelt advice for young women aspiring to the mental health sector. Grounded in her values, she encourages finding workplaces that resonate with one's principles and viewing work as a community. Her wisdom encompasses setting boundaries and embracing resilience amid missed opportunities."I had concerns that working in this field would be very difficult for my mental health because of what I assumed I would encounter and witness. However, it helps me to know that I have put my working hours behind a cause that I believe in, and that aligns with my values. Furthermore, I have found MindWise to be a place that actually lives out the values that it champions and so I feel adequately supported to do the work I am tasked with."

"Ideally, if you can work somewhere that aligns with your values, then you are likely to find a workplace that suits you best. I think work should be considered more like a community than a “family”. If at all possible, try your best to only stick to working within your contracted hours. There may be exceptions but they should be just that, exceptions. If you are constantly stretched to your limit, you will burn out."

"Try to spend some time profiling what your ideal opportunity might look like so that you will recognise it when it comes along. If you miss an opportunity, don’t be too disheartened, you most likely have not “missed your chance”, you have just missed that chance and another will come along!"


Empowering Voices and Nurturing Passion: A Conversation with Kirsten Kearney, Client Engagement Manager at MindWise


Kirsten Kearney is the Client Engagement Manager at MindWise, she plays a pivotal role in ensuring the organisation echoes the voices of its clients at every level. In this interview, Kirsten shares her journey, milestones, and insights into the world of mental health, while also reflecting on the significance of International Women's Day and the challenges and triumphs faced by women in the workplace.

Discovering a Passion for Mental Health

Kirsten's journey into mental health advocacy wasn't a deliberate choice but a heartfelt calling. Originally on an academic career path, life took an unexpected turn after a family tragedy led her to refocus her efforts on mental health in Northern Ireland. With a personal history of overcoming mental health challenges, she became a fearless advocate, driven by her "lived experience." She shares, "Mental Health has always been my passion – I had serious problems when I was younger with my mental health, so I’m not afraid of it and not afraid to talk about it."

Celebrating International Women's Day

When the conversation turned to International Women's Day, Kirsten emphasised the importance of acknowledging the often unnoticed contributions of women worldwide. She believes today is an opportunity to spotlight the incredible achievements of women, from the grand to the subtle, acknowledging the hard work that often happens behind the scenes. "For me, it is about publicly recognising the truth that we already know, that much of the world is held up by and supported by the hard work of women! Usually behind the scenes, often overlooked and often undervalued. So, it’s good to have an extra day to shine a light on some of the amazing achievements, large and small, of women from all over the globe," she reflects.

Navigating a Winding Career Path

Reflecting on her career, Kirsten describes it as a "winding journey," filled with unexpected turns and brave endeavors. From completing her PhD while pregnant to facing unique challenges as a woman in leadership, each step has shaped her professional identity. Kirsten highlights instances where being taken seriously proved challenging due to her gender, shedding light on the disparities women still face in certain professional settings. She shared, "Trying to do my PhD viva with severe morning sickness was a specific challenge, explaining to a roomful of male academics that I wasn’t scared just pregnant, and if I needed to run out of the room to be sick, I would, but I would come back – I guess that’s something that men don’t have to face. Being taken seriously is more of an issue as a woman I think – I remember meeting a CEO of a major mental health charity for a meeting in a coffee shop some years ago and his first question to me was “What are your hobbies!” I thought that was such an odd and inappropriate way to start a business meeting – I had to bite back saying that as a full-time working mum with two kids under five I didn’t have time for hobbies. I do wonder though if he would have started a conversation with a man with the same question."

Proud Achievements at MindWise

As the driving force behind the Client Engagement Working Group at MindWise, Kirsten expresses pride in the group's successful launch. She sees it as a platform for clients to actively contribute and make a difference within the organisation and the broader community in Northern Ireland. "So far I’m proud of our Client Engagement Working Group – that we have got it off the ground, that people are engaged, are getting involved, and are enthusiastic about using their own experience to make a difference within MindWise and more broadly across NI as well."

Innovative Projects and Personal Growth

One of Kirsten's most cherished accomplishments is the WiseMoves series of films she produced for MindWise. These films serve as a valuable resource, showcasing the diverse services offered by MindWise, the individuals it supports, and the dedicated staff behind it. Additionally, Kirsten highlights the significance of Service Design Thinking in her recent professional development, a refreshing approach that challenges conventional thinking. "I do think the Service Design thinking from the School of Good Services helped me think through client engagement – how we shape it, how we explain it, the step-by-step approach to design thinking has been a highlight for me."

Empowering Women in the Workplace

Kirsten believes in leading by example to empower women in the workplace. She stresses the importance of visibility, speaking up, and embodying values of openness and transparency. Recognising the unique challenges women face, Kirsten advocates for flexibility, particularly in acknowledging and addressing the mental weight often carried by working mothers. She suggests, "Being flexible and then more flexible. Embrace the differences that women, men, non-binary people, LGBTQIA+ individuals all bring to the workplace."

Inspiration and Hopes for Future Generations

Kirsten draws inspiration from her mother and grandmother, two remarkable women who instilled values of kindness, empathy, and generosity. She encourages individuals and organizations to challenge outdated practices, fostering equitable and supportive workplaces for women. Her hope for future generations is a world where "gender becomes a non-issue!"

Advice for Aspiring Women in Mental Health

To young women aspiring to build a career in mental health or similar fields, Kirsten offers simple yet powerful advice: "Follow your heart and find a way to build your career around your passion. She stresses the importance of staying positive, embracing failure as a learning opportunity, and cultivating a network of trusted individuals. "If you have a passion for mental health, find a way to build your career around it."

In concluding our conversation with Kirsten Kearney, her journey emerges as a testament to the resilience of women in the mental health sector, urging aspiring professionals to navigate their paths with passion, courage, and an unwavering commitment to making a difference.


Shaping Minds and Transforming HR at MindWise

Ashleigh Beggs shares her story from a temporary position to the pivotal role of HR & Training Manager. With over 14 years of unwavering dedication, Ashleigh brings not only her professional expertise but a passion for contributing to the well-being of MindWise's staff. "I always felt like I wanted to work for an organisation that ultimately helps people in some way. My role does not involve direct client work; however, I feel like I am still a part of making a difference in others’ lives."


Career Progression

Ashleigh's journey at MindWise began unexpectedly as a temp, with initial plans to stay only a few months. However, the sense of purpose and belonging she discovered within that short timeframe fueled her determination to stay. Over the years, she embraced development opportunities, gradually working her way from an Administrator to the esteemed position of HR & Training Manager. "I started off as a temp in MindWise and was only planning to stay a few months, however, the sense of purpose and belonging I got from only being there a few months, made me want to stay."



Pride resonates in Ashleigh's as she reflects on her significant role in digitally transforming the HR department. What once was a solitary endeavor now stands as a thriving team. The implementation of new systems and software, including HR modules, digital document signing, and Right to Work check software, has streamlined processes, showcasing her commitment to efficiency and progress. "When I started it was only me in the HR department for nearly 8/9 years, I now have an HR team. I have worked my way up to a manager position."


Investment and Training

MindWise's commitment to Ashleigh's professional development is evident. From various courses to financial support for her Masters in HR Management, the organisation invested in her growth. Each annual review serves as a compass, guiding her toward areas of development and relevant courses to enhance her role. "MindWise has allowed me to complete various courses and training for my personal development. They helped pay for me to complete my Masters in HR management."


Leadership and Mentorship

In Ashleigh's perspective, leadership is not confined to titles but permeates every role. She champions a collaborative leadership style, emphasising the collective strength derived from working together. As a mentor, Ashleigh plays a pivotal role in guiding her direct reports and managers through the intricate landscape of HR, employee relations, recruitment, and training."I believe leadership is in all roles. Collaborative leadership and working together is key, pulling from each other’s strengths."


Experiences as a Woman in the Workplace

While Ashleigh herself hasn't faced gender-specific challenges, she remains attuned to the broader issues women grapple with, including gender pay gaps and the delicate balance between work and family responsibilities. Her awareness and advocacy reflect a commitment to fostering an equitable workplace. "No, I do not believe I have faced gender-specific challenges, however, I do believe there are still a lot of women facing issues, for example, with gender pay gaps and women balancing work and family responsibilities."


Diversity and Inclusion

To create a truly inclusive workplace, Ashleigh stresses the need for comprehensive policies, including flexible working arrangements, fair pay structures, and specific provisions like maternity leave entitlements and menopause policies. Her vision extends beyond equality, seeking an environment that not only accommodates but uplifts every individual."Creating flexible working policies, fairness in pay, special leave policies, good maternity leave entitlements, menopause policy & training is how companies can foster a more inclusive workplace, especially for women."


International Women's Day Theme - Investing in Women

In alignment with this year's International Women's Day theme, "Investing in Women," Ashleigh commends MindWise for its continual investment in staff. The organisation's multifaceted approach, encompassing training, qualifications, policies, benefits, and health initiatives, underscores its commitment to the holistic well-being of its workforce."MindWise continually invests in their staff, they do that in several ways, staff training, qualifications, staff policies & entitlements offered, staff benefits offered, coaching for performance development processes, investment in staff health and wellbeing etc."


Inspiration and Hopes

Ashleigh's journey symbolises not only individual success but a collective commitment to creating a workplace where everyone thrives and excels. Ashleigh draws inspiration from her manager, MindWise Director Jayne Wright, acknowledging the impact of strong leadership, her hopes extend to the future, where staying informed about legislative changes and cultivating a supportive workplace culture is paramount. 



Passionate Advocate for Mental Health: Rosie's Inspiring Journey at MindWise


Rosie, a mother of four and the Wellness Development Manager at MindWise, tells her story. "I'm Rosie, I am a married mum of four, and I am passionate about mental health, personal development, and transformation. I am the Wellness Development Manager based in Fermanagh House in Enniskillen." Rosie's journey, rooted in her experience with post-natal depression, resonates with a deep commitment to holistic well-being.

Career Progression

Reflecting on her extensive career, Rosie shares, "I have been fortunate to experience working in a private family business for over 15 years, gaining much knowledge on the importance of change and pivoting your business to meet ever-changing internal and external needs." Transitioning into the voluntary and community sector, Rosie says "It taught me so much about resilience and the importance of networking and collaboration."

"For the past four years I have been working within the voluntary and community sector which is not unlike the business world. We all have a passion and a shared sense of purpose and by utilising everyone skills, talents and experiences we can create a bigger impact."

"I experienced Business Failure in 2018; this was a pivotal moment in my life. So much so that I did a Tedx on the importance of second chances." Rosie's resilience in the face of challenges becomes a beacon of hope for others navigating difficult times. Proudly highlighting her role in a funding bid for a three-year service extension, Rosie expresses her love for strategic planning and the joy derived from supporting a new team.

Investment and Training

MindWise invests in Rosie's professional growth with an extensive induction program and ongoing opportunities for development, including mental health first aid. She acknowledges the transformative impact of a coaching skills program on her managerial role and personal self-awareness. In her leadership role, Rosie emphasised, "Encouraging and supporting my team members, understanding individual strengths, and embracing difference." Acting as a business mentor for Women in Business in 2022, Rosie sees the reciprocal benefits of mentorship.

Experiences as a Woman in the Workplace

While personally avoiding gender-related challenges, Rosie spoke about the broader issues women face. Reflecting on her Tedx talk, she encourages those facing difficulties to have faith and reach out for help. Rosie advocates for an inclusive workplace through equal pay, flexible schedules, and parental leave. She recognises diversity's role in driving innovation, bringing fresh perspectives and solutions.

International Women's Day Theme - Investing in Women

Acknowledging MindWise's inclusive culture, Rosie credits her manager, MindWise Area Manager Caroline Devlin, for leadership support. She sees the organisation's investment in staff as aligned with the International Women's Day theme - 'Investing In Women: Accelerating Progress'  Inspired by her manager, Caroline Devlin, Rosie envisions workplaces free of bias and stereotypes. She stresses the need for education to recognise and mitigate bias. Rosie's hopes for future generations include finding "purpose, personal power, and reconnecting with passion".

Advice for Others

Rosie's advice to aspiring women in mental health is to "volunteer, seize learning opportunities, and prioritize self-care." As an optimistic individual, she believes self-care is vital in navigating life's challenges, "and something we should incorporate in each day."

Thank you Rosie for sharing not only your professional journey but also your insights, making a compelling case for holistic well-being and empowerment in the workplace.

Jackie's Journey: Cultivating Success at MindWise

Meet Jackie, with 16 years of dedication to the organisation, she shares her inspiring journey from a farm in the countryside to become an Area Manager, bringing positive change to mental health services."I am a real country girl at heart and could not transition to living in the city. I probably know more about tractors than is good for any person."


Career Progression


Reflecting on milestones, Jackie highlights her leap back into health and social care, spurred by her love for supporting others. Overcoming challenges in a predominantly female-dominated sector, she celebrates the increasing presence of women in leadership roles."After many years working at home on the farm, I was unsure about coming back to the world of health and social care, but from the first moment I started with a local agency, I knew it was the right pathway for me."

Jackie's pride resonates in the accomplishments of clients gaining independence and staff climbing career ladders. Notably, securing funding for a peer worker in the Homeless Hostel stands out, showcasing MindWise's commitment to innovation."Securing funding to increase the support we can provide gives a great sense of achievement. The relief and delight among the MindWise team when we were announced as one of the recipients was something I will always remember."


Investment and Training

MindWise's investment in Jackie's professional development, particularly through the Leadership and Management qualification, is evident. Family-friendly policies and training programs empower women to progress within the organisation."MindWise has supported me to complete training and qualifications across the years, and as a continuous learning organisation, there are many opportunities that I have availed of."


Leadership and Mentorship

Flexible leadership and mentorship have been Jackie's approach, contributing to a stable management team. Her support has paved the way for several managers, emphasising the importance of peer support."Being flexible and adaptable is important, allowing managers to get on with their role while being there to provide support, guidance, and share knowledge as needed."


Experiences as a Woman in the Workplace

Jackie navigated a sector where women dominate, yet she sheds light on the gendered responsibility of managing childcare emergencies. Acknowledging these challenges, she calls for equal opportunities for all. "As women tend to outnumber men in the sector, I haven’t had too many challenges. However, I have found on many occasions that when it comes to needing to support childcare or family caring responsibilities, it falls to the women to make arrangements to do this, especially when emergency or unplanned needs arise."


Diversity and Inclusion

For Jackie, an inclusive workplace involves family-friendly policies and equal opportunities. MindWise's focus on diverse experiences, especially those with lived experiences, fosters innovation in mental health services."Providing family-friendly policies and equal opportunities for all staff in the organisation is important."


International Women's Day Theme - Investing in Women

"MindWise's genuine investment in staff development and family-friendly policies align with this year's theme. Initiatives like enhanced annual leave positively impact women, providing flexibility and support. MindWise is one of the few organisations I know that value their staff and provide great opportunities for staff to personally develop outside their day-to-day work."


Inspiration and Hopes

Drawing inspiration from clients and MindWise's CEO, Anne Doherty, Jackie hopes for continuous growth and opportunities for future generations of women in the organisation."As well as our CEO - Anne Doherty, whose knowledge about the mental health arena is second to none, some of my inspiration comes from our clients who never fail to amaze me." No role in any organisations should be designated as men/female only, and therefore everyone has the same opportunities to work and grow within an organisation."


Advice for Others

Jackie, an ambassador for Careers in Health and Social Care Trust, encourages aspiring women to explore the vocational route, emphasising commitment and a willingness to tackle any challenge as keys to success. "University is not a route for everyone, and for those that want to look at other options, the vocational route can be an excellent alternative."

In Jackie's journey, we find a testament to resilience, leadership, and the transformative power of investing in women's professional growth.

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