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"Let's be there for one another"
As CFA’s Manager of Community Safety for one of Victoria’s most fire prone regions, Tammy Garrett admits the job can seem daunting. As the first woman to hold the role in CFA’s North East Region, there’s also a sense of achievement.
With a background in biology, and roles in local government and Victoria Police, Tammy was well positioned to take on the job more than four years ago. But she is still one of only a handful of senior women working in the male dominated industry.
“As Manager Community Safety for North East Region I often attend conferences where I’m either the only woman or one of very few,” she says.
“It’s easy to feel daunted but I’m grateful that I’m able to represent CFA and also show my two daughters that nothing is impossible. Anyone can do anything they want, you just have to be there to give it a go.”
Tammy says the most satisfying part of the job is working with a diverse range of people of all ages, backgrounds and functions.
“I have so much respect for CFA and the people who work in this fantastic organisation. Yes, there are challenges, but they’re always made easier through the support of those around me - peers, volunteers and the wider CFA family.”
Tammy believes recognition of the contribution women make to CFA holds the key to encouraging more to work and volunteer with CFA.
“There’s a lot of amazing work being done by women that we don’t hear enough about,” she says.
“We need to promote the excellent achievements of CFA women. More importantly, women need to encourage each other, recognise that we all face similar challenges and be an active network - not just throw the term around loosely, but actively be there for one another.”
“Women in leadership roles, need to actively talk and support those who are looking for opportunities to undertake a leadership role either in CFA or another emergency service agency.”
“Gender is often an easily recognised difference amongst people in leadership roles in CFA, but it is not a barrier. Instead, look at the opportunities it brings to the organisation - being a diverse range of thoughts, decision making and delivery of solutions.”
For other stories celebrating International Women’s Day click here.