• Celebrating women in leadership for International Women’s Day

    Celebrating women in leadership for International Women’s Day

    This International Women’s Day, we look to one of Resthaven’s female leaders, Resthaven Executive Manager Community Services, Sue McKechnie, who is retiring this month after almost two decades in the role.

    In light of her retirement, Sue reflects on her career and inspirations, her experience of being a woman in leadership, and how she believes Resthaven supports women in business.

    Sue’s initial leadership ambitions in her early years were inspired by family role models who actively sought out leadership roles in their local communities.

    She explains, ‘this inspired me to do the same — to make a difference in both my personal life and my professional work.’

    ‘My background in health, paired with my interest in helping people be the best they can be, set me on the path to a leadership role with Resthaven.’

    ‘I started at Resthaven in 2004 with an interest in people and community. I wanted to take the opportunity to assist Resthaven to develop its community services and further realise its commitment to quality in service.’

    Sue chatting with a Western Community Services client, December 2022

    ‘Since then, Resthaven Community Services has grown from a small metropolitan-based operation to be the largest home care service provider for older people in South Australia, delivering a broad range of services across the entire continuum, employing more than 1,000 staff.’

    ‘Throughout my leadership journey, I have been inspired by great campaigners, including Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Florence Nightingale,’ she says.

    ‘Encouraged by their stories, I realised that by taking up policy roles and championing new initiatives, I could influence better outcomes for more people.’

    Throughout her journey in business, Sue has recognised that women in senior leadership positions are vital role models for women who want to pursue these types of roles in the future.

    According to her, ‘one of my favourite things about my leadership role has been my ability to generate positive change and contribute to an inclusive workplace culture.’

    ‘Every female leader brings their own style, models and pathways to teach younger women. The ability to support others has made my role hugely rewarding.’

    ‘Resthaven’s purpose, and values of “Trust Dignity Choice,” closely align with my personal philosophy.’

    ‘My personal values influence my career choices and decisions. I would only work for an organisation that respects and supports diversity and inclusion,’ she says.

    Like many organisations, Resthaven has continued to evolve its strong diversity statement, with respect to recognising inclusive involvement in leadership and creating equal opportunities to support its workforce.

    Sue explains, ‘Resthaven provides leadership development programs, encourages women to gain additional qualifications relevant to their field, and introduces policies to support women — all of which empower women personally and professionally.’

    When asked about what International Women’s Day means to her, Sue says, ‘The world is making positive strides towards gender equality at the highest levels of business. But the balance still isn’t there in a lot of ways, and challenges remain for women in roles of leadership and everyday life.’

    ‘While we’re on the right path, there is certainly still movement to come. This day will continue to be a pillar of celebrating women and striving for equality.’

    Sue encourages anyone who wants to progress their career into a leadership role to ‘go for it’.

    ‘If you believe in yourself and develop your abilities, you will reach your full potential.’

    Now, in retirement, Sue looks forward to a well-deserved holiday, and then no doubt some ongoing contribution to her local community.

    Thank you for your dedicated service, Sue! You are a truly inspirational woman, and we wish you all the very best for the future.

    Woman with short blonde hair smiling and standing on interior balcony with hands on railing, wearing a white and red floral dress

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