St John Ambulance Queensland celebrates International Women’s Day

News from St John - 8 Mar 2023

What better way to celebrate the day than sharing some stories of the inspiring women in our team making a difference to the lives of Queenslanders.

Photo Credit: Kahla in the front with the Morningside Panthers AFL Club, photographed by Mark Button Photography.

What is International Women’s Day?

In 1908, against a backdrop of terrible working conditions and exploitation, 15,000 women took to the streets in New York protesting for shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

That day is celebrated now around the globe as International Women’s Day.

While IWD is a chance to raise awareness on rights gaps, organisers also use the day to celebrate progress and the achievements of individual women.

Recent research shows we are doing our part when it comes to supporting equality:

  • 55.5 per cent of our workforce are women.
  • We have achieved gender pay equality across the organisation.
  • Our executive management team is made up of 50 per cent women.
  • 67 per cent of those we help through our community programs are women.

We are featuring some of the inspirational women working at St John Ambulance Queensland who are kicking goals.

Kahla McKinless is our Training Manager and supports our First Aid trainers.

I started my career as a Lifeguard working with Royal Life Saving Queensland two decades ago. This role very quickly transitioned to delivering non-accredited training to children aged 4-14 years, in a school holiday program called Junior Lifeguard. From there I moved into the RTO working as a Training Administrator issuing certificates, conducting enrolments and course bookings. Through this time my love for RTO’s and the appreciation I had for trainers grew.

As a Life Saver I resuscitated two young children in different circumstances, while confronting, these experiences left a profound impact on my life and led to the future direction of my career leading the First Aid team at St John Ambulance. Whilst both of my experiences shook me, they resulted in successful outcomes and the families continued to stay in touch well after the event.

What is your proudest achievement whilst working at St John Ambulance Queensland?

My proudest moments are the ‘good news’ stories I hear every day. These stories are passed on from our students who have provided First Aid to family members, friends, or members of the community.

Our students share their feelings, the emotions they felt and the quick actions they took to provide First Aid to someone in need without hesitation, with confidence, all because of the quality training they received from us. These stories inspire me to continue to inspire others.

Is there a particular woman that has inspired you the most and why?

My mother is my greatest inspiration. She faced a lot of adversity in her life, I admire her for her ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions, she has worked extremely hard to provide for us.

I am also inspired by all the amazing women at my AFL club the Morningside Panthers. This year, we have reached a club record of most registered female players, and this continues to grow year on year.

This year’s IWD23 theme is #EmbraceEquity, what does that mean to you?

“Embracing equity to me means a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of life. It also means actively seeking out and amplifying diverse voices and perspectives and creating spaces where everyone feels valued and heard.” – Kahla McKinless