07 March, 2024

We’re celebrating International Women’s Day (8 March) by platforming some of the highly talented and dedicated women who make up our leadership team.

It takes a village to power RAQ, and we value the contribution and expertise of all 411 of our passionate staff.

We’re proud to foster a supportive work environment that champions diversity and inclusion.

83.6% of our staff identify as female, and 83.3% of our management positions are held by women, including an all-female executive team.

These RAQ leaders have generously shared some of the valuable lessons they’ve learned on their professional journeys.


Remember the importance of your values

Over the years, I’ve built up a variety of skills and experience that has helped me develop and grow into various leadership roles in my career, leading me to some incredible organisations that do amazing things for the people they serve.

Working with a mentor helped me articulate a clear understanding of my core value as an employee and the personal values that I bring to the table. The values I hold help guide my decision-making, my leadership style, and the interactions I have with my team.

I’ve found that when you uphold your values consistently, this helps to build credibility. It fosters trust in your team and helps get positive outcomes and progress for the organisation.

Cassandra Ashton – General Manager, Strategy & Innovation


There is only one you

There have been many times in my life when people around me generously shared all their knowledge and wisdom – whether I asked for it or not.

When I started a relationship, chose a course to study, was pregnant, had a baby... there were lots of people who shared what they did and what I should do. Some of the information was helpful, some of it wasn't, and all of it was well-intentioned.

As a leader, there has been lots of advice given to me about how to lead. Some of that advice came from people who I greatly admired. It took me a while to realise that there is only one me and I needed to trust myself.

We can all learn from others, and my commitment is to always reflect and grow. Learning to grow included learning to listen to myself, to trust my own strengths, and to listen to the quiet voice inside me.  

There is only one me – and I have a lot to offer. When we trust ourselves and value our own strengths, we offer genuine leadership and courage.  

Natasha Rae – Chief Executive Officer


Turn talk into action

I often ask myself, “What is the action that could happen here as a result of this conversation?”

I find I use my work time better when the discussions I’m in lead to action I’ll take, or action someone else agrees to take in the business. If the talking doesn’t lead to an action, I question the value of the talking and reflect on what other needs the talking is serving.

I then use this motto when leading other people in working groups and catchup meetings. What is the action they think they need to take to help them achieve their priorities and the organisation’s priorities?

Sometimes a person can’t yet articulate the problem, what they’re trying to change, or what they have in their control to address a particular issue. And this is a good place to make space for exploring, “What needs to happen next to turn the talk into action?”

Dr. Jemima Petch – Head of Practice


Understanding different behavioural styles builds exceptional teams

Before starting at RAQ, I worked as a consultant for an amazing female leader who taught me a crucial lesson: understanding people’s different behavioural styles is the cornerstone of building exceptional teams.

When people learn to appreciate what makes them different, they can leverage each other's strengths.

She demonstrated the unique ability to tap into people’s behavioural styles, understand them, and do something small to show gratitude and appreciation. She taught me that by acknowledging each team member's unique contributions, we create an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered. 

It’s not always easy! Working with people with various behavioural types requires empathy and adaptability. There must be open, honest communication and mutual respect.

The sweet spot? A team where every voice matters and every skill counts.

Here at RAQ, I’ve seen time and again how diverse perspectives fuel creativity and problem-solving. In the end, it’s the sum of our differences that brings us success.

Toni Meehan – Program Manager


Leaders are not always in leadership roles

Leadership inspiration can come from anyone, anywhere, and being in a leadership role doesn’t necessarily make you a leader.

Recently I have been inspired by conversations with a couple of admin staff. Their professional integrity and accountability, self-reflection, and trust in themselves was inspirational. As are practitioners who lead and guide their clients through collaborative and purposeful practice.

So continue to seek inspiration from those around you – you can always learn something.

Kate Lloyd – Manager of Clinical Supervision


Your voice is strengthened with silence

Learning how and when to use my voice has been a lifelong journey for me. Being fortunate to be raised in a well-resourced family with good education and safe home environment, learning how to use words was easy. But understanding the timing of them is a different learning. Learning when silence is more powerful and when speaking up is stronger. It’s a navigation.

The lifelong learning is about using your voice to know when to speak up against injustice. Or speaking up to create the space for others less powerful to use their voice. It’s about using your voice to ask questions that encourage change.

Helen Poynten – Regional Manager, Southwest Queensland


Give your team the trust and space to grow

I’ve learnt to trust staff to take authority over decisions in their assigned roles. This allows them room to be creative, find new solutions to old problems, and ultimately stretch their abilities and grow in their strengths.

I like to inspire and motivate staff without micromanaging. I do this by setting examples, building relationships for open conversations, and teaching through my experiences.

It takes strength and strong judgement to provide this place for staff to become vulnerable and accept that they may make mistakes and learn from them, as I have done in my career. Some of my biggest learnings have come from stepping out and trusting myself to be able to achieve.

Valerie Holden – Regional Manager, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay & Moreton Bay and

Strategic Practice Lead, Senior Relationship Services & Family and Relationship Services


Surround yourself with support in leadership

One of my greatest pieces of advice is to have great supports in leadership around you to lean on. Leadership can be a lonely role at times, with many competing pressures.

Having fellow managers to listen and support you is what builds great management teams.

I truly value my colleagues as they bring honesty, support, and great mentorship along with differing views.

Susan Iddon – Regional Manager, Brisbane & Gold Coast

Strategic Lead, Childrens Contact Services


Leadership has very little to do with me and everything to do with my team

Being a leader is about understanding the direction and goal you’re working toward, being transparent about it, and knowing that you'll never get there without your team. Making time to get to know your team individually and how they function helps to create a culture of trust, support, and authenticity.

I’ve always shared with my teams that I have an expectation that we’ll work hard. But for most of us, we spend more time at work than we do at home, so let's make sure we’re having fun along the way and being very deliberate about making space for that fun.

Samantha Mitchell – Workforce Diversity Lead


Use leadership qualities in a way that feels authentic to you

In the early years of my career, I was lucky to have had a leader who not only was a great leader but had this amazing confidence in herself. I’d not seen this before and was fascinated by this unwavering confidence in herself, her team, and her decisions.

As a young woman in her early 20s, I didn’t even know women could be this confident and sure. It was inspiring, and I wanted to feel that.

This leader was generous with her time and wisdom and is still to this day someone I look up to and catch up with a few times a year. She’s been a mentor who I identified had qualities that I admired, that I wanted and needed, and I knew would be beneficial to the career I wanted to build.

Over the years, I’ve identified qualities in those around me – generally leaders who I admired – and I became curious around a specific quality or skill they had.

I’d watch how they used it, when they pulled it out and when they didn’t, and I learned over time how they used this quality to their and their team’s benefit.  Slowly over time, I learned how this quality enhanced what I could offer as a leader and team member.

This has had a huge impact on the type of leader I am. It’s one thing to identify qualities that make great leaders, but it’s another to find how these qualities authentically fit with you.

I like to think there’s no one perfect formula for a perfect leader. Good leaders come in all shapes and sizes and use a variety of leadership skills, theories, and techniques in a way that is completely authentic and genuine for them and those they lead.

Lea-Anne Meehan – Regional Manager, Metro & North Brisbane


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