Happy International Women’s Day!
Celebrated since 1911, IWD is the perfect occasion for recognizing and acknowledging the achievements of women, as well as appreciating their immense contribution to their communities and the people around them.
Today, we are proud to interview the highly accomplished and multi-talented Bree Ambry – our Team Leader Training and Development.
Bree’s story of resilience and hard work is an inspiring reminder that anything is possible when you are driven by your passion and a dedication to learning. We invite you to join us as we hear from Bree about her journey, her experiences and her life lessons.
Let’s get started!
Tell us a bit about your background:
I was born in Melbourne, but spent most of my childhood in Tasmania’s north-west, before moving back to Melbourne and studying Division 2 nursing at Chisholm TAFE in Frankston. I worked as an Div. 2 nurse for many years, mainly in operating theatres, but also casually on the wards.
After I had my daughter in 2011, I was given an opportunity to move into teaching first aid, and in 2017, I joined MePACS, firstly as an Emergency Response Operator and Relief Team Leader before moving into a Client Services role. I now look after training and development and work closely with our Operations Manager.
Why did you choose to work at MePACS:
Coming from a healthcare background, I chose MePACS because of the strong focus on the welfare of vulnerable members of our community. I am very passionate and proud of the way we are able to support our clients’ independent lifestyle, and also the fact that we are able to provide reassurance to their family members who may not live close to our clients but know that they are well supported by us 24/7. During the COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne in recent years, we continued to be a vital source of support for so many seniors and individuals around the country.
What steps did you take to advance your career, and where do you see yourself going?
I was an Enrolled Nurse and working as a Scrub/Scout theatre nurse until I had my daughter in 2011. After she was born, I found I wasn’t very good at sitting still so returned to study. I found that I enjoyed the legal aspect of the units I was doing, so enrolled into an Arts Degree at Deakin University with an intent to transfer into law.
Instead, I found that I really enjoyed studying politics and international relations. I then went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts focusing on politics, international relations and history before completing Honours in 2021.
I’m now working towards a Master of Politics and Policy and a Master of Public Health which I hope to complete around the same time that I turn 40. While I don’t know where these studies will take my career in the long term, I hope I’m able to continue in a role that advocates for, and advances health outcomes for individuals.
What do you believe are some of the contributions that women bring into your team at MePACS?
Each of the women that we have at MePACS have brought different skills and qualities with them when they joined our team. It is these skills and qualities that when combined enable us to continue to provide the high-quality care for our clients that we are known for.
From the new staff that we’ve employed through to supporting and guiding our newer Team Leaders, I’m proud to have been able to mentor many of the women that we have at MePACS, and at the same time receive great mentorship from the women (and men) who sit within the Management team.
What are some of your proudest moments?
One of my biggest challenges was completing my Honours degree and writing a 17,000-word thesis during Covid lockdowns, while also working full time and raising my daughter. It showed me just how capable I can be.
Another achievement I’m very proud of is advocating for breast cancer awareness and running fundraisers to support breast cancer charities.
Also being named Life Saving Victoria’s Assessor of the Year for 2 consecutive years and being the Victorian finalist in the Surf Life Saving Australia’s Awards of Excellence.
Is there a piece of advice you’ve been given that has really helped you in life?
That no matter what is occurring in your life, that you need to value your own self-worth, stop self-doubting and try not to overthink things.
Do you have a female role model, or someone who inspired you?
On a personal level, my Mum was my biggest role model and champion – she would always do what she could to help others, and even when she was fighting breast cancer, she was looking out for those around her, and I hope that I was able to, and continue to, make her proud.
Good friends of mine also inspire me in their own ways – Malene with her unwavering friendship, support, advice and our continual adventures; and Linda for how much she contributes to and supports our local community.
I’m also lucky to have a couple of male friends who not only inspire me with their careers, but also champion and encourage me to succeed in my own career and life.
From a professional level, I’ve taken inspiration from a range of different women over the years, including:
- Dr Catherine Hamlin, who with her husband Reg, changed the maternal health landscape for women in Ethiopia
- MP Julie Bishop while she was the Federal Mister for Foreign Affairs
- Eleanor Roosevelt – while my Honours thesis may have focused on her husband, Eleanor became the first delegate of the United Nations, and oversaw the drafting of the Declaration of Human Rights and fought for the rights of World War Two refugees along with helping to expand the rights of women within the workplace/workforce.
Finally, what’s your message for other women who want to succeed in their life and career?
“It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The theme for this year’s IWD is #EmbraceEquity. For guidelines and resources visit www.internationalwomensday.com