International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to a number of our inspirational female team members about why they love working for the charity, some of their greatest achievements, and what advice they’d give to others wanting to work for MAAC!

 

Sarah Folley, paramedic

 

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

MAA really can make a difference between life and death. Working for them is a privilege as I get to see this first hand every single shift. The fact that 90 per cent of the region is within reach by helicopter within eight minutes makes this service vital but the really special thing is that it only made possible by charitable donations from the public. As Paramedics for MAA we have a responsibility to ensure we help deliver this service ensuring each and ever pound donated is put to good use in delivering first class patient care.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

I feel blessed to have three lovely children and they are by far my greatest achievement. They in turn believe that Mommies greatest achievement is to work with Midlands Air Ambulance providing lifesaving treatment at the scene of an emergency. Hopefully I've inspired them to believe they can achieved anything when they are older, my youngest wants to become a pilot to fly Mommy around at work!

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAAC?

Sometimes we all see things that are really sad, it helps by always delivering our best treatment and skill on each and every patient we see. It makes me appreciate each and ever day as we are constantly reminded that life is short and we really must enjoy every second, this is why I have chosen to do a job that I love and that is so rewarding.

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to become a paramedic.  What qualities do you need?

My only advice is to believe in yourself and never give up. I had been employed by the ambulance service for 21 years before I started working with the charity and it has took a lot of hard work and dedication to work for such an amazing charity. If you stay determined and are prepared to think outside the box a little then anything is possible- even becoming a HEMs Paramedic. 

5. What do you do to distress and unwind?

I love walking and go to the gym whenever I'm off work. I get lost in the world of audio books and enjoy spending time with my family. I try to encourage an active lifestyle for the whole family so we try to spend time together outdoors enjoying the local countryside.

 

Pam Seniore, finance assistant

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

I love charity work, giving is good!

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

The Great North Run, singing in a band, climbing Crib Goch, (Snowdon Ridge), completing The Three Peaks - take your pick!

4. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA? 

Getting you lot to raise Purchase Orders.

5. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need? 

You need to be conscientious, trustworthy and accurate.

6. Who is your inspiration? 

Female yachtswoman, Ellen MacArthur, she has balls of steel!!

7. What’s your secret talent? 

Cooking

8. What do you do to distress and unwind? 

Walk my dog, Rupert.

 

Samantha Bright, digital communications coordinator

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

I’ve always wanted to work for our charity. I didn’t know much about the charity and thought it would be an exciting challenge. 

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

Buying my house and being named employee of the year in 2017.

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

Managing expectations and capacity.

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need?

Keep up to date with industry news, try different roles to find one that suits you. You need to be very conscientious and flexible. 

5. Who is your inspiration?

Ginger Spice! I admire Karen Brady’s career (but not her choice of football team!) Katie Piper is an inspirational woman. 

6. What’s your secret talent?

Organising/planning.

7. What do you do to distress and unwind?

I have a nice hot bubbly bath and watch something on my tablet or take the dogs for a walk. 

 

Charley Burke, PR and communications coordinator

1. Why did you want to work with MAA 

I wanted to work with MAAC because I love what the charity does, and I also saw what a great team we have here. As soon as I walked in the building, I knew it had the family culture and values I wanted to be part of.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

My greatest achievement is my home – I love working hard and going home every evening to my own little piece of the world!

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

Managing my workload is my biggest challenge at the moment, thankfully I have a very supportive team around me!

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need?

I’d say try and network as much as possible in your early career – it gives you the confidence needed to build work relationships both internally and externally. 

5. Who is your inspiration?

My mom is my inspiration – she has gone so far in her career, whilst providing amazing support to me no matter what.

6. What’s your secret talent?

I make the best scrambled egg ever!

7. What do you do to distress and unwind?

I unwind by going to my parents’ house for tea – my dad’s cooking is incredible, and always makes me feel great.

 

Erin Hughes, regional fundraising executive 

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

When I decided to go back to work after having Artie, I was only willing to leave him for a job with a charity, doing something which I was really passionate about. When I saw a job opportunity at MAAC I knew that it was a job I would be passionate about and love, so it was an easy decision.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

My greatest achievement is Artie. In particular, one day when a child his age was crying in a queue, just very bored, and Artie gave him a cuddle and then started pulling imaginary sweets from his pocket and giving them to this little boy. I was just glowing that he wanted to help make this little boy happy.

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

I genuinely don’t feel like I face any major challenges working for MAAC! I love what I do and I feel really proud of it. I suppose it’s managing my own expectations – I just want to do the best job possible and make lots of money to keep the helicopters flying!

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need?

To fellow women who want to work in the same role – you absolutely can do it! Don’t doubt your abilities or think it is beyond you. The most important quality in this job is to be personable, friendly and sociable. I thought I was incapable of juggling motherhood and full time work, and women are told you have to make a choice between children and career, but it’s a lie, especially at MAAC!

5. Who is your inspiration?

My inspirations are many. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by hard-working, amazing women all my life. I think, though, if I had to pick one I’d say Malala Yousafzai. In a place that told her she couldn’t, she did, even when it meant risking her own life to make a better world for the girls who came next.

6. What’s your secret talent?

My secret talent – my singing isn’t much of a secret!! 

7. What do you do to distress and unwind?

To distress and unwind, I play my piano, and I read (when I get the chance!) I also love to go walking on Cannock Chase or down the canal path in Stafford, whatever the weather. It’s just relaxing and peaceful.

 

Fay Pollock, critical care paramedic 

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

Quite literally to provide the best and most optimal care to our patients.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

My greatest achievement is to get on the helicopter, I think I told my mum when I was about ten years old when I aircraft flew over our garden ‘I want to be on that mum!’ 30 years later and I am! And there’s not one single day that I don’t thank my little stars.  In my personal life my greatest achievement has to be having a fabulous life, fabulous family, fabulous bunch of friends and fabulous job...what more can a person ask for?

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

The biggest challenge has to be continually keeping up with the most recent clinical and medical pre-hospital treatment.  The medical profession is like a steam train as we learn more and more about the human body and its effect after treatment. 

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need?

Do it! It’s like having a second family! 

5. What do you do to distress and unwind?

I do a lot of running and fitness to help me unwind and distress, it is just lovely to go out on a cold winters morning before the rest of the world is awake and catch the frost crisp and undisturbed. 

 

Sheelagh Withers, airdesk dispatcher

1. Why did you want to work for MAA?

To work with friendly and exciting people - to tell someone that you work for the MAA gives me a sense of pride and people are always interested in what you have to say!

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

Having such pride in my children and what they have achieved.  

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

Making sure all the critical care paramedics, paramedics and doctors are behaving properly!

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to become a HEMS Dr / Para / Airdesk dispatcher. What qualities do you need?

Not sure I could give anyone advice but qualities would include sense of humour - (definitely) patience - respect - keeping an open mind - good communication skills.

5. What do you do to de-stress and unwind?

Walk dog - read - watch films and TV dramas - nights out with family and friends.

 

Amanda Martin, information developer

1. Why did you want to work for MAA?

I wanted to work for MAAC because I thought I could put my skills to use in making a difference to people’s lives.  You never know when you may need this service so there is nothing more satisfying than contributing to the operation of it.  Some good friends of mine who are bikers have benefitted and in a way, I feel I’m helping to support that.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

My greatest achievement on a personal level is creating my family network.  I have a wonderful, supportive husband and three great kids who have achieved so much and they all make me proud every day. Professionally, it would have to be gaining qualifications both work related and musically that everyone told me I would never achieve.  Throw me the gauntlet and I will always pick up the challenge!

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

My biggest challenge working for MAAC is getting everyone to record data accurately.  Bad data gives us bad reports and misinformed decisions which are useless. With this job, you become a bit of a data quality nerd.  If you’re going to do something, do it right.

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work with MAA?

For any woman wanting to do this job, I’d say go for it.  Informatics is not as dull as everyone thinks and with the right training, you don’t have to be a computer geek or mathematician like everyone thinks.  If you’re nosey like me, you get to find lots of things out about all sorts of aspects of the organisation too.  There is the satisfaction of feeling that your contribution makes a difference too.  Skills needed are:-

  • An understanding of the output required so you know what has to be recorded (you can only get out of a system what goes into it)
  • An appreciation of the target audience you are presenting information to.  Some people may want an overview and some basic figures whereas others may need a more in-depth analysis
  • Reasonably good IT skills but you don’t have to be an expert.  Most of the software you use does the hard work for you
  • The ability to apply your knowledge and common sense to a problem
  • Good understanding and communication skills on all levels
  • A good sense of humour – always

5. Who is your inspiration?

My inspiration are the great inventors and scholars.  I remember watching a program about Thomas Edison as a kid and when he was working on the design of the light bulb and was challenged by someone who said he was wasting his time and had failed he was quoted as saying “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”.  In other words, don’t give up.  Some of his other inspiring quotes are:- “Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up”, “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this - you haven't”, “We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work”, “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t”, “Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless”, “I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favour of the kings of the world” and last but not least “I never did a day's work in my life, it was all fun”.  We spend a lot of our lives working so we may as well enjoy it. 

6. Do you have any secret talents? 

I do have a go at lots of things because I have one life and I’m going to make the best of it but I wouldn’t say I’m particularly talented at anything specific.

7. What do you do to de-stress and unwind?

Very rarely do I stress about anything other than my kids and it’s usually over silly little things that I later realise, don’t matter.  I’m very much a believer in what will be will be and things always work out in the end one way or another and not always in the way we expect them to.  To unwind, there is nothing better than a nice long bike ride but that’s only a recent venture.  I’ve always done a lot of crafting and set up a business five years ago doing embroidery and garment decoration.  I love working and the best bit is digitising new embroidery designs because it’s intricate and precise so that satisfies the perfectionist in me.

 

Annabelle Feetenby regional fundraising executive

1. Why you wanted to work with MAA

I love working for a charity as it’s really important for me to know every day I go to work I am making a difference, it is really fulfilling. Particularly MAAC, I am in a role in the charity that plays a part in ensuring the operation of the air ambulance, which is a lifesaving service for the community.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

I was delighted when I started my role as Fundraising Executive for MAAC. I had wanted this role for a while so I was so happy when I was given the opportunity to really get out there in the community and fundraise for such an important cause. 

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA

Time – there never seems to be enough hours in the day.

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need?

It’s vital to be passionate about the cause. I think you have to be organised to keep on top of the different work we do, as well as being a hard worker.

5. Who is your inspiration?

My parents! They have worked hard and sacrificed a lot so that I can do well.

6. What do you do to distress and unwind?

I love the app ‘Headspace’ and use this every day.

 

Karen Baker, CCP and Aircrew Team Leader

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

I always wanted to join air operations since the day I joined the ambulance service 18 years ago in 2001. I worked hard and was successful on my first application.  I’ve now been here for 11 years in May.  I joined the emergency services for a reason as I wanted those unlucky enough to be involved in severe and life-threatening emergency situations.  Midlands Air Ambulance Charity targets the most critically ill and injured people, has the best teams, equipment, training and pre hospital capability and I wanted to be a part of that.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional)

My career!

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA

At the moment… my administrative job as a team leader.  Keeping on top of the workload - rostering of seven different platforms within our unit, staff management, day to day and strategic management of a busy unit as well as working clinically.  There’s just a lot to do.  On top of that, taking part in challenges run by the charity and fundraising.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week!  

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to become a paramedic. What qualities do you need?

If it’s what you want to do then follow your dream. Anything is possible but you have to go and grab the opportunities with both hands.  These jobs don’t fall into your lap.  You have to work towards them, make yourself stand out and take every relevant course and opportunity that comes your way.

5. What do you do to distress and unwind?

Spend time with my boyfriend, walk my dog, socialise with my friends, drink G&Ts

 

Jo Bailey, events and regional fundraising manager

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

Why wouldn’t you? An amazing charity with values that mirror my personal values and such an amazing bunch of people.

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional) 

Personally has to be having my amazing son. Professionally – when last year our team put on our first open day at our Tatenhill airbase. Working and living in Staffordshire I was so proud of the team, it was such an awesome day.

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

We have to raise £9 million each year and if we don’t achieve that we don’t have such an incredible, lifesaving service. With our amazing team, crew, volunteers and donors –everyone makes it happen.

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need?

You need passion, you may not have any charity experience like me when I first started but I had the passion which I still have for such an amazing charity. 

5. Who is your inspiration? 

I hate to be corny but my mom – she was a widow and bought me up alone from when I was 11 years old, she worked so hard and that’s where I get my work ethic from and my son has exactly the same work ethic, she would be so proud.

6. What’s your secret talent?

Haha I’m still looking for that.

7. What do you do to distress and unwind?

I love bootcamp, running (when I don’t have a broken foot), reading/listening to inspirational books and trying to find that secret talent.

 

Kerry Hemus critical care paramedic

1. Why did you want to work with MAA?

I wanted to work for the charity since I came to look around the aircraft as a cadet. I loved the difference it made to peoples outcomes and it has only got better since then (as that was quite a long time ago!!) Plus I love flying!!

2. Your greatest achievement (personal or professional) 

My greatest achievement is my daughter Olivia. She's amazing and I'm so proud of her. However, professionally my greatest achievement is becoming a critical care paramedic in 2009 and working alongside this amazing team of people. 

3. What is the biggest challenge working for MAA?

The biggest challenge working for MAA I think is dealing with the traumatic cases and the families of those people. It is an amazing job when you can make a difference but not so much when the outcome is negative. Thankfully, we have a great support network and we always get contacted after difficult cases. 

4. What advice would you give fellow women looking to work in your position? What qualities do you need?

My advice to anyone wanting to become part of the team whether it be CCP, Dr or Air dispatcher is go for it. It's an amazing job with plenty of support and opportunity for learning. I would say as a paramedic or doctor to make sure you have enough experience for the next level of learning and definitely be a team player. 

5. What do you do to distress and unwind?

To de-stress and unwind I go to the gym. There's nothing better than the feeling after you have exercised. I am able to go when not on shift in the daytime and I also exercise at home. I also love spending quality time with the family making memories. 

OPERATIONS STATISTICS:
Missions completed since 1991: 50,563 | On average we airlift a child every four days | Road traffic collisions make up around 35% of the incidents we attend | The service airlifts on average four horse riders each week.