PCYC Queensland Women in Profile: Andy Cassidy
In celebration of Queensland Women’s Week meet Andy Cassidy, PCYC Queensland General Manager Indigenous Programs
Beginning her journey with PCYC Queensland in March 2000, this year marks Ms Cassidy’s 20th anniversary. Leading from the front, seeing passion and commitment from her team and making the impossible possible across the remote communities of Queensland are the driving forces that have shaped her 20-year career.
How did your journey with PCYC Queensland start?
I had come to know and rely heavily upon the work of PCYC Queensland in the Rockhampton community through my close contact whilst working as a support officer for mothers and their children requiring the service of the local women’s shelter. This working partnership was the catalyst to applying to work for PCYC Queensland as a ‘doing organisation’ in community. I began my adventure with the organisation in March 2000 as a regional Youth Development Worker in Central Queensland, working with eight PCYC Queensland clubs.
How have you progressed through PCYC Queensland?
I have embraced my progression within PCYC Queensland, starting as a Youth Development Worker in Central Queensland, then transferring to the same position in North Queensland to raise my then-young family. I was then afforded the opportunity to help establish PCYC Palm Island, which led to me lobbying for a standalone Indigenous role within PCYC Queensland that would bring a dedicated platform to the Indigenous PCYC Queensland clubs in Mornington Island, Palm Island and Yarrabah at that time.
I seized the opportunity to embrace the North Queensland Zone Development Manager role for 2.5 years prior to establishing my current General Manager Indigenous Programs portfolio in 2013, which required me to move my family and life from Townsville to Brisbane. I liken this move to the country mouse learning how to become a city mouse!
What are some of your highlights over the past 20 years?
There are so many highlights to mention! Mostly, the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside and whom I have come to regard as my PCYC family, and the communities I have connected with and advocated for to affect positive change.
My PCYC Queensland experience has been a genuine adventure that has taken me to places where most people wouldn’t have the opportunity to venture. Bringing some joy into the lives of young people and their families in some very challenging locations has been incredibly rewarding.
My “ah-ha” moment is seeing the smile that erupts on a young person’s face and hearing the giggles of delight as you see the fruits of your team’s efforts resulting in the provision of a program or resource, or an event you’ve made possible – in communities where many other services are not available.
What drives you to achieve in your career?
The driving passion and commitment I see time and again from many of my colleagues and branch managers (police officers) has been, and remains to be, a significant driver for me over the past 20 years. I have worked alongside many of the same people throughout my career in different capacities and they continue to inspire me to achieve in my own career and to keep spreading my passion for community.
PCYC Queensland is an organisation that supports their people to realise and achieve their potential through growth opportunities within the company.
What achievements are you proud of?
I have always proudly shared that PCYC Queensland makes the ‘impossible possible’ for many communities where others would not venture, due to their challenging nature of these remote locations.
PCYC Queensland brings a platform of possibilities to communities where they are usually limited, and I feel very blessed to belong to a company that has supported my passion and career pathway coming together and allowing me to work across many metro, regional and remote communities to bring them a unique participation experience.
During the many unspoken long hours often spent in transit on my own and with my team to get to the locations we work in, and facing challenging conditions at every turn – when the outcome is the delivery of an activity, program or event for young people and their families, bringing them something that our mainstream communities can access daily with ease as part of the norm – that is what I’m proud of.
How do you inspire your team and what’s important to you as a leader?
My team are my family and I nurture my team by investing myself in who they are, what’s important to them, what their strengths and passions are, then I stoke that wherever possible to get the best from each and every one of them. If my team feels valued and energised, I do too.
I firmly believe in leading from the front and I don’t expect my team to do anything that I’m not prepared to do alongside them. I believe leading from the front and creating opportunities for my team to learn and experience new things builds their capacity to be more effective for the communities we are committed to, which benefits all.
Who has inspired you along the way?
I’ve had many mighty women in my personal and work life who have shaped who I am. My mother has been my inspiration, a highly resilient woman who is a tireless worker who never gives up on achieving what she sets out to do, irrespective of the challenges before her!
I also had the honour of working alongside some amazing women whilst working in a women’s shelter in Rockhampton who taught me some dear lessons about people, community and life, and inspired me to work hard with and for community for positive change.
What are you most excited about for the future of PCYC Queensland?
Being part of PCYC Queensland’s evolution in its commitment to work with and being responsive to the Queensland communities it works alongside has been wonderfully gratifying.
I feel excited for our organisation’s ability to continue working with regional and remote locations to grow these communities to deliver a PCYC Queensland platform that will reduce the gap in accessible social, emotional well-being programs and services for young people and their families often experienced due to isolation of their community.
Click here for more information on PCYC Queensland’s Indigenous Programs.