Queensland Women’s Week 2022: Andy Cassidy

In celebration of Queensland Women’s Week meet Andy Cassidy, PCYC Queensland General Manager Indigenous Programs   

Andy’s time at PCYC Queensland has been an adventure full of important milestones and empowering moments for not only Andy, but also for women in some of the most far reaching corners of Queensland.  

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey at PCYC Queensland. 

PCYC has given me such a wonderful and varied packet of experiences since 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 afforded the opportunity to help establish PCYC Palm Island, which led to me lobbying for a standalone Indigenous role within PCYC Queensland, to 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 being a country mouse learning how to become a city mouse!  

What is one of your proudest achievements during your time at PCYC Queensland (personally or professionally)? 

I have experienced so many highlights over my 22-year career with this organisation. 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 effect 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.  

I am so grateful that PCYC Queensland continues to make the ‘impossible possible’ for many communities where others would not venture, due to the challenging nature of these remote locations. PCYC Queensland brings a platform of possibilities to communities that are usually limited, and I feel very blessed to belong to a company that has supported my passion and career pathway coming together; allowing me to work across many metro, regional and remote communities to bring them a unique participation experience 

Who are some of your biggest female inspirations & why? 

My grandmother (Nonni) and my Mum have been my greatest inspirations of strong confident women who have challenged the generational stereotypes of what a woman should be to achieve their goals whilst remaining devoted to supporting their family. They taught me that you can be a mother, a wife, a friend and achieve your career goals at the same time.  They have always supported me to embrace the challenge and grow from it. 

Why do you think it’s important that we recognise QLD Women’s Week? 

Women have and continue to work hard to achieve equality in our society and break free from the stereotypes that have challenged women over history.  QLD Women’s Week is dedicated to celebrating women in all domains and their contributions to society whether they be a stay-at-home mother, a working professional or other.  Presenting good examples of how women can achieve their career goals is important in empowering other women and our upcoming generations.  It sends a clear message that ‘I am important, and I can achieve what I set-out to do in my life’. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

‘Be your own person’ was the most valuable piece of advice my beloved Grandmother (Nonni Bella) imparted on me from a very young age.  This advice has grounded and guided me through the years in times of fear of what lays ahead and taking leaps of faith.  In our ever-changing environments with influences from all domains, it is important that you truly understand who you are, what you want from your life and go and get it irrespective of the self-doubt, critics, and cynics you may encounter along the way. 

What are one of your main goals for this year? 

Keep whittling away my MBA studies and share my learnings with my Team.  Spend more recreational time doing the things that make me smile.