Queensland Women’s Week 2022: Heidi Senior

Women with sandy blonde hair and dark tips, smiling at camera in selfie. Wearing a necklace and multicolor soft floral top.

In celebration of Queensland Women’s Week meet Heidi Senior, PCYC Queensland’s Acting General Manager & Head of Corporate Affairs.   

Heidi’s commitment to her often underestimated field of work is paving the way for the women she works with and the young women PCYC Queensland supports to be empowered in their conviction to follow their dreams.  

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

I come from an industry (Marketing and Communications) that is predominantly female and where the skills required to complete the job such as strategy, strong organisational knowledge and the ability to understand and drive business are often underestimated. 

I am extremely proud of my background, but people’s preconceived ideas of the work this involves – I have during my career heard of Marketing and Communications being described as the “colouring in” department – can be difficult if you want to expand your career beyond your immediate field.  

At PCYC Queensland I have been privileged for most of my time to report directly to our Chief Operating Officer Mitch Ryder who has offered me support, listened to my goals, helped me to widen my career ambitions and ultimately provided me with the opportunity to act in his role, which previously would not have been something that I could have seen myself achieving. The support and opportunity I have been offered has been a big part of my journey at PCYC and I think it is important to recognise this, because achieving equality is something we all play a part in and we should recognise those who actively demonstrate what they believe in 

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

Although the commercial side of our organisation is where my skills are most suited, our vision of building safer, healthier communities through youth development is something that is close to my heart. Each year I have the opportunity to speak with some of the young people we support to share their stories with our supporters. When I hear them describe PCYC as their “safe place” and see first-hand the impact the work of our Queensland Police Service officers, youth teams and Indigenous Programs staff has in empowering young people, I feel incredibly proud to be part of an organisation that works towards this.  

Who are some of your biggest female inspirations & why? 

Kate Aide OBE is probably my biggest female inspiration and one of the main reasons I studied communications at university. For about 30 years from the late eighties, Kate was a war correspondent, at a time when I don’t believe there were any other women doing this. As a teenager, I remember thinking how exciting her life must be and she was probably the first person who made me notice that women could make strong, exciting career choices.  

The quality of Kate’s journalism has seen her awarded a BAFTA and, now in her seventies, she still works passionately to encourage others to uphold quality in journalism which is something I believe is increasingly important. Kate continues to be an inspiration to me, not just because of her fearlessness and quality of work, but also because of her enduring energy and passion for the field that she works in, both of which I hope to take with me throughout my career. 

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

Whilst we at PCYC Queensland work in an organisation where women are well represented in leadership positions, women are not so well represented across the world. 

The 2022 World Bank report “Women Business and the Law” found only 12 countries in the world give women equal legal rights to men (Australia, although closer than many, isn’t one of them)* https://wbl.worldbank.org/en/wbl-data 

We can’t underestimate how far we have come since Emily Wilding Davidson threw herself under a horse to protest for women’s right to vote, but the struggle for equality is still very real. So the opportunity to highlight our achievements as women, and also put some honesty around some of the challenges faced in achieving equality is important no matter where we are. 

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

 “Keep those lines of communication open” 

It was advice given to me at my wedding but its advice I believe can be applied in many contexts, in particular, the way we communicate as women. I was reminded of this recently when I saw a recent clip that really resonated with me. We need to stop apologising and instead communicate our ideas openly and with conviction. 

What is one of your main goals for this year? 

I hope to achieve and encourage and support the women of my team and the other women in my life to: 

Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not see you because they have not seen it before “- Kamala Harris