Impressive woman from the past inspires serving senior sailor

This article has photo gallery Published on Royal Australian Navy (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer)

Topic(s): International Women's Day

Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Amy Vickers, centre, in her role as the Divisional Chief Petty Officer of McClemans Division at the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell. (photo: CPOIS Cameron Martin)
Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Amy Vickers, centre, in her role as the Divisional Chief Petty Officer of McClemans Division at the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell.

International Women’s Day Feature

Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Amy Vickers, the Divisional Chief Petty Officer of McClemans Division at the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell.

Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics Amy Vickers, the Divisional Chief Petty Officer of McClemans Division at the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell.

Being part of the Navy was a dream job for Amy Vickers from Tasmania.

She did Cadets with TS Hobart and in Year 10 conducted work experience in the Fleet Air Arm at HMAS Albatross.

She joined the Navy shortly after her 16th birthday.

Fast track 24 years, Amy Vickers is now a Chief Petty Officer and a Divisional Chief for the New Entry Officers at the Royal Australian Naval College, for the new McClemans Division, which was established November 2019.

The division was named after First Officer WRANS (Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service Commander equivalent) Sheila McClemans, one of the influential women who played a key role in establishing work place equity in Defence.

“I was responsible for designing the Division logo which captures Sheila’s work as an advocate for workplace equality, as one of the first lawyers and her contribution as the Director of WRANS.

“It has been humbling to reflect on the contributions and journeys of the women in early service; particularly the adversity they faced in bringing about workplace acceptance, equality and diversity,” Chief Petty Officer Vickers said.

Vickers is incredibly passionate about what she does because she believes people truly matter.

“People who have chosen to serve display incredible qualities of selfless commitment to achieving our taskings.

“Our roles can and do result in mental and physical injuries and or stress above and beyond what one could expect in a regular workplace.

“I’m motivated and committed to seeing a workplace that supports those who selflessly serve others, particularly individuals and teams who suffer as a result of service experiences.

“In my daily life I demonstrate leadership and mentoring in my Divisional Chief Petty Officer role, coaching others as a coach for the Navy Leadership Coaching Program and educating our workforce on the impact of sexual misconduct as a member of the SeMPRO (Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office) Educators Network.

“I enjoy being an influencer for positive change in our culture and helping others to help themselves.

“In my 24 years of service, we have moved forward in our culture, and there’s more room for growth as our workforce builds,” Chief Petty Officer Vickers said.

She says she has had many influential mentors throughout her career and describes Lieutenant Commander Anne Mena, currently the Executive Officer of HMAS Moreton, as one of those key mentors.

“At the time Lieutenant Commander Mena came into my world, I was a young solo parent doing the best that I could whilst working in the Squadron.

“Lieutenant Commander Mena approached me with kindness and curiosity asking how I was coping.

“With no judgement towards my situation, she offered support and advice which enabled me to become more self-confident, efficient and aware of resources to make my life easier.

“Lieutenant Commander Mena’s mentoring changed my life at the time; allowing me to see ways ahead for continuing service,” Chief Petty Officer Vickers said.

Another key mentor for Amy was Anna Sutcliffe (a retired Sergeant), who modelled leadership and mentoring for mental health awareness, support for trauma impacted service personnel, the value of women in service and importance of women’s networking and development.

Chief Petty Officer Vickers says the Navy has been incredibly supportive of her personal and professional development; supporting her involvement as the Lead Facilitator and Chapter Leader for national Veteran Support and community mental wellness programs - Trojans Trek, Buddy Up Australia (Shoalhaven Chapter), Princes Trust Australia and Youth Aware of Mental Health.

“Navy has also been supportive as I upskill to assist those who have suffered as a result of their service experience - in the areas of Mental Health First Aid, Trauma recovery and management training and counsellor training,” Chief Petty Officer Vickers said.

The Royal Australian Navy will hold several events to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020 and reflect on the theme ‘Generation Equality’. ‘Generation Equality’ is a call to action to join forces across generations, to create a new vision where every girl and woman everywhere has equal opportunities to lead, to learn, to earn a decent living and to live lives free from violence and discrimination.