Senior Sergeant Janelle Andrews: Find Your Possible

Hannah Jones is passionate about seeing women empowered through leadership with YWA Queensland.

YWCA Queensland is launching a unique opportunity to supercharge personal and professional development as a vibrant community organisation focussed on supporting and empowering Queensland women and girls through life-changing community services. Senior Sergeant of the Queensland Police, Janelle Andrews talks about leadership, how to overcome personal obstacles and being voted in as Director for the YWCA Queensland.

Why and when did you get involved with YWCA Queensland?
In 2013, I was named in the YWCA Qld’s 125 Leading Women in Queensland. I was inspired by other female leaders’ sharing their stories at the celebratory awards luncheon and was humbled to be included in that group. My first exposure to YWCA Qld was empowering, and inspired me to follow other women leaders, to learn about strategies they employed to overcome leadership challenges. I yearned to know more about the vision and charter of YWCA Qld and how I could become more involved. The YWCA Qld provides life-changing community services and offers support to young women striving to become the leaders of tomorrow. I applied to join the YWCA Qld Board as a Director to become more involved in helping other women. Being voted in as a Director of YWCA Qld in December 2014 was a great honour and has proven a great learning opportunity by exposing me to broader community issues and corporate board matters that I may otherwise not have experienced in my workplace. Being involved provides me with a high level of dynamic interactions across a range of networks. I value my involvement in helping to shape the organisation to meet its basis in creating opportunities for the growth and empowerment of women and girls and to recognise that all people are equally valued without distinction based on diversity, including race, colour, sex or creed. 

YWA Queensland aims to empower and support Queensland women as a champion of women’s rights through their Leadership programme. What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is based on my ability to remain authentic and true to my values despite any environment in which I am required to work. Leadership must be purposeful, courageous and reflective in order to be meaningful. By taking opportunities to learn from my own mistakes, I am better equipped to mentor others and to grow both personally and professionally. My own leadership has been a continuous pathway since leaving school and is not based on rank or experience but rather learning to grasp each opportunity and make it the best it can be. I aspire to influence others through sharing my vision so they want to be part of it. I aim to be my best and to bring out the best in others, to help them strive to “find your possible” – to quote a YWCA phrase.

You have had a very interesting journey and faced many obstacles in your career. How have they shaped you?
In all facets of life, I see obstacles to be only as problematic as how I view them.  The right attitude and a certain amount of resilience and humility are vital in influencing one’s own outcomes and is reflected in how I respond to certain situations. As a female leader in policing and on reflection, my decision to work in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry of policing was a great one without regrets.  Through consistency, good support networks, and by being persistent and reliable anything is possible. Throughout my 24-years in the Queensland Police Service I have been afforded brilliant opportunities and am fortunate to work with and for some incredibly inspirational leaders. 

Why do you think the Leadership Internship is a good opportunity?
The Leadership Internship offered by YWCA Qld is a fabulous opportunity for an aspiring woman to share in some amazing YWCA Qld experiences and for that woman to develop her own leadership pathway.  It is an opportunity that I wish had been available when I was younger.  My advice to young women is to believe in themselves, to stop listening to their inner critic and when in doubt about whether or not to apply for the YWCA Qld Internship reflect on the words of Emma Watson who says, “If not me, then who. If not now, when?”   

What are your hopes and plans for the future? 
Belonging to the YWCA Qld means being part of a global women’s organisation that impacts more than 25 million women and girls all over the world through work in 22,000 communities. Surely all aspiring leaders wish to be a part of that. My vision for the future is to see ongoing positive changes in organisations where workplaces are receptive to women, providing them equal opportunities to ‘find their possible’.

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