Today is International Women’s Day. We’re celebrating the contribution of women both within GAMA and beyond. This year’s theme is #PressforProgress. In that spirit, we sat down with Administrative Director, Suzie Hammouche, to talk about her journey within GAMA and women in leadership and with International Sales Director, Joanne Hardwick, to talk about attitudes to gender in sales.
Suzie is currently GAMA’s Administrative Director but is soon moving to take the role of CEO in the Australian entity.
How did you start out in GAMA?
I moved to the UK from New Zealand in 2010 and found an advert on Gumtree for Office Manager and PA. I sent the application directly to “Guy Braverman, MD,” and, of the 600-odd applications they had, I was lucky enough to be called in for an interview.
How did you progress to where you are now?
I have been given so many incredible opportunities at GAMA but I have always believed that I am responsible for my own development. I look at the role or position I want and assess the capabilities needed, what my current skill set is and then work on filling the gap between my current abilities and the role I want.
My most recent opportunity in Australia was after GAMA acquired their distributor. I spent a Sunday preparing an “Operational Audit” proposal detailing how we needed to review the new acquisition’s current business processes and see how we could align them to our own. I sent it to the owners of the business and said that I thought I was the best person to conduct it. Luckily they agreed with me, and that set in motion my relocation to Australia.
Why did you feel confident enough to do that?
I’m one of three girls, and was raised by parents that never made me believe I couldn’t achieve what I wanted – as long as I worked for it. We have that same environment at GAMA. We have 54% women in GAMA and it just never occurred to me that the owners wouldn’t accept my proposal because of my gender.
Do you have any advice for women looking to get into leadership roles?
Everyone should utilise every resource that they have and not be afraid to ask for help. Even now, I have so many different people in the company supporting me to develop further. Try to identify people within your organisation who have capabilities you’d like to have, or who you admire. Ask them for advice, support or even mentoring.
I heard a piece of advice recently, where someone said if you don’t feel valued, then take your labour elsewhere. In GAMA, I’ve never been made to feel I couldn’t achieve anything because of my gender. I’ve been lucky enough to find something I love, and then call it my job.
Joanne Hardwick is GAMA’s International Sales Director. She has been working in healthcare sales for over 20 years. She balances a family with a global sales portfolio.
Sales has traditionally been perceived as a male-dominated industry. Why do you think that is?
There was a perception that women weren’t strong enough for the role, they weren’t effective at hard selling and closing a deal. Sales typically involves a lot of time away from home and it was thought women wouldn’t be willing to make that sacrifice, or that they’d be vulnerable travelling on their own.
How did you overcome this perception?
The truth is, I had to work harder. Women had to work harder and do more to get the same recognition as a man.
Do you think things are changing?
Yes, definitely. Changes to legal frameworks, like shared paternity leave, are helping. There’s wider recognition that women have different, but equal skills. Selling is increasingly about relationships and engaging stakeholders and women are often good at this because they typically think in a more complex and emotional way.
You have an international role, do you think you are treated differently to men?
If you build a position of internal respect, it shows itself externally. In global markets, our customers see the respect and authority that GAMA has given me and they reflect this.
What advice do you have for women wanting it all?
You have to realise you can’t do everything, but you can balance family and work. From a personal perspective it becomes more about quality of time, rather than volume. From a professional perspective it helps to have clear goals and try to focus on the big things. Lastly, don’t feel guilty for not being at every family event or taking advantage of the flexibility that GAMA or your company offer to balance work/home life.
With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. GAMA is committing to the #PressForProgress campaign and:
- Maintaining a gender parity mindset, having recently implemented a new reward structure to ensure gender bias does not exist
- Challenging stereotypes and bias
- Forging positive visibility of women
- Influencing others’ beliefs and actions through equal treatment of staff and customers
- Celebrating women’s achievements
Happy International Women’s Day!
Clinell Training Package: Best Educational App!
In August 2017, the Clinell Training Package won ‘Best Educational App’ in the Best Mobile App Awards. Since then we have been put under the spotlight in an interview with the Best Mobile App Awards to tell them a little more about how the training package came about, what makes it unique and our vision for the future.
Developed in conjunction with some of the leading infection prevention and control (IPC) specialists in the UK, the Clinell Training Package is a tablet-based software package designed to arm infection prevention professionals with the very best tools in their fight against healthcare associated infections.
Take a look at the interview here.
Nicola and Sarah are two exceptional nurses who are receiving our GAMA Infection Prevention Scholarship. We’re providing a full scholarship, covering all tuition fees, for them to each study a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Practice with focus on Infection Prevention.
We caught up with both of them shortly after they’d received the good news.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
Tell me about yourself?
I went to school and studied nursing and then spent 6 and half years in intensive care, getting myself a sister’s post there. But I’d always had an interest in infection control, so, when a post came up, in my same hospital, I jumped at it. With intensive care you have a lot of very sick patients, and a lot of them don’t do so well and it’s hard. But, with infection control, you can make a big difference to a huge number of people.
How long was it since you moved into infection prevention?
18 months but, in intensive care, a lot of the patients that come in have infections and sepsis so you get quite involved with it anyway. More than the general wards, it gets really embedded into your practice because it’s life or death for those patients.
Do you have any advice for any nurses looking to move into infection prevention?
In our hospital, we don’t have link nurses – but I do think that’s a really important role. I think that if they can increase their own knowledge, and become specialists within their own team, then they can have quite a big impact on their area. That can be the kind of thing that really helps them get into the post.
Why did you apply for the PG(Dip)?
I’ve been in the role for 18 months, and I’ve learnt a lot on the job, but I just felt like I could do with some formal education. Just to underpin that and deal with the finer understanding of how infections are spread, how the process works. Hopefully by understanding that, it’ll give us a better idea of what we can do to actually prevent them.
What appealed about the course at the University of West London?
The lecturers are a massive thing because they’re so renowned in the field – I mean, you’ve got 3 authors of the Epic 3 guidelines in there. These are teaching specialists with such a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Who better to teach than the best?
What does the course mean to you?
Oh gosh. Well it’s good for my own personal development, and hopefully it’ll be a huge stepping stone in that respect, but – hopefully – it’ll have a positive effect on the patients that we look after in our health boards. Anything I learn and any research that I do can hopefully be applied back to them.
Any final thoughts?
Just thank you very much for the opportunity. I’m not sure it would be happening if it wasn’t for the scholarship so thank very much to GAMA.
Thanks Nicola, it was great chatting with you. Hope all goes well with the course and it gives you a stepping stone as you start the next stage in your career.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Tell me about yourself?
I qualified in 2011, working various jobs between orthopaedics and plastics – so I’m surgical nurse trained – and that was at Guy’s & St. Thomas’ in London. Then, this year, I moved over to Oxford John Radcliffe in an infection prevention and control nurse role. I was previously an IPC link nurse at my old trust for a year and a half, which is where a lot of my interest has come from. I’ve done various in-house courses as I’ve gone along. I’m very keen to get a master’s because I was unable to attend my graduation ceremony or get a graduation picture for my undergraduate degree – for various reasons – but, because I hadn’t done that, I’m very motivated to get myself a photo with the hat and gown. As well, because I’m so interested in evidence-based practice, I’m very keen on education to underpin that.
I’ve done one level 7 course at my previous job in plastics, a breast care course, which I did very well in and got a distinction. That spurred me on to say “actually I can do this” so, when my colleague emailed me about the scholarship, I thought there’s nothing to lose in trying to apply – funding for education can be hard to come by.
How did you first get interested in infection prevention?
I think it probably stemmed from working in orthopaedics. You can end up with nasty infections like osteomyelitis and things related to that. Going into plastics and being surgically trained meant I was trained on things like wound infections. I think I’m a bit of a perfectionist as well when it comes to things like ANTT, cannulation, wound care and completing tasks to a high standard – I think it’s built into my personality.
Are you planning on doing the full MSc?
That would be the aim. Obviously, we’ll see how I go and see where we are with circumstances in 2 years’ time but that’s the plan so that I can graduate. I think I’ll work harder at my master’s: I think you look at it differently than when you do your first degree. It’s a lot harder and requires a lot more of you – there’s no just “getting through it”.
Thanks Sarah, good luck with the course! Hope you get a really nice photo with your cap and gown!
The Clinell Training Package has taken ‘Best educational app’ in the Best Mobile App awards. Developed in conjunction with some of the leading infection prevention and control (IPC) specialists in the UK, the Clinell Training Package is a tablet-based software package designed to arm infection prevention professionals with the very best tools in their fight against healthcare associated infections.
From advanced audit tools to simple games, the Clinell Training Package offers the most comprehensive IPC educational software suite available. Every training package a UV marker for effective auditing of cleanliness; the use of fluorescent marker mimics the microbiological data more accurately than other systems (such as ATP bioluminescence)1 and use of a UV marker system in an ICU resulted in 40% more surfaces being cleaned2. It also comes with a 50-page ‘Protecting the Patient’ supporting document that provides a thorough review of the latest clinical and scientific evidence.
The Clinell Training Package allows infection prevention specialists to make better, more informed decisions. It frees them up to spend more time engaging with staff and advocating evidence-based policy. Most importantly, the Clinell Training Package helps ensure every patient gets safe, effective healthcare.
The Clinell Training Package is available free* to acute healthcare customers, speak to your area manager to make sure you get access to your award-winning Training Package.
1 Rutala WA, Gergen MF, Sickbert-Bennett E, Huslage K, Weber DJ. Comparison of four methods to assess cleanliness. APIC; Fort Lauderdale 2013.
2 Carling PC, Parry MF, Bruno-Murtha LA, Dick B. Improving environmental hygiene in 27 intensive care units to decrease multidrug-resistant bacterial transmission. Critical care medicine. 2010;38(4):1054-9.
* Subject to minimum spend.
Building on the research collaboration with the College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare at the University of West London, GAMA Healthcare is providing scholarship opportunities to candidates studying a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Practice (Infection Prevention & Control).
The course is open to those currently working in the field and is an excellent stepping stone for IPC professionals looking to further their career. Commencing October 2017, for two applicants per year, GAMA will fully finance the tuition fees for the 2-year Postgraduate Diploma. At the end, students will either receive the standalone PG-Dip, or, complete a 3rd year at their own expense to convert to a full MSc. Further details about the course can be found by following this link.
Applicants must complete their first stage application with UWL (details of how to do so can be found on the UWL website) and then complete a GAMA IP Scholarship Award application form from either Dr Jennie Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by downloading from the button below before the 31st of August deadline. Successful applicants will be notified by the 21st of September.
Collaboration between UWL and GAMA Healthcare will help develop the careers of the next leading lights of the infection prevention & control community. The skills and experiences they develop here will shape infection prevention policies of the future and help win the fight against healthcare associated infections.
Any questions regarding the application process should be directed towards Dr Jennie Wilson (email@example.com)
Apply and fill out our application form below before the
31st of August
GAMA IP Scholarship Award Form