New manager takes the helm at Seafarers
AS THE new manager of the Gladstone Mission to Seafarers Jessica Mulhall knows that nearly all the people she will work with and meet each day are men.
Fortunately this isn't Jessica's first tilt in a role in a traditionally male enviromnent.
"I came to Gladstone five years ago as a trainer and safety officer in the marine industry where I was the only woman and it gave me valuable experience and insights," she says.
But she admits that she's had some good people helping her deal with challenges involved with working with and around men each day.
I've got some great mentors who are always happy to encourage or advise me within and without the Mission
One of them is Reverend Russell Cunningham the Mission's minister who says that Jessica's appointment is a rarity in the service.
"All the larger missions like this one are run by men and Jess is the only female manager in the country.
"We're really looking forward to her perspective on how we can better run our organisation," he said.
Jessica believes that her new role offers plenty of opportunities to make a difference, particularly for the volunteers who turn up every day of the year.
"I'm really keen to help the team helping the sailors and I'd like to attract new volunteers to the Mission," she said.
But it's the 20,000 mostly male seafarers stepping ashore in Gladstone each year who will also benefit.
"People think the sailors earn big money, but they'd be shocked to learn how little they earn and the terrible conditions some of them are forced to work under," she said.
Plus she is looking at other options to better utilise the Mission building.
"This place is an untapped resource, a really amazing facility," she said.
When asked about the challenges she faces being a woman in her new role Jessica said it didn't really matter.
"I think you need a collective process and it's about being the right person for the job, regardless of sex, race or religion," she said.