07 March 2022
Wendy is the Chef at Estia Health Victoria Heights and has been working at the home for the past 28 years, with a real passion for creating beautiful and nutritious meals for our residents. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked Wendy to share her story, including how she’s overcome bias facing women in her career.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to work in aged care?
I’ve worked at Estia Health Victoria Heights for 28 years and before that, I volunteered doing craft work with people living with visual impairments. I’ve always had a passion for working with the elderly to make their quality of life the very best they deserve. Four years ago, l taught myself cake decorating making cakes for birthdays and special events and was asked to contribute to two cake decorating magazines. l did this for twelve months providing step-by-step instructions on how to make cakes and cupcakes and it was a wonderfully creative experience.
In line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme Break the bias, can you tell us about a time in your career where you’ve faced bias and stereotypes?
When l first worked in aged care 28 years ago, my role was cleaning and cooking. I remember at the time, many people said I wouldn’t be able to use the floor cleaning machines as they were too heavy for me to use and only men could use them. I was also told only a man could lift the large heavy pots to and from the stove. No way was l going to take that! I’ve always been of the belief women can do anything men can – something as simple as cooking in two or three pots instead of one big pot was the only solution I needed.
What do you enjoy about your job?
There are so many things that l enjoy about my job. It’s an absolute pleasure having the opportunity to cook for our residents. They deserve the very best and my team and I strive every day to ensure we deliver the best. I would never have believed when l first started cooking in aged care that years later l would be cooking graded steak, prawn dishes, beautiful lamb and so much more.
What advice would you give to others facing challenges?
Believe in yourself. Not every day is going to be a good day. Learn from a bad day, put it where it belongs and get up the next day with a smile and do the best you can. We never stop learning and teaching others to develop their knowledge and skills.
Can you tell us something about yourself that people would probably be surprised to hear?
I LOVE opera music!
Why do you think it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate International Women’s Day?
Being a woman is a 24-hour job. We need to be wives, mothers, teachers, care givers, maintenance workers around the home, cleaners, cooks, artist and more! Women from all around the world do so much to help make this planet a great place, with different customs and nationalities. I believe it’s so important to appreciate women for everything they do for everyone and say a simple THANK YOU.