Today we speak to Education Consultant Kim Cartwright, about this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, which women inspire her, and how the Education Institute has changed over the past 150 years.
Tell us about your RCH journey – when you joined, the roles you’ve held here?
I joined the Education Institute in 1999 and during that time up until now, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in education services in a range of areas including School Function Program, Back on Track (CCC), Coordinator of the Chronic Illness Seminars, At Risk Children and Young People in CBD and Rural Victoria, and I am currently an Education Consultant at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH)/Education Institute with the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Clearly International Women’s Day fundamentally represents a joyous celebration for women worldwide, together with a strong message that is thought provoking to society. I recall celebrations where the Education Department would hold a dinner perhaps with a guest speaker. This type of celebration has gained momentum as is demonstrated by the range and depth of celebrations and acknowledgements that occur worldwide.
This year’s theme for IWD is #EachforEqual, what does that phrase mean to you?
My focus is that equality is a human right. Given this year’s theme (and beyond) challenges us all to explore how individually we will support this pledge.
Which women are you inspired by?
Michelle Obama comes to mind, and her commitment to advocate for healthy food and initiatives that addressed childhood obesity, i.e the School Lunch Program, among many other things.
My mother also comes to mind – at 92 years of age, she is optimistic and positive and loves her family deeply. Mum encouraged her four children to engage in lifelong learning as she did. At her 80th birthday speech, I recall her saying “the best is yet to come!” Not a bad parting message at her birthday celebration.
What are different ways you like to empower women in your everyday life?
I’m fortunate that I work with a dynamic and passionate group of women who also happen to have a great sense of fun. They deserve to be acknowledged for their skills and their passion, their commitment and humility. Women supporting women in the workforce is extremely important professionally to allow women to thrive and prosper. May we all feel we have a role to play.
The importance of valuing women in my work place, within my social network, together with my two sisters and daughter, allows me to acknowledge their contribution, their honesty and above all, their resilience.
What is one of your greatest achievements?
Mother to my three children, now adults, would be top of the list in terms of achievements. All three have grown to be understanding adults and have a level of empathy which enhances the quality of their life and their relationships. My work at the RCH and what I have learnt enriched my parenting as a mother.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Endeavouring to be a significant person in the life of my granddaughter.
What is your favourite RCH memory?
The move from the old to the new RCH over eight years ago now, is definitely a memory that will stay etched in my mind. Moving all patients to the new site was a time filled with excitement but also obvious challenges. In reality, it was carried out with an impressive level of precision and in a calm and supportive way for patients, families and staff. A truly memorable experience!
As you may know, this year the RCH is celebrating 150 years of care, what do you think the RCH’s future looks like?
I envisage the RCH in the future as an even more dynamic service to children and young people, by the way of developing and up-skilling community services and supports.
How has the Education Institute progressed over time, and how would you like to see it progress in the future?
The Education Institute has developed an authentic and strong presence within the RCH, working alongside all the truly talented and hardworking individuals and teams from across the hospital. Clearly our focus and continued future goal is to improve the education outcomes for all patients/students, whilst ensuring that a successful return to their education settings takes place.