Women In Leadership

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives held a Women In Leadership webinar in March 2022 for women, those who identify as women, and male allies in our member ambulance services (ie. all UK NHS ambulance services). 

Our focus was on women leaders and aspiring women leaders within the NHS ambulance service. During the webinar, attendees were also able to attend one of eight breakout discussions shown in the agenda. Some breakout discussions were for women / those who identify as women only, some were for men only, and some were for everyone.

For those who were unable to attend or would simply like a recap, a recording of the main sessions is available below.

Feedback: what our attendees said:

Great session and great speakers – so much empathy and understanding across the sector; the openness and honesty has been refreshing…

We need to keep this momentum up and not let other pressures get in the way of pushing the Women In Leadership agenda…

There is still much work to do, but we have so many inspirational women working for us and with us…

I’m passionate to move on to improve the service… but I’d like more inspiration on becoming a leader rather than already being a leader…

One of the things we need to embrace is how to ensure males come on the journey too – this isn’t about them and us, or one gender over another, but allowing everyone to be themselves…

Great event… we need to take more practical steps as organisations both nationally and regionally, and link our existing networks together…

Could we have a national ambulance mentoring programme… ?

Excellent forum – very motivating and inspiring…

Getting involved:Most ambulance services now have women’s / gender networks established.  If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact the lead / chair at your trust – the contact details are here.

For further information contact Anna Parry, AACE Deputy Managing Director.


Women in Leadership:   1-4pm, Monday 7 March
Anna Parry, Deputy Managing Director, AACE
Sam Allen, Chair, Health and Care Women Leaders Network
Overcoming Challenges:

Sam Allen in conversation with…

Tracy Nicholls, Chief Executive, College of Paramedics

Tracy Myhill, previous Chief Executive, Welsh Integrated Health Board and Welsh Ambulance Service

Breakout Rooms:

1. ‘Imposter syndrome’: Tracy Nicholls

  • Women often report feeling like an imposter in their leadership roles – why is this?
    How can this be overcome?
    (women / those who identify as women)

2. Male allyship: Alistair Gunn, YAS and Will Hancock, SCAS

  • How can men support their female colleagues in achieving equality at work and eradicating sexism? How can this be done meaningfully and proactively?

3. Sexual safety: Karen O’Brien, NEAS

  • To progress, women need to feel safe at work – do you feel safe at work?
    What more can be done to make sure that we, as women, do feel safe?
    (women / those who identify as women)

4. Lift as you climb: Sarah Rushbrooke, NEAS

  • How can women support each other in their leadership journeys? Do role-modelling and mentoring make a difference – and if so, what are the crucial elements of each?
    (women / those who identify as women)

5. Being an upstander / active bystander: Asmina Islam Chowdhury, SECAMB

  • How do we effectively stand up to sexism at work? What steps do we need to take individually and collectively if we are to eradicate it?

6. Women’s health: Dawn Adams, YAS

  • How does women’s health impact upon women leaders and aspiring leaders?
    What obstacles can pregnancy, motherhood, the menopause present to women and how can they be navigated / overcome?
    (women / those who identify as women)

7. Working flexibly: Karen Ramnauth, SECAMB and Becky Godfrey, WMAS

  • What impact would more flexible working have on women’s potential to progress?
    How can this be effectively managed in the ambulance service environment?

8. How we improve: Maxine Power, NWAS

  • What needs to happen for us to eradicate sexism within the ambulance service?
    How do we achieve equality for all regardless of sex?
Panel discussion:

Chaired by Lena Samuels, Chair, South Central Ambulance Service


Agatha Nortley-Meshe: Assistant Medical Director, London Ambulance Service

Helen Ray: Chief Executive, North East Ambulance Service

Nicola Scrivings: Chair, East of England Ambulance Service

Jessica Cunningham: Executive Director of Operations, South Western Ambulance Service

Next steps:

Anna Parry, AACE

Closing remarks:

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service


NHS Digital Workforce Statistics:
Equality and diversity in NHS Trusts and CCGs September 2021.xlsx