Amongst many other guises, Pam is a trustee at Community Action Bradford & District and kindly agreed to be interviewed to recognise International Women's Day.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role?
I am really fortunate to be in a position to have a 'portfolio' role. I have a number of lay roles in the NHS at a local, regional and national level where I am able to use the public view to influence things. I am also trustee of three other charities in addition to Community Action Bradford & District, all of which focus on matters that affect people's health and wellbeing.
As an ex-teacher I couldn't leave education behind so I am a Governor at two very different schools. I'm very fortunate to be intrinsically linked to so many great organisations and people - it's fair to say that I'm kept quite busy but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Can you share an example of when you chose to challenge?
Most of my roles involve challenge but I try to do it in a constructive way. My first experience of a major challenge (which started a long association with the NHS) was to get the parental/carer access policy at Bradford Royal Infirmary changed. Although most children were only on the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) ward for 2-3 days, their parents were not allowed to visit them at all during that period. Being a child in hospital can be a frightening and desperately daunting experience. Removing the very support they needed at this vulnerable time, their parents or carers, was wholly unacceptable. The policy was driven by the senior consultant and it required everything from parental petitions to research papers and reviews to get this policy changed.
Which women have inspired you and why?
The strong women of the Second World War who experienced years of fear and deprivation and yet picked themselves up and moved on. They focused on their children and fought for a better start in life for them. I benefitted from this by being the first person in the family to have a university education and it changed my life.
What are you most proud of?
My family! I'm very proud of the fact that I've been able to support them by becoming an ace juggler - daughter, wife, mother and now granny. At the same time and in some small way, using my skills and experience to influence those in power to make things better for people.
Why is it important for you and your organisation to recognise International Women's Day?
When she was younger, my daughter said that when she was grown up she would "go to meetings on her motorbike with her baby on her back". That shows me the extra dimension that women bring - the care in addition to the power! We should never lose sight of the fact that many women bring an extra dimension to a debate - emotional intelligence as it is now called. Women's Day is a chance to promote and celebrate this.
For International Women's Day, what is the most important message you want to give to women thinking about a career in the voluntary sector?
Working in the voluntary sector means that you are really close to people's lives which is a privilege and gives you insight into what is really needed. This knowledge can be used to influence others to build on the flexibility that exists in the VCS to develop and test out new things. On top of that, the people are great and their passion for what they do is inspiring!