It’s important to be you: How Wendy was freed to lead

This week as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to acknowledge the achievements of women around our community. We chatted to recent Eva Burrows College graduate and Salvation Army Officer of over 28 years, Major Wendy Hateley, about her experience as a leader and her advice for women today.

Wendy Hateley is an extreme extrovert.

“I once heard an analogy between friendship and Lego blocks. Most people have about 8 close friends – one for each bump on a piece of Lego.”

In contrast, Wendy’s friends would fit on a big green base Lego sheet!

“I’m loud and I love people,” she says.

The best piece of advice Wendy ever received was to remember that God called her to be her. “He wasn’t asking me to change into someone else, just to develop and grow myself.”

In training college when Wendy and her husband did personality profile tests, the leaders told Wendy that the results showed she was using all her energy trying to have the same personality traits and strengths as Paul – and it was draining her.

“They said we’d make a stronger team if I would just be myself,” Wendy said. “It was one of the most freeing things I ever experienced.”

Wendy is fortunate to have two wonderful women mentors in her life. One doesn’t shy away from anything or hide in anyone’s shadow and the other has a similar personality to Wendy.

“It’s wonderful to see her being herself in a position of leadership.”

Wendy’s journey with the Salvos began at age four, when her stepsister’s dad, “a man of great grace” took all the kids in the house who were old enough to the Salvos Sunday School every week.”

When she was 17, at a youth event she went forward when they asked if anyone felt called by God to be an officer. Not long after that, she met a young man who was also called to be a Salvation Army officer. They’ve been married for 33 years!

The Army assigns officers to different jobs in different places. For Wendy the hardest of their many moves was in 2015 when they headed to Melbourne leaving all their adult children and their grandchild in Adelaide.

In her current position as the Public Relations Secretary for ACT, Wendy resources the local churches with their fundraising, as well as connecting with donors and media among other things.

“Leading up to Christmas I organised Canberra breakfast radio hosts to get together for a gift-wrapping competition,” Wendy said, adding that she gave them oddly-shaped presents to wrap because square boxes were too easy. From that event she was able to pick up 12 media grabs where she could talk about donating to The Salvation Army.

In 2020-21 Wendy did a Diploma in Leadership and Management through Eva Burrows College, which gave her new knowledge and skills. Doing an online course, Wendy found it helpful to connect with a study buddy. They encouraged each other to stay motivated, positive, and accountable.

When Wendy mentors younger women, she encourages them to be the best versions of themselves.

“Sometimes we are afraid of our light,” she explained. “But if a woman feels that she’s meant to be doing something, she shouldn’t let anything stand in her way.”

Wendy believes that people need to be appreciated and chosen for roles based on what they can bring to a role and how well they can do the job, not on their gender, age, or anything else.

“If there is something you aspire to, then do whatever you need to do to develop yourself to be able to achieve it!”

Eva Burrows College is the National Learning and Training Centre of The Salvation Army. Whether your passion is to lead a team, serve the community you live in, or share the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can provide a comprehensive learning pathway that integrates practical experience with formal qualifications. Most of our higher education and vocational courses are delivered online to suit your learning needs.

Let our experts with real-world experience in the field, help turn your passion into your purpose and profession.

Find out more about courses available at Eva Burrows College

Eva Burrows College delivers higher education awards as a College of the University of Divinity (CRICOS Provider 01037A) and delivers vocational courses as Eva Burrows College Vocational Training (RTO 0328)