Professor Deborah McNamara, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon, Beaumont Hospital and Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
Please tell us a little about yourself and your experience as a female leader in healthcare?
I’ve been a Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon for the last 20 years and was the first woman to be appointed a consultant in this specialty in Ireland. Since then, in addition to a busy clinical practice, I’ve been fortunate enough to hold a range of leadership roles nationally and internationally.
At the moment, I’m a National Clinical Lead for Surgery with the HSE and Vice President of RCSI.
What does diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you and why is it so important?
I’m convinced that we can’t properly meet the needs of patients unless our workforce is diverse.
Having voices around the table that represent everyone in society when decisions on healthcare policy and practice are made is critical.
How can we calculate the positive impacts of having more women leaders in an organisation?
This is critical. Demonstrating the added value- in economic terms- provided by diversity in leadership will answer many of the questions about the importance of investing in EDI.
What can organisations do to further promote inclusion in the workplace?
Our experience at RCSI is that inclusion needs to be lead and prioritised from the very top of organisations.
Diversity, equity and inclusion need to be sewn into the organisation’s strategy and culture. It requires long-term commitment and a willingness to measure and track organisational performance.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Reach out to those who have gone before who have always been willing to provide guidance in my experience- and try not to burn bridges in your impatience for change.
Any final thoughts?
Changing organisations requires input from everyone – not just women.