Member in Focus: Sally Woolford

Sally Woolford SA PoliceSally Woolford, Luminaries Member in Focus

After backpacking in Australia Sally Woolford, and her future husband, knew they wanted to migrate and be a part of Australian life. With a degree in psychology but not wanting to become a practising psychologist, Sally wasn’t entirely sure where to apply her skills and start her career.

Sally enjoys helping others, coaching and supporting them to develop their potential or to implement a change they never thought possible. For Sally anything that requires a change, and a really challenging change like cultural reform in the South Australia Police, sparks her excitement.

Sally was the recipient of the behind closed doors 2018 Luminaries Scholarship which provided her with a 12-month fully funded Adelaide Luminaries membership designed for women in managerial roles.

Sally’s Career Journey:

After working for the Dorset Police in the UK Sally migrated to Australia where she has worked in numerous different roles for the Minister for Road Safety Office, the Chief Executive of the Fire and Emergency Services Commission, and the Department for Child Protection.

Sally is currently a Senior Project Manager implementing the 38 recommendations from the Equal Opportunity Commission review into sex discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour in SA Police. Sally describes the role as “we are quite literally transforming SAPOL in terms of culture and practices – SAPOL is seen as a ‘boys club’ and so taking on this role has given me some excellent challenges and opportunities in the past two years”.

Simultaneously with working at SA Police, Sally also provides consulting services; something that her behind closed doors Luminaries facilitator and peers encouraged her to consider and that she is now thoroughly enjoying.

With her skill and expertise in Project Management, Sally is often asked to ‘make things work’ frequently with short deadlines and with significant change aspects. Sally thrives on the feeling of implementing something that everyone thought impossible.

Sally’s Advice for Women in Business:

As a confident person Sally is happy to challenge or call out if she sees something unfair or inappropriate. Her advice to others “is always strive to be the best person you can be, and ignore gender as much as you can. A good worker is a good worker, and your efforts will always stand you in good stead.”

Through her various different roles Sally has realised that it’s important to know yourself and then be yourself. Once you have identified what you’re passionate about, commit to this, without apology.

Sally’s Role Models:

  1. My Manager at Dorset Police – he was a very experienced business professional, extremely strategic but very empowering to up and coming managers. He taught me the value of enabling everyone to put forward ideas and discussions and then bring it together, for the team to have one, consolidated position. He taught me that you should always have a new role every 3 -5 years – often your best input and innovation is in the first 2 years, a consolidation of that for an extra year but that you must move to the next role within those 5 years or else you won’t be bringing anything new to the table.
  2. Kate Thiele – my mentor through behind closed doors. I appreciate her guidance and advice. Kate has had an extremely successful career and is inspirational. She is a fantastic person who has helped me consider a career path and instil confidence in my skills.
  3. Kate Berry- my group facilitator at behind closed doors. Kate is a kind person who only has your best interests at heart. She is a fantastic sounding board for me when I might be looking at next steps in my career; Kate provides me honest and frank advice.

Sally’s behind closed doors Experience:

When Sally joined BCD she was at a point where she needed to be challenged about her career, her desires and where to go next. For Sally, “BCD has an amazing ability to support, coach and mentor me while learning how to support others in my group and in the wider BCD network. I’ve met some amazingly fabulous people who are awe inspiring.”

Sally “thoroughly recommends BCD membership of any type – connecting and engaging while challenging each other in a safe space is worth its weight in gold. You absorb the energy and passion of those around you in the group and feel reinvigorated to achieving personal success.”

To learn more about the Behind Closed Doors membership options, view the details via this link or for any specific questions, email

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One thought on “Member in Focus: Sally Woolford

  1. Pingback: Executive Member in Focus, Elaine Ratcliffe - Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors

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