AVM Julie Hammer

AM CSC HonFIEAust CPEng(Ret) EngExec

Air Vice-Marshal Julie Hammer, an electronics engineer, served in the Royal Australian Air Force for 28 years in aircraft maintenance, technical intelligence, electronic warfare, and information and communications technology. She was the first woman to command an operational unit in the Air Force, the Electronic Warfare Squadron, and the first serving woman in the Australian Defence Force to achieve One Star rank in 1999 and Two Star rank in 2003.

Julie was an inaugural Board Member of the Centre for Engineering Leadership and Management (CELM), chaired that Board from November 2005 till August 2007, and led the development and introduction of EngExec. She was the first female National President of EA in 2008 and served on the national Honours and Awards Committee from 2014 to 2019, the last three years as Chair.

How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Although I have been a member of EA for much longer, I have only been actively serving as an office bearer since 2002.

Why did you become a volunteer?
I was approached to become involved in a new EA initiative, the Centre for Engineering Leadership and Management (CELM). I was in a prominent leadership role at the time, Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy, and believed that I could make a contribution to CELM.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I love working with like-minded people who also want to give of their time and talent. I also like the challenge of working within a team of peers who don’t have to do what I tell them to! My logical argument and powers of persuasion need to be convincing.

What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Working with a small team of volunteers and staff to develop the Stage 3 Competencies for Leadership, Business and Management as well as trialling and establishing the associated assessment process for the EngExec.

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
My various roles as an officer in the Air Force taught me a lot about leadership and teamwork, and I try to put those skills to good use.

How do you balance work and volunteering?
I am now retired, so the balance I am trying to achieve is between volunteering for a number of organisations, including EA, and spending time on travel, hobbies, and relaxation. I am not very good at the last of those and volunteering usually takes priority in my life!

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Volunteering opens up opportunities to develop or hone many skills, to work with inspiring engineers, to make a difference to our profession, and to have fun!

Image: courtesy of Julie Hammer