You might recognise Shay Chalmers face as a regular guest on ABC’s nightly television current affairs and news program, The Drum. And you may also recognise her as one of the friendly faces at North Kirra Surf Life Saving Club, where she dedicates her spare time.
Shay is an advocate for women in lifesaving and women in industry and in 2020 is a mentor for Surf Life Saving Australia’s Women’s Mentoring Program.
She owns and directs Strategic Engineering Australia, a consulting firm that specialises in manufacturing applications. Prior to starting her own business, Shay oversaw maintenance and engineering departments in a steel mill in the USA and spent six years working with Cook Medical in production, process engineering and project management.
Shay entered into the surf lifesaving world relatively late in life, when she was in her early 30s. With two little kids, Shay and her husband were keen to get them involved in an outdoor activity.
After signing their kids up to Nippers at North Kirra they fell in love with the lifesaving culture and soon found themselves asking, “well if the kids can do it, why can’t we?”
In 2017 at the age of 33, Shay received her Bronze Medallion and could become a patrolling member of North Kirra. She now has more than 10 awards and has completed more than 130 patrol hours.
She would encourage anyone over the age of 30 to just “give it a go, you can become a lifesaver at any age.”
“We live and breathe North Kirra and commute 90 minutes every weekend to be there to support the club,” she said.
If you’re interested in joining Shay at North Kirra Surf Life Saving Club, club sign-on is Saturday 22 August between noon-2pm at Palm Beach Aquatic Centre and noon-2pm Sunday 23 August at the Clem Jones Centre.