Executive General Manager of Growing Potential gains prestigious UN Scholarship
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > Executive General Manager of Growing Potential gains prestigious UN Scholarship

Executive General Manager of Growing Potential gains prestigious UN Scholarship

by Freya Lucas

December 08, 2022

Martha Vasquez, the Executive General Manager of Growing Potential, has been awarded the University of Sydney Business School UN Women Australia MBA scholarship, which funds the study of the University of Sydney Business School’s part-time MBA. 


The scholarship aims to promote gender equality at the most senior levels of the nation’s public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors, and is worth over $60,000.


As part of her role Ms Vasquez has responsibility for six early childhood services and an early intervention and disability support service for children from birth to 14 years of age across Western Sydney. 


She also volunteers on the Board at Leichardt Women’s Community Health Centre, which provides a unique model of community-based healthcare to women and children across the inner west and southwest suburbs of Sydney.


Her leadership focus is informed by her own  experiences of both discrimination and depression. Right after high school, she entered the nursing profession, specialising in midwifery and then child and family health as she gradually worked her way up from enrolled nurse to chief executive officer.


A constant in her shifting roles is a passion for helping the most vulnerable and at-risk in the community, inspired by her childhood and later experiences.


“As the daughter of ‘new Australians’, I was always ‘othered’. My food was weird, we didn’t have a fancy house and I didn’t eat vegemite sandwiches at lunch. I felt this throughout my early life and it meant I was always desperate to fit in. This pain turned into the passion of hard work which then gave me my purpose – my purpose was high achievement,” she explained.


“When I had my first daughter at 27, I was diagnosed with anxiety and postnatal depression. Even though I was already a midwife as well as a child and family health nurse, I had set the bar so high for myself that it was impossible to meet my own standards. I had tremendous guilt and shame around the depression because of my role and so I didn’t seek help for a long time.”


She eventually did seek help, and found comfort in the words of late US civil rights leader and congressman Elijah Cummings: that our pain becomes our passion, and our passion becomes our purpose.


“This was a dark time for me, but this pain turned into a passion to continue working with vulnerable women and families, and the purpose to make the lives of women and families better, even if it is in my small corner of the earth,” she explained. 


“I feel this purpose strongly and always aim to live it in my personal and professional life.”


The Sector extends its congratulations to Ms Vasquez. For more information about the scholarship, please see here

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