Queensland Voices Shay Chalmers Women in STEM Champion

Queensland Voices: Shay Chalmers, Women in STEM Champion

Shay Chalmers is an experienced engineering management professional. Her global career has spanned a wide range of manufacturing environments from steel to medical devices. She has worked her entire career in heavily male dominated fields and made it her mission to empower women in STEM fields. Ensuring diversity was at the forefront of her hiring decisions, she challenged her male counterparts to do the same.

Shay left the corporate world and started her own engineering consulting company, as an innovator in the medical technology space, commercialising novel medical products.

Shay provides dedicated coaching services to women in technical and entrepreneurial roles, and has a passion for helping women achieve successful highly paid careers in technology. She sits on six Boards and Committees across Private, Not-For-Profit and Government sectors. Through these roles Shay is able to promote empowering Women in STEM at the highest level.

She also speaks to girls and women about STEM careers, and takes groups of school girls on tours through manufacturing facilities. Shay believes girls can’t be what they can’t see, and wants to show them that anything is possible.


I launched my career in the USA in a consolidated steel mill. Rising quickly to leadership, I was managing 150 male staff at age 25. Living in small-town America, women were not welcome in the workplace. Team members challenged my leadership. I was successful in leading this team through the global financial crisis to be one of the last mills still in operating in the region. When I left the mill, some of my biggest critics apologised for their behaviour.


Queensland is leading the way in the diversity and inclusion space. The Government is leading by example with their strong female leadership in both our Premier, Deputy Premier and a plethora of female Ministers. I am proud member of the Manufacturing Ministerial Committee, which by design has an impressive 50% female representation.


All women are given the opportunity to thrive in the career that they choose and paid fairly for the work they perform. We live in an equitable society that is merit based, and the success of women is not stifled by unconscious bias or a world designed by males.

That we have equal numbers of female entrepreneurs and technological innovators, and being born a female doesn’t mean you are born disadvantaged. That women are paid equally and retire with equal amounts of superannuation.


Don’t limit your horizons by the limitations placed on you by others. I was discouraged from studying engineering as a woman. I was successful in gaining a place in the Mechanical Engineering program at QUT, and gave birth and breastfed two children during my university tenure.

Normalising these activities is crucial in driving positive change and empowering women. I graduated with my peers as one of very few women in my graduating class of mechanical engineers. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.


Queensland is built by amazing Queenslanders. Every day women in Queensland are taking action to make Queensland safer for women, to help women’s health and wellbeing, to build women’s economic security and to increase women’s participation in the workforce and female leadership. Femeconomy is showcasing 20 women from across Queensland that are delivering the Queensland Government’s Women’s Strategy. 

Queensland Voices


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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.