Susie Walford

Susie Walford – General Manager EML Federal Self-Insurance

To celebrate International Women's Day, EML is showcasing the many inspiring women playing a pivotal role in leading the workforce. General Manager EML Federal Self-Insurance Susie Walford is one of them.

"I am responsible for claims management delivery to self-insured clients under the SRC (Comcare) Legislation. My role is to grow a team who support people injured at work and support them in an environment where they lead the industry in Personal Injury claims management."

In an industry traditionally dominated by men in managerial roles there are shining examples of women who strive and thrive. General Manager EML Federal Self-Insurance Susie Walford is one of them.

At 20, Susie Walford found herself in workers compensation claims management. Thirty years later and Susie has managed workers compensation claims in almost every state, commenced a CTP claims operation in Canberra and has overseen the largest transition of SRC Act claims from the national government regulator to EML.

“I still believe that I am a case manager,” Susie says.

“I have the opportunity to create an environment that supports the development of the best claims specialists in market. Our people come from a range of backgrounds, and understand that best outcomes come from a genuine connection and understanding of the person. It really is a gift to support somebody through a claim and return them back from injury or illness.”

Susie says she was drawn to the role at EML; building EML’s Federal self-insurance arm.

It is very rare to get the opportunity to start an operation from scratch. I have had a lot of fun building an amazing energised team and setting up the new operation in Canberra. It’s been incredible.”

That opportunity came from excelling at a competitor and a call from her old boss, EML CEO Mark Coyne.

“Mark has the ability to make work sound like fun,” Susie says. “He called me and said, ‘the Comcare scheme is changing, let’s build a claims operation together’.”

Mark is equally complimentary.

“I have known Susie for a long time. She has the ability to build a great culture, the EML culture, from the ground up. Her focus is always sustainable outcomes in a customer-centric way. There was no better person for the role.”

Susie has been driven to make it happen, last year launching the business and still always looking to improve the process. She says culture is critical to successfully implementing programs that assist customers.

“Anyone who visits our office remarks on the energy of the team”.

Susie maintains having a diverse team, a flat structure that enables opportunity, and diversity of thought are key ingredients to her and her team’s success.

There is also a very personal driver.

“My husband Darryl was a fire fighter for 35 years,” Susie said.

“I have seen the effects of responding to terrible trauma and loss as part of his job. I am very committed to finding a better way to prevent and manage PTSD for those roles who look after our most vulnerable.”

And she has these words of advice for other women.

I think I have been my own biggest challenge! I have spent way too much time doubting myself, waiting for permission or politely waiting for my turn. Go with your gut instinct, don’t second guess yourself. Surround yourself with great people who are as committed and brave as you are.”

“Be the best people manager that you can be, and your team will exceed your expectations. The great female leaders I have worked with have focussed on their people, but have maintained their sense of 'self' and have used their life experiences to enhance their leadership.”

For Susie International Women’s day is also about that sense of team and inclusion.

“To me International Women’s Day is a celebration of the men who have embraced a changing workplace, and of the amazing, determined and resilient women who have created an incredible environment for my daughter to thrive in.”