This year is a big moment in our Club’s history as we honour the 10-year milestone of welcoming women as members. To mark this special occasion, we’re connecting with our first female members to reminisce about their experiences and the profound impact of women on Tattersalls Club’s identity. Meet Susan Cantamessa, one of our Foundation Female members since June 2014.

How was it that you came to join as a foundation member and what is your original connection to the Club?

Given that the admission of women members was such an important initiative, as the partner of the Chairman at the time I felt that I should join as a measure of support. He was also keen for me to be a part of the Club and a part of the foundation members.

Can you share a memorable experience or an achievement you’ve had within the Club?

What stands out most is that while I thought the gym probably wasn’t as good as where I was going when I first joined, I ended up preferring it. It’s very different to a mainstream gym where there is little interaction with others. Here it’s almost like family – staff know you, there are lots of familiar faces and what I really like is the mix of ages. I like being here doing my thing surrounded by younger people doing things that I can’t and older people working on strength and mobility. I think that’s really nice. It’s refreshing to see such a variety of ages that you don’t see in other gyms.

In what ways have you seen the Club evolve and grow, to better accommodate and celebrate its female members?

It’s great to see an increasing number of women at the Club. I think I’ve taken it a little for granted, because it doesn’t seem like there was ever a time when women weren’t here. The Club offers more events and special interest groups now that there are women members, and different kind of groups like book club which I’m involved with. There are lots of opportunities to socialise and although I mainly use the AD I now appreciate that the Club is more than just a gym. It becomes part of the fabric of your life.

What role do you believe women play in shaping the culture and community of our Club?

Having women on the committee to represent the voice of women in the Club is important. It is also encouraging that women seem to be well represented among the young member cohort, often taking a lead role. So the opportunity is there for women to have a say in where the Club is going.

How has your network and social connections expanded through your involvement in the Club, and what impact has it had on your personal and professional life?

I retired a few years after joining. When I retired there was a gap in my life which the Club (and golf) have partly filled. I think it’s important to remain physically, socially and mentally active so the Club is important to me. As much as I still have a lot going on in my life, in time that will diminish, and these things will become even more important.

How do you see the future of the Club in terms of supporting and empowering its female members, and what contributions would you like to make towards that vision?

The ability to network with fellow members and access to stimulating and well-connected speakers on topics of interest are great opportunities particularly for younger members– male or female. In terms of supporting and empowering its female members it is important that the Club continue to have appropriately qualified women on the committee so that the views of female members are heard.

Looking back, what advice would you give to new female members joining the Club now, based on your own experience?

Take advantage of all the Club offers- the gym, special interest groups and the opportunities to network and socialise. And if you are inclined to seek a leadership role – go for it.