International Women's Day 2017: Inspirational women of Redlands

IN recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Redland City Bulletin asked readers to send us details about the women they find inspiring.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange with the focus on creating a more gender inclusive working world.

Linda Grieve, founding director of the Cage Youth Foundation: Submitted by Angie Bowers

“Not only is this woman an amazing mother and grandmother, wife, pastor and friend, Linda Grieve is also the founding director of the Cage Youth Foundation, a self-funded charity running in Redland City. Her mantra is to GOM.A.D (go make a difference) and that's what she does in the lives of all she meets.

“This woman, my mother and best friend is a woman I would love to be like, my hero, my inspiration. I wish the world had more women like her; strong, bold and beautiful.” 

Melissa Anderson: Submitted by Michelle Anderson

“I would like to nominate my sister, Melissa Anderson, as an inspirational woman, for International Women’s Day. She is a photographer who regularly donates her time and talent to create change. For the past three years she has been documenting veterans and has photographed close to 200 World War II veterans to go to the Australian War Memorial and photographed hundreds of other veterans to recognise our service men, women and animals; selfless contributions. 

“She regularly volunteers with education and youth projects and also donates time to industry through various roles. Her mantra is to change the world, one image at a time, and she selflessly does this.”

Michelle Worthington: Submitted by Neena Ingerman

“Michelle Worthington is an international award-winning author who grew up in the Redlands and still lives in the Redlands. Michelle is amazing how she inspires children to fall in love with reading and writing and she inspires many adults through her group Share your Story, where aspiring authors (including myself) can learn the ropes of the writing and publishing industry.

“However, I am nominating Michelle as she is definitely being bold for change. Through her books, she not only inspires girls to believe they can be whatever they dream to be, but she has many stories that display lots of diversity.

“She also worked with the special needs children from Narbethong State Special School and using their communication boards assisted them to write their own story. These students are now the published authors of the picture book The Wheelchair Adventure.

“Michelle is inspiring as she is trying to find a publisher for a book about a boy with Down syndrome. She is so bold to write about children with special needs and I believe there should be more diverse books like hers. They will assist society to accept others regardless of their gender, race or ability.”

Karen Le Comte: Submitted by Erin Le Comte

”Mum owns the local franchise Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers in Cleveland and is the principle mortgage broker. I have worked for her for just over five years and seeing her operate in such a male dominated industry (finance) is inspiring.

“She has been named top broker in Queensland on numerous occasions and named MFAA Broker of the Year in 2010 across all of Australia. The business celebrates its 11th year in 2017 and is a testament to her long hours and hard work.

“Her success is channelled into giving back to the community, regularly donating time and money to charities, namely hosting our Christmas in July for The Kids' Cancer Project over the last six years and raising over $80,000.

Then, of course, just being a great Mum!

Dr Lyn Bishop, principal of Sheldon College: Submitted by Debbie Bowe

“I'd like to nominate my incredible mother, Dr Lyn Bishop, principal of Sheldon College. Not only has she worked tirelessly over the past 20 years to create an incredible learning facility for the children of the Redlands, but she also embodies the #beboldforchange theme of this year's International Women's Day - by supporting a more gender inclusive workforce.

“My wonderful mum works incredibly hard to recruit and train the finest male teachers in the state, particularly in the area of early childhood and primary education which is more often than not so heavily populated by female teachers.

“As a teacher myself in the state education sector, I personally see on a daily basis the incredible influence male teachers have on their students – in many cases they are the only positive male role model in a child's life so their influence is crucial to the little people they are educating and working alongside.

“Education in this state can only improve with more male teachers entering the workforce and a more gender inclusive environment being fostered within schools. I'm so proud of my inspirational mum for doing her part towards making this possible, sooner rather than later.”

Dr Gill Van Iddekinge: Submitted by Leigh Mason

“I would like to nominate my best friend and neighbour, Dr Gill Van Iddekinge. As the only female obstetrician in the Redlands she is a rare breed that should be cherished.

“A true friend, dedicated to her career, when we catch up for PT at sunrise it is inspiring to know she will be bringing new life into the world before sunset.”

Members of the Redlands Rhapsody Chorus: Submitted by on of the Divas

“We have loved our time with the inspiring ladies of RRC. They are talented, committed, brave, generous with their time, their wisdom and their hugs; they are so supportive, and incredibly funny, too.

“It's been an honour to sing with them. We're lovin' what they do.”

Senior Constable Samathan Schofield: Submitted by Tiffany

“I believe Samantha Schofield from Capalaba Police Beat is definitely inspirational. She is a very strong lovely lady and is always willing to help others.

“Samantha has a happy bubbly personality and does great work for the community and seems to enjoy her job. She is doing wonders for Coffee with a Cop and helping people feel more comfortable with talking to police. She is a fabulous lady and police officer, and very easy to chat to about issues. I’m going through domestic violence issues and I could not have gotten through without her.”

Cherry Wills: Submitted by Natasha Alexander

“I would like to nominate local woman Cherry Wills, a fantastic nutritional therapist. She has been gently and kindly leading people back to good health. A woman with great integrity who walks her talk.”

Bronwyn Johnstone, principal at Capalaba State College: Submitted by Suze Harpur

“Her dedication to the children is amazing, the opportunities that are made available to all students is fantastic.”

Eileen Mitchell: Submitted by Jacky Burkett

“Eileen Mitchell is one of two remaining charter members of Soroptimist International Bayside and has been a member for over 30 years. She is a person whose example inspires others to embrace the values and goals of Soroptimism because she leads by example. She has persuaded many to step into positions and has always supported and mentored any who accept the challenge of office. Eileen has held so many positions over the years that a list would be meaningless. The highest position she has held is president of SI of the South West Pacific (2005-6). 

“Eileen has a knack of enthusing others and turning working on projects into fun and fellowship. The last 27 years of Eileen’s professional career was at the Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre. She has always been willing to contribute her passion and expertise as an environmentalist and teacher. She has accepted every opportunity to educate, empower and enable both SI members and the wider public on issues of importance to women.”

Anne Taylor: Submitted by Molly Taylor

“Growing up, my parents never had a lot of money, they always worked hard to provide food, a roof over our heads, decent education and support for their kids. Coming from a family of three siblings – one older sister and a younger brother – we always seemed to be out and about making the most of life, my mum working in finance at the time struggled with being away from the family, but she always said how stressed she was and how she didn't enjoy the work life balance or the financial lines anymore.

“She would to take us to Bunnings to look around on the weekends, buy the things we needed to maintain the house and she absolutely could not get enough, everyone was so friendly, the environment seemed great in store and she just always loved going there. So what did she do? She applied and got the job and has never looked back since.

My mum, now being 61 this year, works 50 to 60 hour weeks, six days, sometimes even seven, going in on her day off because she is dedicated and hard working. She never takes a sick day even when she is sick, moves stores constantly wherever they need her without a complaint, runs a tight ship but does the job well.

“She doesn't receive enough gratitude and thanks from enough people and she deserves that and more (perhaps a holiday). I'm sure she would agree. She is now at that stage in her life now where she can choose to either retire in a few years or keep working and you probably now know what she is going to do...

“I love my mum, she works so hard and she is the one of the most inspirational people I know.

Linda Paul: Submitted by Lisa-Jane Luck

“Linda Paul, for her amazing dedication to Spirit of the Dragonfly and the young disability clients in the Redlands. Linda has shown amazing leadership teaching our clients cooking skills at our barbecue program.”

Lucy Poulsen: Submitted by Jodi Poulsen

“A sentiment I'm sure is shared by many women – the woman who inspires me most is my amazing strong willed daughter! At four years old she inspires me every day to #beboldforchange and work towards a more gender inclusive world for her.”

Jacky Burkett and Catherine Heiner, Soroptomist International Bayside: Submitted by Isabel Myburgh

“I'd like to nominate two amazing women from the Redlands, Jacky Burkett, past president of Soroptimist International Bayside, and Catherine Heiner, the newly appointed president. Both ladies do an amazing job supporting women's causes.”

Debra Henry: Submitted by Megan Gaeta

“My mother, Debra Henry, is my inspiration: A kind soul who always has time to listen to anybody. A strong lady who sat on our local council for a few terms. A lover of the environment, she fights to protect for future generations. I'm extremely honoured to call her Mum. I want to grow up to be just like her … Maybe a little more technology savvy!”

Cheryl Bruce: Submitted by Lisa-Jane Luck

“Cheryl works behind the scenes at Spirit of the Dragonfly creating some amazing opportunities for our clients. Cheryl puts all her health challenges behind her and she is a dedicated mother and grandmother. Cheryl is a dedicated personal assistant to the chief executive officer of Spirit of the Dragonfly.

Elizabeth Venzin: Submitted by Giorgina Venzin

“My mum inspires me … Elizabeth Venzin set up The MindShift Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to preventative mental health. Their awareness to action campaigns and resources offer the first step to help create self-worth, positive well-being and strong mental health. 

“Their mission is to help individuals, families, communities and workplaces recognise the importance of self-worth, to encourage preventative mental health intervention and to offer support to the community through awareness campaigns, resources and public discussions.”

Jan Goetze: Submitted by Kasey Goetze

“I would like to submit Jan Goetze from Raine & Horne Cleveland as someone who inspires me. Her passion and dedication for what she does is inspiring. She is always ethical in what can be a very challenging industry and always does the right thing by others and leads by a clear and unwavering example.”

Lisa-Jane Luck: Submitted by Tammy Stothard

“Lisa is very inspiring to every adult, woman and man out there, her hard work and dedication helps support adults with disabilities and help their dreams become reality. She runs a charity, a dream foundation for adults with disabilities that takes them on cruises, holidays and day trips and supports them and inspires everyone around her to achieve their dreams.”

Sue Menzies: Submitted by Deion Menzies

“Why is Sue an inspiration? Redland AFC club person of the year, volunteers for a Chinese orphanage, volunteers at AFL Brisbane Juniors.

“She will help anyone who asks; all done with a single ‘yes’ and a smile.”

Ralda Forzin: Submitted by Jacky Burkett

“Ralda Forzin will stop at nothing to advocate for human rights and the status of women. She is a charter member of Soroptimist International Bayside. She is currently serving as Australia President of Soroptimist International (SI), a world-wide service club for women, working through awareness, advocacy and action. In her role, she has established an advocacy committee to campaign to have metadata legislation modified at a federal level to protect individuals (largely women) who currently cannot hide from controlling partners, under the current accessibility to metadata available. The Rosie Batty Roadshow last year saw Rosie speak at breakfasts in most capital cities to raise much needed funds to support local legal aid services. Ralda spoke at each of the breakfasts fostering the Soroptimist International perspective too.

“She has attended and led delegations to United Nations Summits around the world to ensure a woman’s perspective is considered and, in particular, that women’s health rights were considered.

“Ralda’s project Lighting the Way to Climate Justice, invited SI members to offset carbon emissions when they travel by paying a ‘fine’ which purchases solar lanterns to be distributed to households in PNG which do not have access to electricity. To date, 400 solar lanterns have been issued to households, thus allowing families to continue to work or study into the night.

“As you can see, Ralda is unstoppable in making life better for those less fortunate in society.”

Redland Centre for Women: Submitted by Lisa Nardone

“The management team and core of volunteers of the Redlands Centre for Women are an awe inspiring group. There are approximately 30 ladies in leadership roles at the centre, taking on the responsibility for running operations, programs and events. Their dedication and hard work resulted in the centre being awarded Community Organisation of the Year in this year's Redlands Australia Day Awards.

“With the Centre celebrating it's 10th birthday this year, these ladies and their commitment and passion have contributed a great deal to the Redland's community and they lend that passion to inspire those around them every day.”