Coffs Coast International Women’s Day Woman of the Year 2019

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The International Women’s Day (IWD) Coffs Coast Woman of the Year Award acknowledges and promotes the positive contribution of women to the community in the region of Coffs Coast.

The International Women’s’ Day (IWD) Coffs Coast Woman of the Year Award acknowledges and promotes the positive contribution of women to the community in the region of Coffs Coast. This includes the local government areas of Coffs Harbour and Bellingen Shire. The award aims to recognise outstanding women working for the empowerment of women and girls in business, education and community. 

Four inspiring finalists have been selected from all nominees for the 2019 Woman of the Year Award. The eventual winner of the Award will be chosen for her significant leadership and achievement in empowering women and girls. She will receive a monetary award of $1,000 for her project, sponsored by Coffs Harbour City Council and C.ex Group Club Grants. A runner up prize of $250, sponsored by One Agency, will also be awarded. 

International Women’s Day (IWD) falls on 8th March each year. The three major women’s groups in Coffs Harbour: the Zonta Club of Coffs Harbour Inc.; BPW Coffs Harbour (Business and Professional Women); and the Coffs Coast Business Women’s Network (BWN) will again be holding their very special breakfast on the morning of 8th March 2019 to provide the opportunity for girls, men and women to come together to share in the successes of our local women and girls.

The following finalists will be presented at the IWD Breakfast, in the Grand Auditorium, at C.ex Coffs, Friday March 8th, 2019.

Nicole Donovan

”I know the debate has made a huge difference in enabling our regional women to feel more empowered in the workplace, to be heard in regard to harassment and bullying issues.”

Nicole was instrumental in organising the #metoo debate in Coffs Harbour. This took many many hours of her time. Nicole worked tirelessly in the Coffs community to get the conversation going about #metoo, in bringing to the forefront the amount and extent of abuse that has happened to so many people in our society.

Nicole also works full-time, managing the Surf Club Restaurant in Coffs Harbour, where she hires and trains, usually female, teens. 

Shelley Lowe

“I have the opportunity to assist women and girls in reversing some of their dysfunctional lifestyle habits and medical habits. I will continuously strive to motivate women of all ages. This is my legacy to women.”

Shelley is an enthusiastic, inspiring and empowering mentor for women and girls of Bellingen Shire and beyond. She founded Shelley’s Bootcamp in 2005 – outdoor group exercise classes for women and girls in Urunga.

Shelley then saw a need and introduced Seniors’ classes in 2015, with numbers in the “UCanDo” classes now exceeding 460 women.  

Claire O’Halloran

“I wanted to create a program to support female students, helping them as young learners … and developing strong, independent young women.”

Claire is a PDHPE and Dance teacher at Woolgoolga High School. One of her roles is the Supervisor of female students – mentoring adolescent girls. In this capacity, Claire led a pilot wellbeing program for junior girls to enhance their self esteem – EMPOWER. Claire has visited partner primary schools to invite Year 6 girls to participate in the program next year, to support their transition into secondary school. 

In 2018 she also mentored young female refugee students to attend the Hallogen Youth Leadership Conference in Brisbane. 

Kamla Ruthnam Webb

“I fell into a role with some of the older girls from the program. It is an honour to be part of their journey and see them achieve so much.”

Kamla has volunteered as a mentor for the Indigenous Mentoring Experience for the past eight years. For the last seven years she has volunteered weekly at the homework centre for indigenous children. Kamla mentors high school girls at her home and assists girls with Centrelink to provide them with safe accommodation. She provides business skills to young women through her husband’s business and provides care packages to Warrina.

The Award Event  

You are warmly invited to the 2019 IWD Breakfast on Friday 8th March 2019, C.ex Coffs, to congratulate the winner of this prestigious award and to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of all our local women. Our guest speaker, sponsored by ANZ Coffs Harbour, will be Dr Angela Jay, White Ribbon Advocate and survivor. You will also be inspired by our female future leaders; student recipients of the Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs and Pat Funnell Awards, as well as scholarship winners for Performing Arts and SCU Rising Stars. 

Tickets can be purchased at:

We are excited to announce that a second, smaller, event will also be offered this year: In Conversation with Dr Angela Jay. This will be held in the Surf Club Conference Room, Surf Rd, Coffs Harbour, at 10:30am, Friday 8th March. Tickets for this event released soon.

Balance drives a better working world. Let’s all help create #BalanceforBetter.

Thank you to all our sponsors: ANZ Coffs Harbour, C.ex Group Club Grants, Coffs Harbour City Council, One Agency, FOCUS, Opal Cove Resort and Sticky Tickets. For more information, phone 0411 463 592.

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