Coffs Coast IWD Woman of the Year Award 2017

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International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrates and acknowledges the achievements of women globally on 8th March each year.

The three major women’s groups in Coffs Harbour; the Zonta Club Inc., Business and Professional Women (BPW) and the Business Women’s Network (BWN) will again be holding their very special breakfast on the morning of 8th March 2017 to allow local girls, men and women to come together to share in the successes of our local women and girls.

The International Women’s Day – Coffs Harbour Woman of the Year Award was set up to acknowledge the positive contribution of women in the region of Coffs Harbour. It aims to recognise outstanding women working for the betterment of women and girls in business, education or community.

Criteria for the Award were that the woman:

  • Resides in the local electorate
  • Has demonstrated significant leadership and/or achievement
  • Has made an outstanding contribution to the lives of women and girls in the community.

Four inspiring finalists have been recognised by their peers for the 2017 Woman of the Year Award. The finalists and the eventual winner of the Award will be presented at the IWD Breakfast, at C.ex Coffs, on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2017.

The finalists are:

Karyn Flanagan

Karyn Flanagan is a very active community-spirited person, including being a member of school P&C organisations, WOMB’S (Women on Motor BikeS) fundraising and Woolgoolga Women’s Circle. Karyn voluntarily ran Lower Bucca Community Playgroup and was a counsellor for the Coffs Harbour Flood Recovery Centre. Currently, Karyn works with the refugee community. She has organised two SurfGrom days for the children of refugees and supported Afghani women to attend WOW (Women of the World) events in 2015.

Deb Ryan

Deb Ryan is the CEO of Community Care Options. In 2016, C.C.O. received Coffs Harbour Business of the Year and was Employer of Choice-State Finalist. Deb was recently awarded the NSW Not-For-Profit Leader of the Year Award (AIM) and won Coffs Harbour Business Leader of the Year Award 2016. Deb is a champion of advancing women in their careers, mentoring and promoting women to leadership positions. She has accessed funding for girls’ Links–to-Learning as well as the pilot project, Women’s Circle.

Ellen Slater

Ellen Slater provides respite for carers, through funding provided by nine fundraising events in 2016 alone. Carers are often sleep-deprived, depressed and not adequately taking care of him/herself, so Ellen provides respite, family counselling, and the carers leave with strategies to help them cope differently. She has also provided funding to allow young carers to attend an adventure camp. Ellen runs a free community group held once a month called Goddess Sisters, which is open to all.

Jane Tavener

Jane Tavener established the Heart and Soul Foundation specifically for the betterment of women and girls. The Foundation supports women through the availability of programs allowing nourishment of heart, body and soul. These programs bring together a diverse range of women from the local community, women who have been through trauma, violence, or are suffering from mental health issues. Jane is also a founding, and an active, member of the WOW (Women of the World) committee.

  • Are you ready to #BeBoldForChange this IWD 2017 and beyond?
  • Make sure you come to the 2017 IWD Breakfast event on Wednesday 8th March 2017, C.ex Coffs, to congratulate the winner of this prestigious award. Along with a very special guest speaker, you will be inspired by female future leaders who were recipients of the 2016  Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Tickets can be purchased at

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