OVER 300 Coffs Coast women had lunch together at the Pacific Bay Resort on Tuesday March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).
The breakfast is organized annually by the Coffs Coast Business Women’s Network, the Zonta Club of Coffs Harbor and the Professional Women in Business (BPW) of Coffs Harbour.
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The global theme for this year’s IWD was “Breaking Down Prejudice”.
Guests were asked to bring items to support Lismore flood victims and organizers were overwhelmed with their generosity.
The Coffs Coast Woman of the Year was awarded to Jade Naidu, with Jodie Wood as runner-up.
Ms Naidu is the owner of the Woolgoolga Performing Arts Studio and promotes awareness of anti-bias principles
through the arts.
Its NAIDU Theater Co. has offered three $500.00 scholarships to young performers from diverse cultural backgrounds who have stood out as incredibly talented and gifted performers in the arts.
Mrs. Naidu and her husband sold their house in order to buy the property that houses her business as a trust for the community.
She spoke Tuesday morning about having to hold back and not being noticed as a child.
Ms Naidu said: “Breaking down bias in the arts means being able to stand up in a room and use your own voice without having to change to fit in or not be seen.”
She advocates for the performing arts to foster inclusion within the community and embrace uniqueness.
She said: “Today is a victory for the arts.”
Mali Tipping received the Zonta Young Woman in Public Affairs Award and Southern Cross University IWD Fellowships were awarded to Taylor Slattery and Jessica McEvoy.
The guest speaker was Lorraine Gordon, who won the 1994 ABC NSW Rural Woman of the Year award for developing Australia’s largest domestic hydroelectric system.
Ms Gordon spoke of growing up in the city with a passion for the land, but was unable to study agricultural science because she was a woman.
She inherited a dilapidated 3,000 hectare farm in Ebor which she has since developed into a model property that includes ecotourism.
The underlying themes of his speech were resilience, determination and passion and doing work that brings hope.
Ms Gordon told the audience: ‘Nothing comes without effort.
She was very passionate about the need for women as political leaders and urged the public to step up and have a political voice.
Ms Gordon said: ‘Women are nurturing by nature, so they have the perfect disposition to tackle global issues like climate change.’
By Andrew VIVIAN