Despite the heartbreaking personal stories it was a great and celebratory event. Women whose children had died in tragic circumstances, who had lost loved ones and who had lived through challenging illnesses and events. All had one thing in common - they used their life experience to make a difference for others.
The winner was Wendy Malonyay. Wendy raised her two children alone after the premature death of her husband. Her 32-year-old daughter, Kate, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, navy systems analyst Elliot Coulson, in Sydney in 2013. There was controversy after his subsequent death by suicide of a navy decision to give him a military funeral. Wendy successfully campaigned for a formal apology from the navy and a guarantee that perpetrators of domestic abuse would no longer receive such an honour. She also works with the Homicide Victims Support Group and is fundraising to build Grace’s Place, a world first trauma recovery centre for children and young people who are affected by the homicide of a loved one. Anita Cobby's mothers name was Grace.
I tell you this, because each year, WOB members step up and take board and committee roles on third-sector organisations such as Lifeline. Organisations providing valuable and vital services to people who may otherwise fall through gaps or whose particular circumstance is out of the remit of Government funded bodies. Organisations who support people such as the winner of the young achiever award, Peta Ralph. Peta lost her mother to cancer, was mistreated by her father, fled with her sister to her grandmother's place and is now living with the kind family of a friend. All the while she never lost sight of the value of education and in 2017 will complete Year 12 while serving as a prefect at her local high school.
WOB was proud to sponsor the Steel Magnolia's event and host a table. This is a our annual financial contribution to a Central Coast based Not-for-Profit whose purpose aligns with our values and work for women. It is one small way we can be a good corporate citizen. Of course, the major way we do this is by advertising vacancies for third-sector boards to our network of extraordinary women.
Thank you to all of you who step up, take these board roles and make a difference in the lives of many men and women. It is days like today when you realise how much it means to so many people.
Blessings for the weekend