Recognising women who go above and beyond

Published 3:33pm 8 March 2023

Recognising women who go above and beyond
Words by Ashleigh Howarth
Above: 2023 SIMNI Be Inspired Award Winners: (left to right) Michelle Feuerriegel, Susanne Jones and Tamika Bennett with SIMNI President Fiona Cullen.

Local women who have gone above and beyond to make a positive difference in the community have been recognised and celebrated at a special International Women’s Day luncheon.

Hosted by Soroptimist International Moreton North Inc (SIMNI), the 11th International Women’s Day Awards luncheon was an opportunity for the not-for-profit volunteer organisation to present awards to women who are speaking out against discrimination, gender bias, violence against women, and bullying at school and in the work environment.

SIMNI President Elect Kassandra Behrendt said the organisation is passionate about empowering women and recognising all their amazing achievements.

“At the luncheon we celebrated the diverse community of women in the Moreton Bay Region – women and girls who’ve worked tirelessly, gone above and beyond, and who are making a difference in our community,” Kassandra said.

“By recognising these social justice giants in our community they in turn will inspire future generations.”

The award ceremony and luncheon was held on Sunday, March 5 at the North Lakes Hotel.

Above: The Fraser Family: Marissa, Nate, Edie, Adeline and Amalia – who is the winner of the SIMNI IWD Young Community Volunteer Award.

2023 SIMNI Be Inspired Award winners

Women who were recognised on the day include:

  • Woman of the Year – Susanne Jones - Just Better Care Brisbane North CBD.
  • Young Woman of the Year – Tamika Bennett - 2022 Year 12 graduate, Kairos Community College Deception Bay Campus, and 2023 Tertiary Student Nursing Science SCU, Petrie.
  • Business Woman – Cheryl Gray - Owner and CEO Women’s Network Australia.
  • Young Community Volunteer - Amalia Fraser - Educate to Lead
  • Community Volunteer – Michelle Feuerriegel - EMM Power Shop of Opportunity
  • Business Sponsor – Patricia (Trishie) Johnson - SIMNI Global Ambassador currently residing in China

See more photos of the winners in the photo gallery below. Pictures courtesy of Clear Image Photography.

A global voice for women

Soroptimist International was founded in 1921 and is a global volunteer movement with a network of around 72,000 members in 121 countries.

At the heart of Soroptimist International’s advocacy work is human rights and gender equality.

To help more women become leaders, SIMNI President Fiona Cullen said the group launched a new mentoring project over the weekend.

“At SIMNI we’re passionate about empowering women and girls to become the leaders of their own lives first, before they can lead others. That is why at our International Women’s Day luncheon we launched our Lead-HER-ship mentoring project, Empowered Women – Empowering Women to ensure we guide, support and equip our young girls,” Fiona said.

“Through our mentoring project, we’ll be sharing the lessons we’ve learned, offering practical solutions, explaining how their mindset plays a key role in their behaviour and how leadership skills development provides a different perspective.

“They will come to understand that armed with these skills, they can take charge of their own destiny, to pursue a life full of achievements, happiness and success.

“This Lead-HER-Ship mentoring project resonates deep within my heart because if you’re not empowered yourself, how can you empower others?

“We want to teach our young girls how to become leaders of themselves, then to go on to inspire and lead others.”

Boots on the ground

Having members on the ground proactively working together to help the community is important to SIMNI.

“The members of our local volunteer club are committed to improving the lives of women and girls in our community by getting boots on the ground, in our streets and talking to the people, especially to our young adults, whilst continuing our support of existing community service providers in the Moreton Bay Region like Kairos Community College and Share the Dignity,” Kassandra said.

If you are interested in joining SIMNI, email [email protected]


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