8 March, 2023

Moreton North Soroptimist celebrate diverse community of women

SOROPTIMIST International Moreton North Inc. (SIMNI) marked their 11th Annual International Women’s Day Awards by launching their new Lead-HER-Ship Empowering Women’s Mentoring Programme.

SIMNI 2023 International Women’s Day Volunteer of the Year Michelle Feuerriegel, Woman of the Year Susanne Jones, Young Woman of the Year Tamika Bennett SIMNI President Fiona Cullen.
SIMNI 2023 International Women’s Day Volunteer of the Year Michelle Feuerriegel, Woman of the Year Susanne Jones, Young Woman of the Year Tamika Bennett SIMNI President Fiona Cullen.

This aim of this year’s event was to help attendees define what leadership means and equip them with practical tools to lead themselves, their families, workplaces and communities. 

Held at the North Lakes Hotel on Sunday March 5, attendees heard from keynote speaker Susanne Jones, Managing Director at Just Better Care Brisbane North before taking place in the first Lead-HER-ship workshop facilitated by Fiona Cullen, the 2023 SIMNI President. 

During the session, participants got the opportunity to think about and explore what leadership means, evaluate where they are at in their leadership journey, and map out a Personal Lead-HER-Ship Plan for what they hope to accomplish in the coming year. 

Susan Jones was awarded SIMNI International Women’s Day Woman of the Year as a result of her tireless work in the aged cared industry to create change and empower others. 

Susan has been a finalist for the past two years in the Moreton Bay Innovation and Business Awards, Businesswoman of the Year category.

Tamika Bennett, who is currently studying Tertiary Student Nursing Science at Sunshine Coast University, received 2023 SIMNI International Women’s Day Young Woman.

The 2022 grade 12 graduate has assisted SIMNI members with several projects, including one at Kairos Community College where she taught students how to cook Tribal Lunch recipes whilst also educating them about the impact migrating to other countries can have on refugees. 

Owner and CEO of Women’s Network Australia Cheryl Gray was awarded SIMNI International Women’s Day Business Woman in light of her 30-year commitment to advocating for empowering and connecting women. 

Cheryl, who worked as a journalist and in public affairs before stating her own communication consultancy business, has supported SIMNI events with sponsorship and subsidised advertorials in the Women’s Network Australia Magazines in support of their local and international projects.

Amalia Fraser was recognised as SIMNI International Women’s Day Young Community Volunteer after she committed to collecting 108 backpacks with school supplies last year to support disadvantaged children. 

Amalia also took part in the postcard project, sending a video message and postcard greeting to children in Ukraine. 

The International Women’s Day Community Volunteer award went to Michelle Feuerriegel who has worked as a support officer for at risk youth and families for over 19 years. 

Michelle volunteers many hours to supporting young mums and families in need, as well as at Peninsula Power Soccer Club. 

During this time, Michelle saw many players struggle emotionally and several young friends and players take their lives.

This added to Michelle’s desire to provide a hub for those feeling challenge, so she opened a community focused, family supportive Op Shop – EMM Power Shop of Opportunity. 

Patricia Johnson, who currently resides in China, was awarded the SIMNI International Women’s Day Business Sponsor award. 

Patricia is a small business owner and has been a Soroptimist member for over 25 years. 

The SIMNI Global Ambassador moved to China with her husband to teach English to young students and connect with other ambassadors around the world.

Whilst abroad, she has continued to provide additional financial assistance to SIMNI that has supported their Love for Lismore Projects, our Fire and Flood Appeals, SIE Disaster Relief Fund for people from Ukraine and Christmas Hampers. 

SIMNI Member for over 13 years Marney Perna said the awards are about recognising women who have “stepped up and stood out” in either their working job or own business. 

“They’re just making a difference in other’s lives,” she said. 

Soroptimist International was formed in 1921 in California and now has more than 66,000 members across 121 countries. 

The accredited non-government organisation works with various United Nations Agencies across the globe to provide a voice for women.  


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