CELEBRATING WOMAN OF THE WEST

Finalists and winners with Rosie Batty and Prof Denise Kirkpatrick including Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne and businesswoman Sue Tsigaros. Credit on photos (official) Sally Tsoutas.

Hills to Hawkesbury writer BEV JORDAN was 13 when she decided she wanted to be a journalist. Fifty years later it’s a job she still. She tells us why.

IT seems shocking to me now that we used to have big events prior to the instigation in mid- March of our COVID-19 restrictions. But before those social distancing restrictions took hold, I was invited to a wonderful Women in Business Forum lunch hosted by Coleman Greig.

During the International Women’s Day event Professor Denise Kirkpatrick announced the winners of the Western Sydney University’s Women of the West Awards which celebrate the outstanding contributions women make to business and community in Western Sydney.

The room was full of women who have been making a huge difference in their communities from businesswomen to passionate volunteers, all with so many stories to tell.

It is because of those stories that I love my job. I can provide a platform for these organisations to tell what they do and offer support. It’s about connecting people.

I have spent over 35 years shining a light on others so when I was named 2020 Woman of the West (Community) by Western Sydney University I started shaking.

I was honoured to be among the finalists and applaud my fellow winners: Pat Hall and Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson who were joint winners of the Woman of the West (Business) Award and Sampavi Sivakumar who was named Young Woman of the West.

Highly commended awards were presented to Ruby Campbell (Community) and Anyier Yuol and Aimee Paananen (Youth).

Western Sydney University’s Acting Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, congratulated the nominees and winners, and said that the Awards as an opportunity for the University to give back to its community.

It was such a huge honour to be a recipient. Thank you to all our volunteers and businesses who give back and build their communities.

My award was presented to me by Rosie Batty, former Australian of the Year and family domestic violence campaigner.

As guest speaker Rosie spoke about the importance of having a platform to campaign for domestic violence reform.

She called domestic violence “a huge social epidemic” and spoke of recent deaths asking: “Why is this allowed to still happen?”

Sadly, during these current times the problem has increased.

As a reporter, it has always been my mission, to inform, inspire and involve the community and on the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News we aim to run positive stories that will help people.

Our story last year on an appeal for help by the Lisa Harnum Foundation which was faced with closing down it’s transitional housing for DV survivors because of lack of funds was seen by a reader who stepped in and paid the next three year’s rent. The LHF has now been able to operate its third shopping centre “safe room”. The latest is at Rouse Hill Town Centre which we featured last week.

While the death toll in the COVID-19 epidemic has been terrible it has taught us so many valuable lessons and number one is the importance of family and community in our lives.

During this time, we need to be more connected than ever. It is wonderful to see people take time to care for each other and value what is good.