The high achievements and exceptional leadership of Geelong women have been celebrated at the 2019 Women in Community Life Awards.
The special event recognises the positive impacts and influence Geelong women have in their own communities through to the global stage.
Now in their fifth year, the annual awards are hosted by the City’s Women in Community Life Advisory Committee.
The awards are held on International Women’s Day, which has been celebrated annually since 1911.
The day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and leads a call to action for accelerating gender equality.
Women in Community Life Advisory Committee, Cr Sarah Mansfield, compered the event.
Jacqui Pierce received the Women in Community Life Award for her outstanding advocacy for women with disabilities and her tireless service on a range of school, advisory and civic committees.
A champion locally, nationally and overseas, Ms Pierce promotes the rights and inclusion of all people with disabilities.
She played a key role in the Every Australian Counts campaign, which successfully lobbied for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Geelong’s inclusion as a pilot area.
Through her consultancy service, she specialises in helping those impacted by an acquired disability or with complex disabilities.
Ms Pierce also helps young people who are in, or facing, admission to residential aged care.
The Women in Community Life Award was proudly supported by Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West.
Mietta Scarlett received the First Nations Woman in Community Life Award for her leadership, advocacy and mentoring of Aboriginal girls to connect to cultural identity.
At just 18 years old, Mietta is educating people through her confident conversations and presentations on what it means to be an Aboriginal person.
She has taken on a leadership role with the Deadly Dancers dance troupe, where she encourages and leads young Aboriginal girls and shows them pride of culture.
Mietta is also a leader in the Koori Youth Group, through Strong Brother Strong Sister.
She successfully completed Year 12 in 2018 and has a strong desire to impact the world and provide leadership, education and identity to Aboriginal youth.
The First Nations Woman in Community Life Award was proudly supported by Member for Geelong, The Hon. Christine Couzens.
Karen Anderson received the Women in Community Life for Human Rights and Gender Equality Award for her commitment to advancing social justice, human rights and gender equity.
Ms Anderson is a passionate advocate in the family violence sector, predominantly working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women facing or at risk of family violence.
She has been pivotal in building ongoing relationships at all levels through her open, respectful and accountable nature.
Her fierce drive has improved the rights and safety of women throughout Geelong and south-west Victoria.
The Women in Community Life for Human Rights and Gender Equality Award was proudly supported by The Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre.
Justine Martin received the Women in Community Life Living with a Disability Award for her work enabling better experiences for people affected by Multiple sclerosis and for people at Barwon Health.
Ms Martin is an MS ambassador and a consumer representative at Barwon Health.
She draws on her own insights, including her life living with multiple sclerosis and cancer, to influence decision making.
She also runs a successful art business, called JUZT art.
The Women in Community Life Living with a Disability Award was proudly supported by the National Disability Insurance Agency.
Courtney Hart received the Women in Community Life Leading Gender Equality in Sport for her excellent leadership in the sport and recreation industry.
She was recognised for her work at Cottage by the Sea, the Kyokushin Karate Club in Hamlyn Heights and her determination in creating Shred Sistas, which is an outdoor sport group created for young women and girls.
Through these various roles and programs, she is providing a space for girls to develop their own confidence and leadership skills.
The Women in Community Life Leading Gender Equality in Sport Award was proudly supported by Leisure Networks.
Bec Picone received the Women in Community Life Leadership for Women’s Health in for her world-leading contribution to women’s health within the Geelong community.
She is the founder of Peace of Mind Foundation, which hosts the only women’s retreat for brain cancer in the world.
Providing a space for respite, friendship and inspiration, the retreats have benefited about 180 women since their inception in 2013.
Ms Picone also organises a monthly brain tumour support group in Geelong and has raised more than $350,000 for brain cancer support with her volunteer team.
The Women in Community Life for Leadership in Women’s Health Award was proudly supported by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health.
Cr Mansfield also marked International Women’s Day by launching the Ba-gurrk Gender Equity Framework.
Ba-gurrk means woman in the language of the Wadawurrung, who are the Traditional Owners of the Greater Geelong region.
The new framework, which builds on the work of the advisory committee, reflects the City’s ongoing commitment to gender equity.
It will inform the development of an action plan, which will aim to eliminate barriers and work towards a fair and inclusive community.
Cr Sarah Mansfield, Chair, Women in Community Life Advisory Committee:
The Women in Community Life Awards never fail to inspire, and this year’s honour roll of winners features six amazing women who have done incredible things in our community and beyond.
The award winners have all shown remarkable leadership and dedication in their respective fields and have made an enormous difference in the lives of others.
By recognising their achievements, we hope to inspire other women to become leaders in our community and to strive to be the best they can be.
The Women in Community Life Advisory Committee is now on the lookout for new members, and we encourage anyone interested in joining to contact the City. You’ll be helping us work towards our goal of women in our region experiencing true equality in all aspects of life.
Mayor Bruce Harwood:
These awards shine a light on the many Geelong women in professional and volunteer roles who are making an impact not only locally, but also at a state or national level.
We congratulate all of the award recipients and nominees for their extraordinary contributions across all facets of community life in our clever and creative city.