International Women’s Day Coffs Coast Woman of the Year

Shelley Lowe

Shelley Lowe

Shelley Lowe from Urunga is the 2019 International Women’s Day Coffs Coast Woman of the Year.

The announcement was made this morning at the International Women’s Day Breakfast, held at C.ex Coffs.

Shelley Lowe was described as "an enthusiastic, inspiring and empowering mentor for women and girls of Bellingen Shire and beyond".

She founded Shelley’s Bootcamp in 2005, an outdoor group of exercise classes for women and girls in Urunga.

Identifying a need, Shelley introduced seniors’ classes in 2015, with numbers in the ‘UCanDo’ classes now exceeding 460 women.

“I have the opportunity to assist women and girls in reversing some of their dysfunctional lifestyle habits and medical habits," Shelley said.

"I will continuously strive to motivate women of all ages. This is my legacy to women.”

Shelley received a plaque, certificate and cash prize of $1000 towards her work with women and girls. The Award was jointly sponsored by Coffs Harbour City Council and the C.ex Group.

The runner-up award was won by Kamla Ruthnam-Webb, who has volunteered as a mentor for the Indigenous Mentoring Experience for eight years.

For the last seven years she has volunteered weekly at the homework centre for Indigenous children.

Kamla mentors high school girls at her home and assists girls with Centrelink to provide them with safe accommodation. She provides business skills to young women and provides care packages to Warrina Women’s Refuge. The runner-up prize of $250 awarded to Kamla was sponsored by One Agency Coffs Harbour.

There were a number of nominations and four finalists chosen to be recognised on International Women’s Day. The other finalists were Nicole Donovan and Claire O’Halloran.

Three other awards were announced this year and celebrated at the breakfast. Southern Cross University awarded $2500 each to a Midwifery undergraduate, Weiming Wang and PhD Student at the National Marine Science Centre, Kay Davis.

A generous personal donation was made by last year’s keynote speaker, Augusta Supple, to a young woman commencing her career in the performing arts.

This year’s winner is Bellingen filmmaker Tallulah Remond-Stephen from the Coffs Harbour Senior College who receives $500 towards her ongoing career in the performing arts.

"Cinema has always been a vital part of expressing my thoughts and feelings," Tallulah said.

Tallulah Remond-Stephen

Tallulah Remond-Stephen

"Watching and making films has taught me the importance of understanding the world around me and my place in that world. It has shown me that communication is not limited to talking but instead limitless in a combination of light and sound and images that convey abstract ideas, unexplainable emotion and a sense of understanding.

By continuing to create films, I hope to achieve the simple ability of making more films. I hope to attend film school where I can learn more about my craft and eventually become a director in the film industry where filmmaking could become a full-time job."

International Women’s Day in Coffs Harbour is celebrated each year as a joint initiative of Zonta Coffs Harbour Inc., BPW Coffs Harbour and Coffs Coast BWN. This year, the breakfast attracted 360 attendees, including senior students from our local high schools. The Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs, and Pat Funnell Award winners addressed the audience. The keynote speaker this year was Dr Angela Jay who spoke of her journey back from a horrific attack by a former partner and her ongoing plans in obstetric medicine.

We thank ANZ Bank, Coffs Harbour, for their generous sponsorship of the speaker.

For further information and photos, check Facebook/ IWD Coffs Coast Woman of the Year Award 2018 or Instagram/iwdcoffscoast.