Glen Eira Woman of the Year 2016
When Rotary Club of Glen Eira President Larry Blode declared at the club’s changeover last June that “I want more women!”, his wife Sheryl was right behind him. He intui.vely knew that in his area, the biggest opportunity was to en.ce more women into Rotary, for the Rotary Club of Glen Eira to be an accurate reflection of the City of Glen Eira.
Inspired by the Rotary Club of Chicago’s “Chicago Woman of the Year” Award, the Rotary Club of Glen Eira set itself to recognize and acknowledge the amazing work of women done locally by holding its own “Glen Eira Woman of the Year” Night. Rotary’s birthday was identified as a perfect time to hold it, as if Paul Harris was only just starting Rotary today, there is no doubt that at least half the membership would be female.
The club engaged some of its newest members, including Lili Teichmann and Joan Luscak, to drive the evening, to give them an opportunity to showcase the type of Rotary they want to see. Nominations were sought across a range of categories: Community Service, Sports & Recreation, Business, and Volunteers.
The nominations received were overwhelming and had to be narrowed down to the seven finalists. These finalists included incredible women who made a difference to the lives of many, whether fighting the scourge of domestic violence, creating opportunities to source then pack thousands of hampers to families in need, setting up business tools to enable over $30 million to be raised for charities and other philanthropic causes, and volunteering for untold hours to enable local sporting clubs to operate.
District Governor Julie Mason as keynote speaker engaged the audience with her personal story of what being a women in leadership means to her. The audience could not have had a better example of an inspirational leader.
The winner of the inaugural Glen Eira Woman of the Year could have been any of the finalist. Julie Armstrong, was a very worthy winner, with over 50 years of dedication in Girl Guides Victoria, having played a major part over decades to build the leaders of the future.
This event will no doubt be a stepping stone for President Larry’s objective, even for a small club. And if some of these “Wonder Women” are now more engaged with Rotary, we all can only become stronger.