Zonta – 100 years on sharing ideas and empowering women and girls

The Honourable Di Farmer speaking at the Conference Gala Dinner with District 22 Governor Sandy Venn-Brown, Zonta International President Susanne von Bassewitz, District 24 Governor Sharyl Scott and District 16 Governor Souella Cumming.

The Honourable Di Farmer speaking at the Conference Gala Dinner with District 22 Governor Sandy Venn-Brown, Zonta International President Susanne von Bassewitz, District 24 Governor Sharyl Scott and District 16 Governor Souella Cumming.

The Honourable Di Farmer, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, gave a heartfelt speech when she welcomed guests at the Zonta Centennial Anniversary Conference 2019 opening ceremony and was a guest speaker at the Gala Dinner. She congratulated Zonta International on its’ 100 year celebration and welcomed the International President of Zonta to Queensland.

District 22 Governor Sandra Venn-Brown said:

This conference was a life changing experience for all. It was not just an opportunity to make new friends, share ideas and hear from inspirational women from our 2 countries, but it was a chance for Zontians to reflect on where we have been and what we have achieved. It was a time for us to honour the past as we empowered ourselves and others for the future.

The 2019 Conference student group

The 2019 Conference student group.

The support by the Queensland Government enabled 7 culturally diverse young people from rural and regional Queensland – including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school children – to attend the conference who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to participate. A further 22 young women from high schools in New South Wales also enjoyed the conference.

The support saw previous winners of the Zonta International Women in Business Scholarships and Young Women in Public Affairs Award attend to share their experience and knowledge, along with a great range of inspirational speakers.

With 90% of attendees coming from outside the south east corner of Queensland, many guests spent additional time in Brisbane and surrounds holidaying before and after the conference. Zonta International president Susanne von Bassewitz from Germany was given a tour of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and met with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, resulting in a bid for Brisbane to host the 2024 Zonta International Convention. All interstate and international visitors spoke favourably of Brisbane as an ideal convention destination.

The 2019 Young Women in Public Affairs winners with past Queensland Governor Leneen Forde [L-R: Sarah Newman, Leneen Forde, Hibra Shibaat (Melbourne), Jorga Attard (Sydney), Sarah Katau (Auckland) and Madison Birtchnell (Gold Coast)].

The 2019 Young Women in Public Affairs winners with past Queensland Governor Leneen Forde [L-R: Sarah Newman, Leneen Forde, Hibra Shibaat (Melbourne), Jorga Attard (Sydney), Sarah Katau (Auckland) and Madison Birtchnell (Gold Coast)].

Zonta International 2019 Women in Business Scholarship recipient Caitlene Hillman said:

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for inviting me to participate in the Zonta District Conference. The conference was such a valuable forum for individuals to discuss crucial social issues and this made for a highly empowering and inspiring weekend. I am thoroughly excited to pass onto my peers, the inspiration and motivations to create profound social impact in our communities.

Other responses to the benefits of the conference included:

Empowered! Overwhelmed! Grateful for opportunity! Inspired!

The opening ceremony was so powerful!

It was a life changing experience!