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2017 Hastings Heroines

Posted by Kelly King on 3 April 2017
2017 Hastings Heroines

The Hastings Heroines awards recognise the unsung heroines of our local region as part of International Women's Day celebrations. 'The 2017 International Women's Day theme was 'Unity". The awards this year celebrated women that provide strength and cohesion to support and connect the Hastings community.

Congratulations to all our 2017 Hastings Heroines Nominees.

Lisa McLeod - Highly Commended
Lisa is a strong leader, as the President of the Pappinbarra Progress Association, she is constantly drawing people together to create a better community for the Pappinbarra valley.  Her efforts in leading the PPA, show her as a diplomat of the highest order - dealing with strong personalities and bringing them together for a better focus on the greater good. As well as this, Lisa regularly advocate for mental health awareness in the region, as well as her own personal efforts to support locals who are unable to do some things for themselves.

Rihannon Mathieson - Runner Up
Through her creation of Girl Space Port Macquarie, Ren has built a safe environment for young women to come and feel comfortable in expressing who they are and where they aspire to go in life. Ren is a true inspiration to every young girl that walks through the door. Her fun, interactive workshops not only provide fun education for the girls but also provide an outlet for many women to share what they are passionate about.

Susan Rupert
Susan is described by her staff as compassionate, caring and proactive, treating them like her own family members. Susan leads three divisions of MBC Recruitment and strongly advocates for working with all members of our community, especially for the elderly and for children both through her business and in her personal life. Susan is an advocate for Indigenous Australians and is passionate about closing the gap.
Susan supports and sponsors a number of charities including (but not limited to): Bravehearts, Alzheimers Australia, Foster Childrens Christmas party, Hopeshop, REAP, Luminosity, Hastings Womens Refuge, If We All Had Wings and other local fundraisers / charities.

Tanya Simmons - Winner
Tanya is a selfless lady who is always there to assist the community with whatever is needed. She is one of the first to donate to community groups with product, time , money and any other way that she can assist. She is a great advocate for getting youth in the area working and speaking with those that need advice.
Tanya is not only a wonderful business women and true advocate for Wauchope and the mid North Coast area but also a fantastic mentor to others in the community always will to help other succeed. A true quiet achiever and wonderful community member.

Sandy Mackenzie
Sandy is a strong community minded women who is always willing to support a charity, not-for-profit organisation or a community event .
Sandy was instrumental in supporting the refurbishment of the new Marine Rescue radio base at Town Beach. Sandy proudly supports local organisations such as Marine Rescue, The Koala Hospital, The Saving Place, Landcare and RSL and helps to spread their messages to the wider community.
Sandy leads and empowers others by volunteering her time and being a guest speak for Youth of the Year.

Kayla White
Kayla is a mum of three soon to be four, young children aged 4, 3 and 1, and a step parent. Throughout motherhood, Kayla studied at Sydney University completing her degree in 2016 with a Bachelor in Education, Aboriginal Studies as her major. Kayla is a positive role model who empowers other young mums and Indigenous youth to strive to reach their goals and not to let anything stand in their way. Kayla's roles at the Department of Human Services and now Camden Haven High School see her display her passion to empower youth and advocate the necessity of both Indigenous and non Indigenous education.

Bianca Tuddenham
As a lifeline counsellor, Bianca balances her time between her role and being a mother to 3 school aged children. Bianca has a hard time saying no and will always help someone when they ask, no matter how big or small the task. She can be found babysitting, offering lifts, helping out people at their homes, and going well out of her way to aid someone in need. These small but meaningful tasks make Bianca a supportive powerhouse, whom you cannot help but admire and feel empowered when in her presence.

Alison Neale - Highly Commended
Alison has dedicated the last 16 years of her life to helping Families, our youth and the homeless to have a roof over their heads. She has also volunteered her time supporting the local community to help make the Hastings a better place to live in. This has included various paid and voluntary roles including;

  • 13 Years as a Tenant Advocate
  • 6 Years as Facilitator of the Hastings Macleay Traffic Offenders Program.
  • A committee member and organiser of the Youth Homelessness Matters Day
  • A Committee Member of Tacking Point Surf Club JAC(Nippers) and Committee Member and Assistant Coach of Thunder Hockey Club.
  • Plus many more volunteer and committee roles.

Melinda Renshaw
Melinda is the only private Lactation Consultant in our community, who also mentors student Lactation Consultants. Her role see's her advocate and often saving mother-baby breastfeeding relationships. Melinda connects families at Werin aboriginal medical to services and each other, empowers mums against adversity and provides holistic health care. Her focus is family health and wellness for mothers and babies. Melinda's interpersonal relationships go above and beyond her 9-5 role - she is often working out of hours, giving of her own time to parents when they need the help most.

This year we also introduced a new category; Young Hastings Heroines, with the following nominees

Caitlyn Howard - Winner
Caitlyn aspires to make a difference not just locally and globally.
An active member and now Vice President of the Youth Advisory Council; a Volunteer for Ironman for the last 4 years; and also a volunteer to ZONTA - where she assisted with packaging of health and sanitary items for women who has just given birth; Caitlyn is a compassionate young women and these are just some of the local programs and initiatives she is part of and is passionate about.


Stephanie Clarke
Stephanie is a leader among her peers and contributes to many local community groups and programs.
In the field of Surf Living Saving, Stephanie has pant over 400 hours on patrol; is Captain of her Patrol and a youth mentor and has also been recognised as Junior Surf Life Saver of the year.
Stephanie has a passion for public speaking, and has competed at the State finals for both Rotary Public speaking and Lions Youth of the Year public speaking competitions.
A metro to those younger than her, and to her Peers. Stephanie supports and connects many young women in the community.

Author:Kelly King