Coffs Coast women reminded it’s ‘never too late’

Lisa Nichols, Anne Beasley, Sabeeha Abdo and BPW Coffs Coast President Deb Petlueng.

THE national Silver Sirens network collaborated with Business and Professional Women (BPW) Coffs Coast to host a sold-out event in Toormina aimed at empowering women to redefine their age.

Silver Sirens is a movement of ‘50-plus’ women who are reinventing how they see themselves and live their lives.

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The local Redefining Ageing Event was themed ‘Never Too Late’.

Several guest speakers were selected to highlight how they proved it was not too late for them to pursue their dreams.

For example, Anne Beasley was not able to study further after school as family economics prevented her from doing so.

However, at the age of 60, she was awarded a double degree in arts and law.

Anne went on to complete a Masters at 71 years of age, going on to set up her own practice specialising in family law.

Despite experiencing personal tragedy, Lisa Nichols from Woolgoolga rose above it and went on to inspire others to improve their mental health.

She founded and published a local magazine for her town, and remains passionate about strengthening community bonds and making a difference for others.

Sabeeha Abdo told her story in Auslan through interpreter Terri Richardson.

Sabeeha moved from Iraq to Coffs Harbour, learnt English and Auslan at the same time and now runs a cooking business.

Gumbaynggirr Elder Aunty Jenny Skinner defied the odds of little schooling to become a nurse, while Julie Marshall, who was urged by her grandmother to “get an education”, is now a solicitor working in family courts and a former police detective.

“I realised the justice system is just ‘a system’ and it needed to be adjusted for us,” Julie told NOTA.

Nurse Robyn Dever is an LGBTIQA+ activist and set up the Rainbow Coffs Harbour support and social group, creating a safe space especially for queer youth and transgender members of the community.

Robyn, who “came out” later in life, has many plans in the pipeline, including a Pride March.

Lastly, the inspired crowd had a wonderful time with lively Afro-dance teacher MaiToumbi, who took the crowd through a wild session of dance.

MaiToumbi is still pinching herself as to where she is today after suffering a broken back.

“I found my power and now share it,” she said.

“I am proud to be who I am because I went through adversity.

“Trust your intuition… it’s never too late.”

Profits from the event were donated to Warrina Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services.


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