Doris Cowan is the 2023 Coffs Coast International Woman Of The Year

Doris Cowan, the Coffs Coast IWD Woman of the Year.

DORIS Cowan was announced as the 2023 International Women’s Day Coffs Coast Woman of the Year on Wednesday, March 8 at the International Women’s Day Breakfast, held at Coffs Harbour Racing Club and Function Centre.

A sell-out crowd of 370, which included senior students from local high schools, heard about Ms Cowan’s commitment as a community advocate to help the less fortunate members of our community.

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After her father passed away, Ms Cowan’s grief manifested as anorexia, fuelled by the need to constantly exercise.

Over an eight-year period and many admissions to mental health units, with family and friends abandoning her, she worked on a continuing road to recovery.

These events led her to an understanding of the needs of people in the community, such as those experiencing homelessness, have lost their way in life or just need someone to talk to.

Ms Cowan is a leader in the community, making change happen in a large range of projects.

The Christmas Lunch for the homeless each year, which attracts approximately 110 guests and 45 volunteers assisting, is one example.

Ms Cowan received a plaque, certificate and cash prize of $1500, jointly sponsored by The Physio Movement and the City of Coffs Harbour, towards continuing her work.

The runner-up award, sponsored by One Agency Coffs Harbour, was won by Yvonne Richards.

Ms Richards is the founder of ‘Go Girls’ Coffs Harbour, created for women over 55 some fifteen years ago.

She saw a gap in the social network of newcomers to the Coffs Coast and Go Girls hosts activities such as monthly dinners, picnics, group travel, exercise classes, theatre, shows and special events such as a Melbourne Cup lunch to bring women together and enjoy each other’s company.

Other awards were the Southern Cross University International Women’s Day Honours Graduate and Doctoral Candidate, which went to Shayleigh Walker-Jones, and the Zonta International Young Women in Public Affairs award which went to Mikal Tesfamariam.

The keynote speaker this year was Jas Rawlinson, who delivered a story of strength and resilience and spoke openly about the issues facing women and girls worldwide, and why each woman plays a role in creating a better future.

International Women’s Day in Coffs Harbour is celebrated each year as a joint initiative of Zonta Coffs Harbour Inc., Business Professional Women Coffs Coast and Coffs Coast Business Women’s Network.

Further information and photos can be found on the IWD Coffs Coast Facebook page.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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