Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Cracking The Code With Bowen Zonta

The women of Bowen were celebrated at the local Zonta Club’s International Women’s Day celebrations last week, with over 100 guests attending a lively and entertaining evening held at the Grand View Hotel.

The President of the Zonta Club of Bowen, Hortense Ingram, said it was a fantastic evening that concentrated on women in business, specifically in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.

“It was a really inspirational evening, and it was great to see a lot of young people attending,” she said.

Abbott Point sponsored 20 tickets which were given to school students and girl guides.

Guest speakers on the evening were three young achievers who shared their stories and Mayor Julie Hall sent a personal video message.

The keynote speaker was Keziah Furnell, a 20-year-old university student, Ninja Warrior and owner and founder of STEM Sisterhood.

Keziah is in her third year of a double degree studying Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours)/ Bachelor of Information Technology at James Cook University.

In 2022 she was the recipient of the Phillip Leong Bursary which enabled her to start her business, STEM Sisterhood, which aims to help reduce gender inequality in STEM fields through the provision of female-centric workshops.

She is also the second-ranked female Ninja Warrior in Australia and will head to compete in the World Titles in America in July.

Doctor Arania Sivasubramaniam also spoke at the event.

She is a local girl who recently returned to Bowen and now works as a GP at the Queens Beach Medical Centre and the Bowen Hospital.

She has a strong passion for women’s health, with a hope to provide these services to rural communities and developing nations.

Bowen local Shannon Willcox spoke on the evening as well.

Shannon was awarded a Zonta Club of Bowen bursary and went on to complete a degree in Business, majoring in Marketing in Townsville.

She now works as a Property Sales Agent who specialises in supporting families on their property journey.

During the festivities, eight local women were recognised for their contribution to the community.

These included Angela Stevens who is a District Girl Guide leader and Newsagent Manager, Gayle O’Keefe who is a Teacher’s Aide at Queens Beach School,  Angela Arbury who is the first female tugboat deckhand in Cairns and Bowen, Horticulturalist Sue Heisswolf and Kate Mee from Abbot Point.

Project Manager of Hillery Group Melissa Simpson was also recognised, along with Stephanie Cora from Bowen Community Centre and Verni Sivasubramaniam who works as an Agricultural Scientist for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

International Women’s Day speakers: Shannon Wilcox, Keziah Furrnell and Arania Sivasubramaniam

Left to right: Jacinta Bezgovsek (Zonta Vice President), Stephanie Cora, Kate Mee, Angela Arbury, Melissa Simpson, Sue Heisswolf, Verni Sivasubramaniam, Angela Stevens, Hortense Ingram (Zonta President), Gayle O’Keefe. Photos supplied

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