Women lead by example

WOMEN'S DAY: Port Lincoln Zonta president Louise Mrdjen and Women of Achievement Award winners Avriel Barnett and Sandra Lukin with Kelly Vincent MLC.
WOMEN'S DAY: Port Lincoln Zonta president Louise Mrdjen and Women of Achievement Award winners Avriel Barnett and Sandra Lukin with Kelly Vincent MLC.

KELLY Vincent MLC sees herself as an “accidental politician” whose own campaign for a new wheelchair led her to becoming the youngest person elected to an Australian parliament.

Through that campaign for a new wheelchair, to replace the one she had used since she was a child, she became an advocate for others and has played a big role in championing the needs of people with disabilities at a state level as the leader of the Dignity Party.

Speaking at the Port Lincoln Zonta Club’s International Women’s Day Breakfast at the Port Lincoln Hotel on Saturday, Ms Vincent said there were many different types of leaders and one of her strongest traits as a leader was empathy.

“At times even great leaders need to become followers, they need to know when to step back into the shadows and let others shine.

“I am contacted every day by people who are in crisis.”

Ms Vincent said sharing some of these peoples’ stories had often become a catalyst for change.

Women of achievement awards

Local women Avriel Barnett and Sandra Lukin were this year’s Women of Achievement Award winners.

Mrs Barnett is a full-time carer for her husband Glenn, who is a quadraplegic, and has supported him in a range of areas as well as being an active volunteer with the Uniting Church, a volunteer palliative care worker, a Carers Association of South Australia board member and a member of the Port Lincoln Singers among other roles.

“All of this wouldn’t have happened without a great team of supporters,” Mrs Barnett said.

“I have some amazing friends and support carers who have enabled me to keep going.”

Mrs Lukin was recognised for her contribution to Variety SA through her 11 years fundraising for the Variety Bash to support sick, disabled and disadvantaged children.

The Runaway Brides Variety Bash team has raised $393,000 in the past 10 years and Mrs Lukin acknowledged the many other Brides who had contributed over those years as well as the local businesses who provide support year after year.

“To see the smiles on the (families’) faces keeps us working hard,” Mrs Lukin said.