Record turnout for International Women's Day at Yamba
A RECORD crowd was at VIEW's International Women's Day celebration at the Yamba Bowling Club on Friday, March 11, marking the achievements of women across the Clarence Valley.
VIEW zone councillor Anne Dinham said 273 women packed the club's auditorium for their major fundraiser for the year, to support The Smith Family in helping disadvantaged children across Australia.
"Women are affirming each other on this celebration of International Women's Day by celebrating what they have done, what they can do, and what they hope to do in the future through this pledge for parity, which is the theme for this year's International Women's Day," she said.
"That's parity on all levels, whether it be domestic, social, economic or political even.
"While we know we've come a long way, but there's still a long way to go, but today is primarily about women having fun and encouraging each other."
Mrs Dinham said the day featured guest speakers on a range of subjects that reflect the range of passions and interests of the women in attendance.
One of the inspirational speakers was Melissa Moss, who spent 15 years in the corporate world almost by accident, until her life was upheaved in a matter of months.
Ms Moss was born and raised in the Clarence Valley, before she moved to Brisbane and found work in administration.
"I started off in the corporate world in Brisbane and it fell into place, with no immediate desire to return," she said.
That all changed when her mother fell chronically ill and died in 2009.
"My mother and I were very close and each and every day I miss her immensely," Ms Moss said.
"In the process of caring for her, and coping with the loss of a loved one, I really had the time to reflect on where I was in life, where I was going and what I wanted to do with my life and my career.
"The corporate career really wasn't doing it for me any more, and I felt like there was something out there that was calling my name from the rooftops."
Ms Moss decided to leave the corporate world behind, and follow her dream of working with people on their health and well-being.
"I've always had a passion for health and nutrition, right from Year 10 when I did work experience with natural health in Maclean, but I just followed a different path for a while.
"It was just life that got in the way, and at that age as a teenager I wasn't really focused on school or stuff like that."
Ms Moss make the decision to follow her passion, and studied a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine), and now runs her own business, Natural Vitality.
Ms Moss said it an honour to be invited to share her inspiring story at the VIEW International Women's Day fundraising event.
"I hope I can be an inspiration to others who might feel like they're stuck in the wrong career or path in life, to try and make the change they have dreamt of and show that it's possible," she said.
Other guest speakers at the event included Clarence River Women's Refuge manager Nav Navratil, Mrs Australia Joelle Webber and Louise Carter, who spoke of the challenges that face women refugees as they resettle in Australia.
VIEW is a women's organisation that is the fundraising arm of The Smith Family, who help support the Learning For Life program, which helps disadvantaged children have an equal opportunity for education.
The International Women's Day celebration fundraising event was a co-operation between the four VIEW clubs of the Clarence Valley.
Mrs Dinham said more than half of those in attendance at the event were not members of VIEW.
"It's really exciting to have such a great crowd come out and support this worthy cause," she said.