2021 Hawkesbury Local Women of the Year

By Dennise Williams

On Wednesday the 10th of March I attended the NSW Women of the Year Awards at Grand Ballroom, International Convention Centre Sydney, hosted by Minister of Women Bronwyn Taylor.

It was a magnificent showcase of women across NSW for their outstanding contribution to industry, community and society. Among these awards, local women – one from each electorate- were recognised for their community dedication. I was nominated by Robyn Preston MP, Hawkesbury and supporting this nomination was the Principal of Glenorie Public School, Mrs Lynette Pearce.

In part, the reason I was nominated was for my work within the P&C. I held the position of President for 5 years and then P&C Vice President for a year at Glenorie Public School. When commencing my role, many management issues needed resolving, and with my background in accountancy, I was able to get this sorted quickly. With the assistance of the other executive members of the P&C, we put in place solid procedures and policies to ensure that the P&C ran like clockwork in the future.

I also worked hard to take away the stigma of coming along to P&C meetings and having a role to be involved.

Once we got each area of the P&C running smoothly (canteen, OOSH, Uniform Shop, and Fundraising), the fun began with small ideas turning into massive events.

During my time, the P&C fundraised around $200,000. The business operations of the P&C also raised significant profits that were able to be reinvested into the school.

The biggest project accomplished was relocating the OOSH operation to its new location on the school grounds to secure the service’s longevity to all the families that use the service. With a grant from MP Dominic Perrottet and P&C Funds, we transformed the old Fire Station into a fantastic building that now sees over 100 families visit the service each week.

The P&C saw the importance of this service for school families; to be able to safely leave their children before and after school (and vacation care in the school holidays) while they are working.

When I took an interest at the P&C, my number one intention was to enable my children Lara and Blake have a better primary school life. The more I did, the more I could see it helped all the children and staff at Glenorie Public School and the students that would come in years to come.

On a personal note, taking this role helped me to heal in my life journey. I built on my selfconfidence, and the respect I gained within the community has been overwhelming. I have made so many beautiful life long friends along the way, and I have shown my children that we can receive so much joy and happiness in our lives by giving a bit.

MY OTHER COMMUNITY PROJECTS.
I started a St Vincent De Paul Community social justice group during high school, which helped disadvantaged students in The Hawkesbury region.

I assisted Galston Playgroup to establish and operate. We successfully fundraised and received a grant from Bendigo Bank to refurbish the playgroup – cubby house and sandpit at the community Centre. We also refreshed the room, ensuring we had great resources for the children.

Heidi Edwards Family Fund – in the early days, I was part of the Charity’s establishment. I used my accounting knowledge to obtain Charity Status and Deductible Gift Recipient status with the Australian Taxation Office. I was also very involved in the Charity Night, held at Hornsby RSL. I later became Chairperson and currently hold the position of Treasurer on this Charity.

Over the years, I have also helped a number of women who find themselves in difficult financial situations and similar due to relationship breakdowns; I mentor them in working on their relationships or having the courage to leave if required.

Receiving this nomination was thrilling, and to then win was an overwhelming privilege.

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