Soroptimist International South West Pacific (SISWP) Federation President Theresa Lyford 2016-2018

Soroptimist International South West Pacific (SISWP) Federation President Theresa Lyford has challenged members to ‘Innovate, Inform, Inspire to Shape our Future’ at the start of her term as president for the next biennium 2016-2018.

Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls. Soroptimist International South West Pacific has clubs in 13 countries: Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Samoa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.

“Soroptimist International is a vibrant organisation that is seen as a global movement to raise the awareness of the issues that affect women and girls around the world,” Mrs Lyford said.

In her professional life, Mrs Lyford is RMIT University Business and Commerce Program Manager – RMIT is a strong advocate of education in Asian countries such as China, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Malaysia which is in alignment with the region that SWP works in.

“The work by SISWP members in the form of projects, joint initiatives, advocacy, raising awareness that is done in the 132 countries around the world is phenomenal and for those women and girls who have benefitted from what is achieved they have certainly been able to make a change to their lives, by being empowered, educated and informed,” she said.

“During my presidency I hope to raise awareness that as an organisation we need to be able to move with the changing global conditions. That we are agile, effective, inspiring and innovative in the projects that we take on, and the advocacy work that we undertake across the SWP Region of Countries.

"My greatest wish for the Biennium is that we will be able to see a marked improvement in how our clubs and regions work together to achieve the outcomes of being Innovative, Informative and Inspiring and I would like to see this reflected in successful projects, increased program of focus reports, pertinent and timely advocacy reporting that shows we are a part of the local and international agenda in our region.”

The logo for Shaping our Future - Innovate Inform Inspire - uses graphical shapes to represent the human form, with the curved lines taking on a strong female feel and the flow within the line work representing the idea of ‘transformation’.

Mrs Lyford urged SISWP members to become 'disruptors' and to challenge the traditional way of doing things.

“We need to be fearless in this world and take that 'permission slip' and use it to move forward by ‘Dreaming Big’ and not be held back by structures and routines of the past,” she said.

“Soroptimists continually make changes - we constantly search for new and exciting ways to do what we have done previously but also to introduce new ways to be more effective as Soroptimists.

“I joined Soroptimist International because I believed I could make a difference for the women and girls in our communities who were unable to.

“As Soroptimists over the next Biennium we need – Innovate, Inform and Inspire.”