Lorna Mead has been a member since 1973, when she became a charter member of SI Townsville. Lorna is a well known business woman inTownsville, is a professional florist and a gemmologist. Lorna has been involved at all levels of the organisation, holding office at Club, Region and Federation and Soroptimist International levels. Federation Extension Convenor twice 1990-1994 and 2000-2004, Federation President 2006-2008, and held office at Soroptimist International from 1995-1999. Lorna did extensive extension work in Asia and the Pacific Isles, as well an working with the All China Women's Federation.
The world we live in has changed significantly in recent years, and Soroptimist International has undergone major adaptions, and continues to undergo changes to ensure that we remain a significant organisation with relevant goals for today’s women.
Having joined in 1973, my earliest perceptions of SI were that the focus then was on fundraising to support disadvantaged communities. Today service has taken a stronger stance, so that today’s focus is serving women and children through project work. As a service organisation for women in business and professions, S.I. stands tall in the wider world, notably for our significant project work. Our complete neutrality in creeds and politics, whilst embracing the diversity of nationalities and cultures, is an important factor.
When SWP separated from SIGBI in 1978, our new Federation had the mandatory 3 countries with a minimum of 100 clubs. Since then the number of SWP countries has grown to 13, and SWP now embraces Mongolia in far northern Asia, Thailand in the west, Samoa in the East and New Zealand in the south. Dramatic changes started when SI took root in Malaysia (1991) and Indonesia (1992), Solomon islands in 1991, and Mongolia in 2000. During the 1990s, two former SIBI countries (Thailand and Special Administrative Region of China (SAR) Hong Kong), transferred to us providing a significant Asian base. The diversity and richness of our membership is a joy for us.
An expansion move heralded future changes of our federation boundaries. At the start of the 1990s, SWP applied to SI for allocation of a range of countries in Asia and the Pacific rim. Formerly our country focus was on a handful of southwest Pacific countries, but this change of direction created opportunities for a more diverse pool of future potential members. The richness and diversity of culture, dress and languages in our new countries has brought a truly global image. The recent addition of Cambodia as a country member, reminds us there remains room for further expansion in South East Asian countries, many of which have experienced internal political and economic difficulties. Our Federation embraces some of the poorest economies in today’s world, and SISWP has work to do to ensure that women in those countries have opportunity through our commitment for improved health and education.
The Internet started to make its presence felt from the 1990s, heralding a fast-changing world of communication, and SWP has proven that we are capable of adapting to this evolution through diverse media avenues.
Must have been a pink sort of day in 2006 at Gateshead, when the Presidents of the 5 Federations got together, then SI President Lyn Dunning in the centre in pink, with Lorna next to her on her left
Lorna on the left at the Women's Centre Solomon Islands.