Introducing the Guest Speakers for SISWP 23rd Conference of Clubs.
14 May 2022 - Day 1: First Session 1:30pm-3:30pm
SISWP President 2020-2022
Suman currently owns a family business engaged in General Medical Services. She studied and graduated with Civil Law and Special Education-Disabilities and was a Bank Officer Executive for 30 years. During her career in banking, she was able to explore many aspects of business especially establishing rapport, marketing and conversion and risk management.
Suman has been a member of SI Sigatoka Club since 1995 and has held positions including Club Secretary, Treasurer and President. At a Region level, she has held positions of President and Treasurer, Constitution, Public Relations, Extension and Training Convenor. She was associated with the SI Region of Fiji for 15 years continuously, ensuring smooth operation and continuity of the organisation.
Suman has held the position of Program of Service/UN Liaison at a Federation level and has been National Representative of Fiji twice.
Nazhat Shameem Khan
Nazhat Shameem Khan was born in Suva Fiji, one of four sisters. She attended the Veiuto Primary School and the Suva Grammar School. She then studied law at Sussex University, Cambridge University and the Inns of Court School of Law in the United Kingdom, returning to Fiji as a barrister in law in 1983. In 1984, she joined the Office of the DPP in Fiji, and practised as a prosecutor for sixteen years, becoming the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1994. She was appointed a High Court judge in 1999, the first woman in Fiji to be so appointed. In 2009, she opened her own private law firm and conducted training of lawyers, judges, and the corporate world on litigation skills, human rights law, legal and judicial ethics, and corporate governance.
In 2014, when Fiji opened a Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, she was appointed Permanent Representative and Ambassador. She was elected President of the Human Rights Council in 2021, and in December 2022, she was elected Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a position she has held since March 2022. She is married to Aslam Khan, with two children and a grandchild.
President Elect Soroptimist International South West Pacific
Christine resides in Brisbane Australia and has been a member of Soroptimist International Beenleigh club for 29 years. Christine has had a long career in the IT industry, specialising in Microsoft products, business analyst, project manager and knowledge management.
Christine’s extensive IT career has assisted her in her long Soroptimist career, using her skills and knowledge to bring about change at various levels of Soroptimist work.
Being a Soroptimist has brought friendships and positive vibes to her life as she helps fellow Soroptimists deliver life changing projects.
Christine will speak in her capacity of Centennial Chair and President Elect.
Federation Project Liason
Anusha is a Corporate Strategist and Leadership Coach specialising in investor relations and international business mentoring. She has more than 30 years experience in coaching and mentoring Boards of Directors of more than 1,000 public listed companies.
Anusha concentrates on advising corporations and government-linked companies on corporate social responsibility, sustainable development practices and global issues management. Since 2011 she has been extensively involved in conflict resolution work including international relations and inter-Governmental policy negotiations at United Nations centres around the world in conjunction with UN Summits and Negotiation Meetings, working discreetly and confidentially with government agencies who seek her advice.
Anusha is an appointed panellist and spokesperson at forums organized by Asia-Europe Foundation and Japan Centre for International Exchange, ASEAN Consultative Council on Trade & Business, APEC Forum, ASEAN Business Summit and ASEAN-US Trade Dialogues and is a Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada accredited International Mediator and Negotiator /Board Coach and Trainer.
Anusha has previously served as Director on the world Board of Soroptimist International and also as Soroptimist International Assistant Programme Director in charge of global advocacy and Soroptimist representatives at all UN centres worldwide. At club level she has held many positions including President and Publicity Convenor within SI Petaling Jaya Club.
14 May 2022 Day 1: Second Session 3:45pm-5:30pm
Strategic Panel "Leadership Journey to SI"
SWP President Elect 2022-2024
Siew Yong Gananlingam
Soroptimist International President Elect
Siew Yong on graduation with a degree in Economics and Administration from the University of Malaya , got her first job in EDB Singapore. However despite getting a promotion close to her 6 months stint, she left to join Malayan Tobacco Company, which was part of British American Tobacco Group , as it’s first lady executive in the company . After 7 years as PR manager , she joined Malaysia Airlines as the PR Manager and company Spokeswoman and head of the department overseeing media relations, company publications, customer services , MAS archives and Quality Standards. After 19 years of service , she took early retirement as it’s Vice President Group Communications.
On retirement in 1997 she became super active in SI moving from Club President to Region of Malaysia President , National Rep and SISWP President from 2012 to 2014. She was also the International Convention Chair of the SI Convention Kl 2019.
And as we all know she was recently elected as President of SI for the biennium 2024 to 2025.
Besides SI , Siew Yong is actively involved in many other NGOs holding Trustee / Board positions in many charitable CSOs eg in Nanyang Press Foundation, Sejahtera Foundation for the alleviation of poverty of marginalised communities through sustainable economic empowerment and the Asian Women’s Leadership Project to start a University of the same name . She is a Trustee in the Women’s Institute of Management which recently also appointed her as Chairperson of “Women’s Leadership Chair “. In this role , she recently launched the “Women Leaders Award” to recognise exemplary and inspirational Women leaders of Malaysia . In fact , the dinner to present the Award , to be graced by the Deputy Queen , will be held in two days time.
She was also previously a member of the Ministry of Health Promotion Board for a 6 year term, specifically to focus on Women’s health issues.
Soroptimist International President 2022-2024
Maureen is President of Soroptimist International and commenced her 2 year biennium on 1 January 2022. Recognising, the importance of education, empowerment and enablement, Maureen selected “Education” as the theme for the SI President’s Appeal during her biennium.
She believes that education and training is essential to achieving gender equality – empowering women and girls to be change leaders, and contribute to and benefit from an inclusive and sustainable future. Education, a basic human rights for all people, is the one area that is required by all of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals which are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all people.
Maureen began her journey as a Soroptimist in 1989 and is a member of SI Portadown, Northern Ireland. Serving at Club, Regional, Federation, and SI levels, (roles too numerous to mention!), Maureen held the role of President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) from 2011 to 2012.
During her professional life, she worked for 38 years within the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services, in the Procurement and Supply, Contracting, Facilities Management, and Primary Care sectors, before setting up her own Consultancy Company.
She has a Master’s Degree in Public Procurement and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Supply Management, and Health Services Management, in addition to being a Trustee and Board member of two organisations: Training for Women Network (TWN), and United Nations Association, Northern Ireland Region.
She has also played an important liaison role with the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland, working on increasing awareness of, and helping to reduce the incidence of Modern Day Slavery.
Soroptimist International Advocacy Director, Chair of SI Global Impact Committee SI (Soroptimist International) Limited
Leigh started her Soroptimist life in 1980 as a charter member of SI South Pine, in the then Region of SI Queensland. Her first club position held, was Region Delegate with the first Regional Council meeting being held in Townsville 2 months later & 2 hours flight north. This was quite impressive to fly 2 hours for a weekend meeting in that era. It was the start of being exposed to the wider world of Soroptimist. In those days all members were automatically ‘mentored’ and strongly encouraged to attend every meeting and Conference at all levels, of Soroptimism. Soroptimist became a ‘way of life’ for Leigh.
After holding the majority of club positions and then being involved with Extension & other Leadership positions at Region, Leigh was transferred to Melbourne where she joined SI Melbourne & became Assistant Extension for SI Victoria. With the help of Lyn Edgar another Soroptimist, they started the first Breakfast club in SISWP - SI Business on Collins. This was a necessity to stay as a Soroptimist, as Breakfast was the only free time with busy schedules. Eight years later, in 1993, she returned to SI South Queensland and transferred to SI Brisbane. The experience of being a Soroptimist in different States broadens one’s network and experiences of projects and the various operational modes within SISWP.
Leigh was SISWP Extension Convenor 1996 – 2000, then the second SI Australia National Representative in 2000 as the new Federation structure and Constitution came into being in 1996 to take effect in 1998. She was SISWP President 2008 -2010 during the Global Financial Crisis and was a member of the SI Board from 2006-2017 holding various positions. Leigh's career is established within the Diamond, Gems and Custom Designed Jewellery Industry,
15 May 2022 - Day 2: First Session 1:00pm-3:30pm
Strategic Panel "Resilience in a Changing World, Focus on the Pacific Island Regions"
Dr Donnell Davis
SWP Programme Director 2022-2024
Having come from far north Queensland, lived in Papua New Guinea before independence, interacted with women from various Pacific Islands during my education and work, having managed Zena Daysh scholarships for Pacific women, and been involved with continuing professional development for professional women through the Commonwealth Women Forum (12 Pacific and 8 Asian countries), I have some appreciation for the challenges and opportunities.
During the past 20 years, greenhouse accounting and climate impacts have worsened for our Ecozone and region, exacerbating issues with all facets of lives and livelihoods. However, in 2018 the Blue Economy brought about a change in perception and value for our Oceans and Island Lives. Furthermore, the union of Big Ocean Countries (24 Pacific Islands) sought a way to strengthen regional peace, invigorate climate funding for the management of precious ocean resources, and expand cultural and ecotourism in the region. In 2022, Island Innovation Summit identified and promoted ways for Blue Pacific systems for economic self-sufficiency with a focus on women’s economic independence.
With Green Climate Funding, the best returns on investments are carbon suckers like mangroves, seagrass, corals, whales, and traditional systems for natural infrastructure protecting human health and wellbeing. So both women with basic skills together with professional women contribute in many ways to the strengthening of a positive outlook.
Strategic Panel " Younger Soroptimists - Hear our Voices"
Yvonne Simpson - Moderator
SWP Membership Convenor 2020 - 2022 & 2022 - 2024
Yvonne Simpson has been an active Soroptimist since 1996 and held leadership positions at the club, region, national, federation and international levels. In 2015 she was awarded the Queens Service Medal for services to women. From 2015 - 2017 Yvonne was the International President for Soroptimist International, leading a board that brought in governance restructure that streamlined the board and made it fit for purpose. Her SI President’s Appeal, Educate To Lead Nepal, has benefitted over 7000 Nepalese women and girls, through education, skills development, trauma counselling, and leadership training to recover from the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015. Many of the projects are sustainable and the benefits continue past the appeal dates.
Yvonne is currently the Federation Membership Convenor (2020 - 2024) and leads a team that has brought in new categories of club membership, and new resources and encouraged a 30% increase of clubs utilising the Muriel Barber Fund to support their own recruitment, retention, extension and training initiatives. The total membership numbers for SISWP have increased as a result. The focus is also on increasing numbers of younger Soroptimists, and Yvonne expects there to be interest in what younger members have to say to ensure the longevity of our organisation.
Yvonne’s employment has always been in education. Her current position is the Development West Coast Pathways Programme Co-ordinator mentoring Pathways Advisors in school and community to support senior high school students and school leavers on the West Coast of the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand in further education, employment or training. Yvonne is also secretary for Heritage Hokitika Inc with a particular interest in oral history.
President Elect, SI Petaling Jaya
Siti Aishah is the Founder of the SPOT Community Project by SIPJ. She spearheads a team of volunteers providing rights-based comprehensive sexuality education that has impacted the lives of more than 14,000 children since 2015. She is an Obama Foundation Asia and the Pacific Leader, an Acumen Academy 2021 Fellow and she is passionate about community organising and arts. Siti Aishah represented Malaysia at UNESCO's Regional Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and the launch of the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE) in Bangkok in 2018.
President, SI Rangatahi Wellington
Maddy Chamberlain, aged 24, is the Charter President of SI Rangatahi Wellington - the first Young Soroptimist club in the Federation. "Rangatahi" in Māori means "young people". Maddy was a member of SI Wellington, the godmother club to SI Rangatahi Wellington, for 2 years. She valued her membership and could see the potential to attract more young women by using a different structure. Maddy, supported by National President Kristeen, gathered 15 young women aged 18 to 27 together and chartered the new club on the 20th of November 2021. The club operates in a flexible way - often meeting online to conduct business. Their charter was conducted online (Link to recording of the charter) to enable all members to attend (the timing was when some university student members returned home from study and the Covid19 pandemic limited the attendance of others).
She joined the Soroptimist movement as a High School student member of SI Gore in 2015 during the federation trial of this category. This sparked her interest in Soroptimist International.
Maddy studied a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Food & Resource Economics and Marketing at Lincoln University and a Masters of Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Victoria University. She is a public servant in New Zealand and is passionate about community and sustainability.
Sarah Shotunde nee Cowley
SI Moreton North Inc.
Focused strongly on positive social impact, Sarah is a Communications and Project Management Specialist with 15 years experience in Global Outreach, Education & Sustainable Community Development. Sarah has worked in the commercial, government and not for profit sectors and her international portfolio has seen her lead large-scale teams & projects in Australia, Asia, North and Central America. This includes leading COVID-19 Emergency Response at ISI GROUP in Cambodia in 2020 as well as emergency response for the recent volcanic eruption in Tonga and the current Ukraine crisis. Sarah has been a guest speaker at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and was awarded Young Woman of the Year by Soroptimist International in 2018 for her work in global peace-building. Sarah is a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, an award which allowed her to undertake her MA International Law & Human Rights at the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. Currently, Sarah works at UNICEF Australia & also sits on the Board of the Sherry-Hogan Foundation, whose work empowers communities throughout Australia.
Kristika Vandhana Samy
Kristika Vandhana Samy is a second-year medical laboratory science student at Fiji National University’s College of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences. She was born and bred in Lautoka, Fiji and is a young Soroptimist member of SI Lautoka club. Being a young motivated, passionate, and innovative individual her passion for helping others is the key factor in her involvement with SI Lautoka as a student member for the last two years.
Kristika believes that young people are at the forefront of change and innovation, and many have the spirit to make things happen. They just need to be given the space to excel and express their ideas and her involvement with SI provided her with the much-needed space. She was exposed to the work carried out by the organization when she was in year 8 and since then she had the desire to be a part of it one day. In 2020, her desire was fulfilled when she graduated from high school and joined SI Lautoka Club.
She feels that her experiences as a Soroptimist member has enabled her to interact with a diverse group of people, which has also increased her ability to relate to others. The opportunity to participate in various activities and projects organized by the club is enriching as projects focus on different subjects of the society and which reach out to individuals, groups, or families who really need assistance.
Kristika is certain that becoming part of SI is one of the wisest decisions she has made as it has allowed her to invest her ideas and become involved in activities that are of benefit to the community. Personally, her focus is on women's health and reproductive care and she is of the view that as a female-based organization, it is essential to educate young women about the consequences of how the decisions made today will impact on their future.
Kirsty Mawer - Moderator
Winning the much coveted Citizenship Award in Primary School, Kirsty didn’t understand at the time, but this was the beginning of her enthusiasm for contributing to her local community.
Throughout high school, university and well into motherhood, Kirsty opted in on community projects or volunteered on committees, strongly believing in the concept of giving back after living such a privileged and fortunate life so far. She also saw it as setting a positive example for her son to give back where you can.
From coordinating fundraising formal dinners or her debutante balls to coaching her son’s soccer team and managing her own or helping on the P&C, Kirsty has always enjoyed the teamwork and great outcomes from volunteer work.
In 2018 Kirsty met with the ladies of Soroptimist International of Mackay Inc when they came into her work promoting their 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Striking up a conversation about their social media account, she quickly became keen to be involved with this diverse group of ladies, seeing massive potential for internal fulfilment.
At the next committee meeting (and AGM), Kirsty volunteered to undertake the role as President and Publicity Officer, jumping in boots and all. The next 3 years saw her become heavily involved with SI Mackay Inc and introduce a number of processes and activities as well as participate in a number of their legacy projects.
In preparation for a relocation, Kirsty has recently stepped down as President for SI Mackay Inc, but the idea of helping others in some way, shape or form is so deeply entrenched in Kirsty’s way of life that she can’t imagine not being involved with some type of community group.
Where will the next chapter take her? We shall have to wait and see
15 May 2022 Day 2: Second Session 3:45pm-5:30pm
"Leading a Non-Profit Organisation in a Post-Pandemic World: Inspiring Success Stories"
Federation President of SI Americas 2021/2022
Kazuko Morita hails from Kyoto Japan. She is a highly respected pharmacist and an accomplished entrepreneur. Kazuko will share success stories of how SI Japan clubs succeed in large scale fundraising while promoting social businesses and young women entrepreneurs. This has a great ripple effect of growing and sustaining clubs."
Dr Rema Ramchandran
Dr Rema Ramchandran from Bangalore, India is a Director with the IWFCI India (International Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry), headquartered in Australia and has a presence in more than 12 countries.
She is also a Director at SIGBI Trading Ltd. London and the Program Action Chairperson for India at NASI. She is currently the Head of Service and Client Portfolio at Indiassetz.
She was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the Mother Teresa Virtual University for Peace and Education. MTVU is accredited by World Sign JB R Harvard, USA and Affiliated with Cambridge School of Distance Education, UK. Rema has been featured in interviews in Magazines such as Femina and Savvy. Also been interviewed on Star TV and Radio.
SIGBI Trading Limited is the Social Business corporate entity of SIGBI that offers Clubs/Regions/NAs/ Networks the opportunity to sell their products via the SIGBI Online Shop. Rema will discuss how SI Clubs and National Associations are empowering women-owned cottage industries and micro-businesses as well as attracting young entrepreneurs to Soroptimist clubs."
Harriet Lim is the President of SI Penang, Malaysia (2021-2022). She has her own label of children’s clothings and was fully involved in the setting up, manufacturing, distribution and retail of these products to several countries.
She is the author of the newly published “Tenth Little Sister”, a book highlighting the life and plight of her mother as a woman in the patriarchal society of her times.
She also illustrated and created an adult colouring book “Penang Nyonya” (Areca Books), which depicts the unique and beautiful culture and daily items of her grandmother.