By Tania Phillips
Local Sandy Venn-Brown has become the first rural and regional Australian woman elected to the governing board of Zonta International.
Zonta International is a leading global volunteer organization aiming to build a better world for women and girls with a board of 12 elected to represent almost 27,000 members from 62 countries.
Sandy, who joined Zonta more than 20 years ago and is currently a member of the Stanthorpe group, said she was still pinching herself following her election at the 65th Convention in Hamburg, Germany in late June.
“I am honoured and privileged to serve the members of Zonta International worldwide in this prestigious role,” Sandy said.
She said while she was not the first Australian on the board it was still “pretty cool” and it was particularly gratifying to be able to represent the regional and rural areas.
Up until now, all of the Australian members of the International board have come from capital cities. But with more and more meetings now online and in-person committee meetings down to four in a board’s two-year term, this is changing.
Previously there would be more travel, and for someone like Sandy living in regional Queensland a trip to the US for a meeting could take 40 hours and cost a lot of money.
However now she could “sit in her PJs at 5 am in the morning” and be part of a board meeting.
Since 1923, Zonta International has provided more than US$46.3 million to empower women and girls and expand their access to education, health care, economic opportunities and safe living conditions.
Sandy said she was looking forward to being part of the club’s international projects for 2022-24 in Peru; PNG and Timor-Leste; and Madagascar. As well as their signature project – a Global Program to end Child Marriage focusing on 12 countries with a high prevalence of child marriage.
In her professional career, Sandy was a senior staffer of the Queensland government until her retirement in 2012.
She holds tertiary qualifications in journalism; sociology; and behavioural science and was conferred a Masters of Public Administration.
A passionate feminist, Sandy is also a representative of the Equality Rights Alliance and the Women’s Electoral Lobby and is involved in many community groups including Board Director of the Stanthorpe Festival Association Inc, President of the Granite Belt Choir, and committee member of the Stanthorpe Film Society.