An Acknowledgement of Awesome Women on #IWD2020

The theme for International Womens Day 2020 is #EachforEqual – an equal world is an enabled world.

Each of us are responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.  We have the choice to actively challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.  Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.

The Gold Coast Innovation Hub recognises diversity as an essential ingredient in creating a dynamic, diplomatic and functional business support system.  We have a strong and gender balanced leadership team and are passionate about recognising the role that women have played in the key industries that drive the Gold Coast economy.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, #EachforEqual, we reached out to our members, partners and sponsors to share their stories of women that have influenced or supported them on their business journey or amazing women that they have supported or mentored.  Here are a few of their stories and recognitions.  If you would like to acknowledge an amazing woman that has impacted your life, feel free to comment below and we will add to this article throughout the day.

Sharon Hunneybell, Gold Coast Innovation Hub

“There are so many amazing men and women that have supported and inspired me on my career journey.  In the earlier years I sought out people that believed in me more than I believed in myself and challenged me to step up, climb the ladder and take on challenges that later became my greatest accomplishments.  In more recent years, I draw a lot of my inspiration from the younger generation who are so much more in tune with themselves and what they stand for than I ever was.  I love the passion and energy they invest in embedding meaning and impact into the businesses that they create.”

“I feel very blessed to have spent the better part of the last decade witnessing so many smart, strong female founders build businesses that really make a difference – here are a few that stand out to me:  Sam Winter my cofounder in Startup Apprentice; Louise Agnew founder of LYFE financial; Marlie Jolanda, business coach, amazing speaker and prolific organiser of awesome events and get togethers; Evelyn Douglas, founder of Qalma and my voice of calmness and wisdom; Marie Phillips, founder of ICON software and driver of so many other ventures I have lost count; Tiah Goldstein, founder of Interwoven and champion for Impact Tech; Christine McDougall, founder of Syntropic Enterprise and provider of wisdom every morning with her ‘Beauty of Beginnings’ email series; Summer Brown, Lucianne Sperling, Ksenia Demidova, Jessica Hall, Clare Marks, Debby LoDean and my daughter, Amy Hunneybell – every one of these incredible women have volunteered so much time, energy and expertise to the Gold Coast Innovation Hub whilst building their own inspirational businesses and inspire me every single day.”

Duncan Jones, Myriad Studios

“There are four unsung heroes of the Queensland Film Industry I’d like to mention:
Lynne Benzie, President – Village Roadshow Studios
Gina Black, Executive Vice President –  Production Incentive & Attraction, Screen Queensland
Sharon Miller, Line Producer – Paramount Pictures,Warner Bros,Sony Columbia Pictures
Karen Jones, Location Manager – Warner Bros, Legendary Entertainment, Dreamworks”

Each of these women have collectively worked behind the scenes to foster a strong and vibrant film industry. Individually and together, they have consistently presented the State, it’s locations, assets and film crew, attracting some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters and their celebrities. Queensland should be proud to have these people in it’s midst, working for the greater good of our industry. I personally owe much of my professional growth to these women, as does thousands of crew, cast and supporting contractors…. And there are so many wonderfully creative and skilled women I work with daily – everyone of them unsung and tirelessly amazing. ”

Cindy Page, Superdraft

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Deborah Farnworth-Wood since 2008. At the time of meeting, she was an advertising client of mine in the Publishing business. Deb was a loyal client that supported our business as a local small business and always offered support and advice and even helped distribute our publications via her business locations.

In what was a challenging time for me, where my business had closed down and I had lost all belief in myself, Deb contacted me in 2013 with an opportunity for me to work with her and I was thrilled. An offer was presented to me to work as Debs Executive Assistant, Bookkeeper and Office Manager which also led to Project Manager and General Manager roles in 2013 through till August 2016. During this tIme Deb was supportive, encouraging, and a great visionary and leader. Her inspirational ways encouraged all her team to strive to be better and to keep learning for personal growth and development. Not only was she my Leader, I was and still am proud to call her my friend.

Deb has always been someone I can rely on to be there for me in any situation, be it personal or business. A sounding board, a mentor and a shoulder in times of need. I have learned many things from Deb, and I cannot thank her enough for her support and guidance over the years. She has helped shape me into the successful person I am today in both my personal life and my career. ”

Danny Maher, Opmantek Software

“I can name thousands of women that have inspired me. I was very fortunate as a young man to work for Paul Keating when he founded the office for the status of women and I learnt from Paul Keating that if we are to make any change to society that benefits women, it is incredibly important that men support it, so I became a male supporter of women’s rights which has sometimes been a very hard thing to talk about.  Through that journey I met  many women that have inspired me, and of course there is no other woman more inspirational than my mother, but if I am going to write something now that reflects my current life and my future I would have to say that the most inspirational person for me right now, male or female is Jacinta Arden. I wish that every country had leaders like her and I feel that there is a lot we can all learn from her.”


Jessica Hall, Opmantek Software & Gold Coast Innovation Hub

You can’t empower women without listening to their stories. I count myself lucky to grow up in a generation having so many both inspiring female and male role models to listen to. We live in a time where injustices are called out and inclusivity and equality, is championed. And that is certainly something to celebrate.

I have been fortunate enough to work alongside Sharon Hunneybell and Danny Maher these last couple of years and have learnt the following:

  1. Persistence beats resistance. You will hardly ever follow a straight path towards achieving ones goals and sometimes you need to build entirely different road.
  2. Blow up the box. Thinking outside of the box is not always enough to solve problems at the same level of thinking with which we created them.
  3. Be the best listener in the room. Engage with people of diverse backgrounds, you never know who can inspire or teach you something new.

Forging your pathway as a woman today can be complex especially with society promoting so many expectations. To guide yourself through these twists, turns & hoop jumps perk your ears and open your eyes up to these kick-ass ladies.

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