Dr Leng Tan
Dr Leng Tan is a medical professional, community leader, and humanitarian ambassador with an altruistic volunteering spirit. For over 40 years, her devotion has assisted various disadvantaged groups in the community. Her outstanding contribution to community services earned her the Quong Tart Life Achievement Community Services Award in 2011.
Along with caring for her patients, Leng currently serves as the Emeritus Chairperson of Chinese Australian Services Society (CASS) Board of Directors, the Vice Chairperson of Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China and Chinese Youth League (CYL). With CASS she has worked hard to provide family daycare, home and residential aged care and disability services, among many other services, tailored to meet the needs of the community. Today, CASS serves over 2,600 families a week. She also brought together CASS, CYL and Sydney Chinese School in establishing the Elderly Australian Chinese Homes to cater for the needs of Chinese seniors.
With a mission to fight for people’s welfare, Leng has also served as humanitarian ambassador by volunteering her medical services overseas. Through her involvement with Eyes on China, she has provided free cataract surgeries to people in remote communities. For many years she has joined these annual expeditions, changing the lives of hundreds of people with the gift of sight.
Mary Jo McVeigh
Mary Jo McVeigh is the founder and CEO of Cara House and CaraCare which support vulnerable children, young people and their families through trauma-specific counselling and human rights practices.
Mary Jo is an expert in child protection, trauma therapy, clinical supervision, management training, leadership coaching, facilitation, and professional self-care with over 25 years working with both public and private sectors. She completed her Honours degree in Social Science in 1983 before completing a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1986. Mary Jo is currently undertaking a PhD in Social Work at Sydney University, focussing on children’s rights and participatory values.
Mary Jo is a trained trauma therapist and an accredited mental health social worker. She is particularly skilled at working with professionals to bring about growth, notably in the areas of leadership, effectiveness, and communication. Mary Jo draws on her vast knowledge and experience in trauma and protection to inspire her audiences.
A passionate writer, Mary Jo has authored Without Question, the Language of the Mindful leader and Audacious Love along with three resources for working therapeutically with children and young people. The most loved, Wrapped in Angels, has received international praise and is recognised in NSW as best practice when working with traumatised children, young people and adults.
Rhondda Vanzella OAM
Rhondda Vanzella OAM is an inspirational visionary and pioneer for woman and young leaders in Australia. Rhondda has a strong belief system founded in personal sacrifice and the importance of community. Her vast experience and success in business, politics and community work has given her the ability to empower those who have neither voice nor influence. Rhondda is also a strong advocate for women in leadership. She is a well respected mentor to many, including state and federal politicians and other public figures.
Rhondda is currently State President & Chair of War Widows’ Guild NSW, Ambassador of NSW Centenary of ANZAC Advisory Council, Affiliate Member RSL; President and OZY Youth Choir Honouring Defence Service. In 2009, Rhondda received an Order of Australia for her leadership in communities.
One of Rhondda’s many achievements was organising the Kangaroo March Centenary Re-enactment which saw her and hundreds of descendants of WW1 walk over 500 km to retrace the steps and honour the recruits of 1915. Rhondda’s most recent achievement was the Honouring Women United by Defence Service Last Post Ceremony and Dinner in Canberra. Rhondda brought together 500 women from all over Australia for this landmark event. It was the first time many of these women had been recognised for their service and the first time many organisations had collaborated as a united voice for women.
Theresa Mitchell was a single mum in her early 20s when she saw an opportunity to support other families also doing it tough. Theresa started sourcing donations of baby foods and Christmas gifts to give to charities including the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul. This marked the start of her fundraising efforts which over the years has also included supporting organisations including SIDS, Multicap, Care Flight and the Endeavour Foundation.
While caring for her own children, Theresa became a foster carer. In total, Theresa has supported and cared for 155 children. She has also volunteered for a community in Palompon Philippines where she found sponsors for 30 children, organised the building of 10 houses and supported the facilitation of medical procedures.
In 2009 Theresa started Agape Outreach Inc. to support the homeless and needy in the Byron Shire, Tweed Shire and Gold Coast. After cooking a meal with her family and offering it to people on the streets one night 10 years ago, Agape now serves nearly 10,000 meals to the homeless every year. Agape has over 70 volunteers and a venue where they coordinate food hampers from rescued foods for families in need and run a range of free training classes including cooking, budgeting, life coaching, and relationship management.
Theresa runs Agape Outreach Inc. full time without a wage providing emotional, social and financial support to many.