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Soroptimist International President Yvonne Simpson

Blog – Pauline Stewart

Following lunch and definitely food for thought after a morning of updates on Club Projects, and having an insight into the work of keynote speaker(s), The Hon. Justice Rowan Downing QC and Andrew Bevan, it was clear that the Soroptimist Movement is fully engaged and well prepared to support local, national and global goals fighting for all people to have the right to be free and the right to an education.

On return to the auditorium Pat Black introduced International President Yvonne Simpson QSM.

President Yvonne from New Zealand, took to the stage wearing a beautiful MAORI cloak, sharing with us 5 key points, a personal framework to achieve and drive Soroptimist goals.

1 Care for yourself

2 Be grateful

3 Validate others

At this point International President Yvonne shared thoughts about her close friends, fellow Soroptimists, deemed shining SIGBI Stars, who have been and continue to be instrumental in supporting her role and her desire to achieve SIGBI goals.


Yvonne acknowledged:

a) Ann Dawson for her kind Hospitality

b) Maureen McGuire for her knowledge of Governance

c) Carwin for her contribution and understanding of Finance

d) Kate a Soroptimist Sister and last but not least….

e) Jenny Vince for her calming presence –  and on occasion and when International President Yvonne needs to keep calm she thinks of gentle Jenny!

4 Give and receive

5 Celebrate

International President Yvonne spoke about the need to celebrate and to shine a light on our achievements, in recognition and regarding the importance of service.  On the subject of service we heard how Yvonne’s husband is a great support to her and at home.  Yvonne shared that when they are at home together he will often say “I’ll do the dishes, you save the world”.  What a fantastic enabler and on a personal note I bet he’s a true SoroptiMISTER!

IP Yvonne explained the message behind the New Zealand Soroptimist Cloak. The message is one of inclusivity and healing and made by The MAORI Weavers – Te Amo Oranganui Ki Te Au (Bearer of Wellbeing to the World).  The cloak took 3 years to make and holds over 8000 feathers and we heard how the Cloak was prickly when first worn by Yvonne (who was proud to be the bearer of the Cloak albeit very nervous too) and now it is very comfortable for her to wear demonstrating that we as Soroptimists can undertake any role, however nervous we may be, because the more we do it, the more we can become and the more we become the more we can achieve.

IP Yvonne an Educationalist, gave personal thanks to Anne Garvie for her work and for who she is. Yvonne went on to say that we, her fellow Soroptimists can achieve anything that we put our minds to including climbing the heights to various roles within the body of Soroptimism and to deliver the difference regarding our goals.

IP Yvonne closed her address by inviting conference delegates to TAKE 5 AND COME ALIVE.    “Using the 5 key points to continue our work to Educate, Empower and Enable others climb Mount Everest with me and reach for the stars.   Together OUR impact will reach around the world.”