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Zonta International VP from Stanthorpe
Sally Venn-Brown from Stanthorpe was elected Vice President of Zonta International. (Supplied)

By Lucy Waldron

Sandy Venn-Brown of Stanthorpe has been elected vice president of Zonta International, a global organization dedicated to empowering women through service and advocacy.

In the election, Sandy ran against candidates from Sweden and the United States, and delegates from around the world voted for the candidate they thought would be most suitable.

“It was overwhelming and remarkable to be selected for the position of vice president,” said Sandy.

With her election as Vice-President, Sandy becomes the fourth Australian to hold this position and the only one from a regional community.

“It’s unbelievable that I come from a tiny rural town in Australia,” she said.

“This shows that you can hold the highest offices without living in a big city.”

She has been a member of Zonta for nearly 25 years, originally joining to help those in need and connect with her community. Over time, she recognized her leadership skills and saw an opportunity to lead the organization she cared so much about.

Sandy originally joined Zonta in Toowoomba and was a member of several clubs due to work moves. She and her husband moved to Stanthorpe in 2017 where she continued her involvement with Zonta Stanthorpe.

As Vice President, Sandy hopes to increase Zonta’s visibility in Australia and internationally.

“We do great work with reputable partners like the United Nations, but Zonta itself is not as well known as it should be,” she said.

“If I can increase our visibility and make people aware of our work, that would be my greatest success.”

Sandy is also looking forward to modernizing the organization, overhauling governance structures and improving financial, economic and environmental sustainability.

One of her focuses will be on international service projects, such as the global programme to end child marriage in cooperation with UNFPA.

“We started in a handful of countries and now the program is running in 12 countries and making a huge difference in the lives of young girls,” Sandy said. “It would be wonderful to work in this area.”

In addition, Sandy will lead the Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women campaign, an initiative that has been running since 2012.

The aim of this campaign is to end gender-based violence. For the first time, an international committee will coordinate efforts to achieve greater impact.

“Gender-based violence is increasing worldwide. And the better educated women are and the more they can speak out, the more exposed they are to violence from perpetrators,” said Sandy.

“I’m excited to take on something that is so meaningful in the current climate.”