Zonta International VP from Stanthorpe

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

By Lucy Waldron

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

The elections saw Sandy up against candidates from Sweden and The United States and delegates from all over the world voting for who they thought would be the best fit.

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

Sandy’s election into the VP role makes her the fourth Australian to serve at this level and the only one from a regional community.

“It’s amazing that I’m coming from a tiny rural town in Australia,“ she said.

“This shows that you can serve at the highest office without living in a big city.“

She has been a member of Zonta for nearly 25 years, joining initially to help those less fortunate and connect with her community. Over time, she recognised her leadership skills and saw an opportunity to help lead the organisation she felt so passionately about.

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

As vice president, Sandy hopes to increase the visibility of Zonta in Australia and globally.

“We do amazing work with well-known partners like the United Nations, but Zonta itself isn’t as well-known as it should be,“ she said.

“If I can lift our profile and make people aware of the work we do, that would be my biggest achievement.“

Sandy is also looking forward to modernising the organisation, revising governance structures, and improving financial, economic, and environmental sustainability.

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

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

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

This campaign aims to end gender-based violence, and for the first time, an international committee will coordinate efforts to gain more significant traction.

“Gender-based violence is increasing around the world, and as women become more educated and able to speak out, they expose themselves to increased violence from perpetrators,“ Sandy said.

“I am excited to take on something that is so significant in the current climate.”