Each Year aligning with International Womens Day, the Network is proud to host the Presentation of the Annual Woman of the Year, part of the Women of the Year NSW Awards.

This award recognises and honours individual women who have significantly contributed to our community in one form or another.

Congratulations to our 2018 Award recipient, Amorelle Dempster of Reader’s Cafe & Larder, Leader of Slow Food Hunter Valley.


2018 Maitland Woman of the Year Amorelle Dempster alongside Jenny Aitchison MP, Member for Maitland and presenter of the 2018 Award (right) and Meryl Swanson MP, Federal Member for Paterson (left)

Previous Award Winners:

2017 – Naomi Rees

Former manager of the Maitland Neighbourhood Centre, Naomi was recognised for her extensive work with the community and her unwavering advocacy, support and care for those who are less fortunate. Naomi has worked t the grassroots level to empower people and get them back on track. Through supporting community in the April 2015 Superstorms and other natural disasters, and supporting proactive programs such as Boredom Busters to engage with young people, Naomi has been a tower of strength to our community.

2016 – Pennie Kearney

Pennie is a former school teacher and for 12 years worked with the unemployed. Pennie joined The Mai-Wel Group in 1997 to coordinate the specialist employment division, now Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions, she then accepted the role of CEO in the year 2000. Pennie took Mai-Wel from a mainly voluntary group through all the governance, compliance and safety changes that have happened over the last decade, including the trial of the NDIS in the Hunter and its current roll out in the Maitland area.

2015 – Yvette Cavanagh

Yvette was recognised for her work as a prolific fundraiser, primarily for cancer as Chair of Maitland’s highly successful Relay for Life raising between $100-200,000 per year and for launching the Relay for Life Ball.  Yvette supports many charities through her role as Manager of Maitland Reading Cinemas.   Yvette won the Hunter Volunteer Centre’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013.

2014 – Michelle Davis

After the tragic loss of her two sons in a car accident, Michelle Davis went on to found ROADWhyz, a program designed to deliver a powerful road safety message to school students, and Co-Found H.O.P.E (Helping Other Parents Exist after the loss of a child). Michelle won a Steel Magnolia Award and was also awarded Maitland Woman of the Year.

2013 – Samantha Meyn

Samantha and David Meyn founded the Harry Meyn Foundation in memory of their son Harry who lost his life to a brain tumour at the age of seven. The foundation initially raised funds for other foundations and then in 2011 established Harry’s House at Stockton as a retreat for families of children with Cancer. Samantha has also won a Steel Magnolia Award and a Community Spirit Award in the Pride of Australia Awards.