Wednesday, 31 July 2019 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Page 6923
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:26): Today, I would like to talk about Jenny Hughes, a 40-year Soroptimist International member at Port Pirie. Over 40 years ago, Jenny Hughes formally entered the Soroptimist world in Whyalla where she helped establish Soroptimist International Whyalla. Jenny was a secondary school teacher and moved to Port Pirie to teach at Risdon Park technical high school, where she achieved deputy principal status. She retained her Whyalla membership as an attached member, often going to Whyalla or to Adelaide for regional meetings.
In 1983, Jenny assisted with the charter of the Port Pirie club and at the changeover dinner, the group celebrated their 36th birthday. Jenny’s name is on the Soroptimist International Port Pirie regalia as the inaugural treasurer at the time of the club’s charter on 11 June 1983. In the club’s first year, Jenny was appointed public officer when the constitution was registered and she still holds that role.
In 1990, Jenny mentored women in the Jamestown area and helped charter Soroptimist International Northern Highlands. Jenny has always been considered by club members as the fount of all knowledge in the Soroptimist world and justifiably so, as she has fulfilled important roles in all three levels of the organisation. Soroptimists believe in building the leadership, confidence and skills of women, so some positions are time limited; for example, presidents can only serve a maximum of two consecutive years. However, there are no recycling rules and Jenny has put her hand up for club president for a total of four years: 1989, 1990, 1995 and 2016.
There has not been one year in the 40 years of her service when Jenny did not hold a club responsibility. Secretaries are appointed by the president so everyone knows who to turn to, and Jenny served as club secretary from 2001 to 2007 and later in 2011, 2013 and 2014, a total of 10 years. In the region of South Australia, Jenny was president in 1993, treasurer from 1998 to 1999, and secretary from 2010 to 2012.
She has been rewarded for her dedication with life membership in the region. Jenny’s passion is programming and, in 2001, while she was the Port Pirie secretary, she began her service as program/UN coordinator for the region of South Australia from 2001 to 2004. She served in the federation of the South West Pacific as assistant program director from 2006 to 2008 and became SISWP program director for four years from 2007 to 2010.
During this time, Jenny had the enormous privilege but huge responsibility of being on the board of Soroptimist International and was required to travel throughout the South West Pacific and all over the world. Jenny has always had the travel bug and, with her long-time friend Evonne, continues to enjoy travel expeditions, linking these to federation and international conferences. The Australian government has their diplomats travelling the world; Soroptimist International Port Pirie has its own diplomat in Jenny Hughes, making connections and lifelong friends. Jenny has attended every conference of clubs held in the South West Pacific federation every two years.
An outstanding part of her dedication as a Soroptimist is that Jenny has sometimes fulfilled a combination of roles at the same time over the three levels. The most obvious example of that is in 2010, when she was federation program director and region of SA secretary to support newly elected positions. That was also the year she was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Port Pirie Regional Council.
In 2016, Jenny again served as Soroptimist International Port Pirie president, and she is currently mentoring Kendall Jackson in that program. She has been the local ICT liaison officer and region representative for many years. Jenny has seen much change over the past 40 years and continues to learn and adapt to the new technologies and systems. When she was introduced as a member 40 years ago, Jenny made the commitment pledge of allegiance to soroptimism and the ideals for which it stands:
Jenny has put forth her greatest efforts to promote, uphold and defend these ideals. I am very privileged to know Jenny and very humbled by her dedication.