Ingham Daily Press

Keeping People Connected

Coffee and friends – the perfect blend

Women In Sugar Kelli Carbone, Leanne Cordner, Caroline Pace, Sharon Fighera(holding Milo Fighera,Leanne Bonassi, Colleen Way

IN celebration of International Women’s Day the Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism hosted the Chamber Connect Coffee Morning.

Women from all walks of life enjoyed the community event to help celebrate the achievements of local women in business, community leaders and groups. 

In attendance were representatives from council, chamber members and community liaison officers who provide a vital service to the region.  

Chamber President Rachael Coco said: ‘Chamber wants to celebrate the empowerment and focus on the positive stories in the community.’

Chamber members from left to right – Peter Reitano, Kieran Volpe, Guest Speaker Mirella Pallanza, Chamber President Rachael Coco, Tracey Castles, AmandaCominardi, Madeline D’urso

The crowd were addressed by guest speaker Mirella Pallanza from Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre, where she is employed as a Client Services Officer.  

Mirella spoke about her upbringing by migrant parents and how she was one of four daughters. 

She reflected on the importance of her ‘sisterhood’, growing up with her sisters, adding: said: ‘Today is about celebrating women who go about their business and do positive things in the community.’

Mirella expressed how many women have influenced her life and have inspired her to achieve great things.  

She spoke fondly about her one true gem in her life, her mother, who has influenced her and many others.  

‘I believe my mother is someone who  savours the everyday moments with pleasure. Sharing moments with her family bring her so much joy.  

‘Naturally nurturing relationships, building people up and expressing gratitude.’

Mirella spoke about her passion for helping others at a young age and felt it was a natural choice for her to study Social Work at James Cook University.  

Celebrating thirty-nine years as a social worker, she has had the opportunity to work in various settings.  

These include working in hospitals, providing community education and welfare assistance.

‘The biggest highlight of my career would have to be training Centrelink staff in North Queensland, who provide support to the different regions affected by natural disasters.

‘I’m so proud of the work we do in the community.  

‘With the help of our volunteers the centre wouldn’t exist.  Everyone plays an important role in providing services to the local community.  

‘So many people assist in so many ways.  We have volunteers who collect food from local businesses, assist with administrative duties and we also have a young person with special needs who cleans our offices.  

‘It enables them to learn new skills and feel a part of a team.  To me this is the most rewarding part of my job is seeing them grow.” she said.

In 2012 Mirella was given the unfortunate news that she had bowel cancer. 

She was able to overcome this tragedy with the help of her family, friends and made special mention of the Canossian Sisters. 

‘I’m grateful for the community as they provided meals for my family, said prayers, weekly visits  and phone calls.  This helped me and her family during a difficult time.,’ she said.

These Chamber Coffee Mornings will be held on a regular basis at the Tyto Precinct commencing at 7:30am.  

The next event will be in conjunction of ‘Earth Day’ and guest speakers will be addressing environmentally friendly business practices.

The event was kindly sponsored by NQIB providing a delicious spread supplied by the Majestic Cafe in Ingham for everyone to enjoy.

NQIB Employees Adriano Spano, Kristal Abraham, Alenka Stepcic

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