The First Ladies

Featured in Burwood Scene, August 7, 2013.

The Inner west will be well served by four full-time working women as Rotary presidents, dispelling the myth that Rotary is full of older men.

Sana Karmalesan (Burwood), Dee Covington (Concord), Suzanne Freund (Strathfield) and Alison Geddes (Breakfast Point) are each long-time Rotarians and for the coming year will lead their clubs as Presidents working to raise money for community projects,charities and international efforts such as disaster relief through shelter boxes and the world-wide eradication of polio.

For town planner Alison Geddes, the Presidential role is familiar, having served in that position in Auckland six years ago.

“Breakfast Point Rotary club is a feisty little club that punches above its weight and has a lot of fun,” Alison explained.

“Concord hospital is our major beneficiary but we support a lot of other causes as well. I intend to continue the ambitious program the Club has set for itself and will put an emphasis on increasing membership.”

Sana Karmalesan, who owns Burwood Skin Care & Electrolysis, is taking her second turn as Burwood President and has nominated the ANZAC Research Institute Medical Appeal (at Concord Hospital) to further the work by Professor Derek Hart as her main focus.

“Burwood Rotary will invite all our local schools to participate in the Appeal with prizes for Junior and Senior categories,” Sana said.

“It’s important that young people know more about cancer and contributing to their community.”

Concord Rotary has welcomed its third female president in Dee Covington, who works in retail. The hugely successful Concord Farmers Markets in Cintra Park each month remain the mainstay for the club.

“We will continue to support local schools, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Concord Hospital and The Salvation Army,” Dee said.

Suzanne Freund is Strathfield Rotary’s first proud female president.

“I don’t think it’s important that leaders just be females, but Rotary needs to be representative of the community in terms of gender, nationality and skills. The stereotype needs to be questioned,” she said.

Her work with Lifeline at Ashfield has inspired Ms Freund to support mental illness.

By Mitchell Jordan.

Photo Caption: Rotary’s first ladies for 2013. Suzanne Freund, Dee Covington Alison Geddes and Sana Karmalesan.

Photo: Michael Santer.


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