Gladstone woman Leanne Patrick has been selected as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category for the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network's Strong Women in Leadership Awards
Gladstone woman Leanne Patrick has been selected as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category for the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network's Strong Women in Leadership Awards

Hardworking volunteer put in the spotlight

WHEN Leanne Patrick moved to Gladstone six years ago, she was determined to make time for volunteering on top of being a business owner and a mother.

“When I came to Gladstone, I knew no one,” Mrs Patrick said. “(Now) I can hardly walk down the street without knowing someone and that is not just through ... having a business but being a part of the community and volunteering.”

After being named a finalist in the CQ Women in Business Awards in March, Mrs Patrick has now been recognised as one of two volunteers vying for the Volunteer of the Year gong in the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network’s Strong Women in Leadership Awards.

She holds nine volunteer positions at organisations, groups and clubs in the region, in addition to owning Boyne Island McDonald’s with husband Nathan.

Mrs Patrick said she was “very honoured and privileged” to be selected as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category.

She will head to Goondiwindi tomorrow for the annual QRRRWN Conference, where the winners for the seven categories will be ­announced.

Mrs Patrick said the conference would empower women, provide them with tools and skills to develop in their field and allow for self- development.

She hopes to achieve connection and inspiration at the conference, share with others the beauty of the Gladstone region and highlight the work of other volunteers in the area.

“I just really want to highlight to lots of other different regions throughout Queensland how amazing Gladstone is and why I love it so much and why I do what I do,” she said.

Mrs Patrick said she aimed to bring back skills she could pass on to other women and “empower people to want to volunteer in our community”.

She said her long-term goal was to one day bring a conference like QRRRWN’s to the Gladstone region to “showcase what Gladstone has” and empower and educate other women.

Mrs Patrick said volunteers were “vital to the fabric of our communities”.

“We are (living in a world) where we have never been more connected and yet there are still a vast majority of people that feel very disconnected and I think volunteering fills that void,” she said. “I just think every volunteer deserves an award.”

“If I win this, it’s about the community – it’s not really about me.”