#31-40 Most Influential Women on the Northern Rivers
IT'S time to celebrate the Northern Rivers' most powerful and influential women.
In a special editorial feature, The Northern Star is revealing the top 50 women who are making a difference in our region.
Please note, this is a subjective list. We welcome your feedback, so email email@example.com with your suggestions and thoughts.
31. Delta Kay
DELTA Kay is a proud Arakwal woman of the Bundjalung nation.
Over the years, she has been generous about sharing insight into the culture of Aboriginal people from the Byron Bay.
She has done this through her work as an education officer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Byron Shire.
This has involved the Dolphin Dreaming kindergarten school excursion in the Cape Byron State Conservation Area.
Ms Kay has called for stronger environmental protections for 5.25 hectare Ti Tree Lake north of Broken Head, meeting with planning minister Rob Stokes in 2016 to ask for the site's deep significance for local Aboriginal culture to be properly considered and for it to be placed on a state list of sensitive lakes under the Coastal Management SEPP.
She was also outspoken about controversial plans for West Byron residential developments, citing the cultural connections the Bundjalung people have with that area.
32. Toni Childs
BORN in California, Northern Rivers resident and musician Toni Childs run away from home aged 15 to become a Blues musician.
The decision paid off, as the Emmy winner and three-time Grammy-nominated recording artist is currently on a marathon 56-date Australian tour, celebrating 30 years of the release of her album Union.
The two-hour show is not just a chance to celebrate her career but also to support her current and future environmental work.
The second half of the show is new music from It's All a Beautiful Noise, a 3D mapping show planned to tour in 2021, and Citizens of the Planet, another show expected to tour in 2025-26.
Childs is dedicating her work to inspire people to support bees and beekeepers.
Eve Ensler, the founder of V-Day, met Childs in early 2003 when Childs was performing in a production of Ensler's The Vagina Monologues in Hawaii.
Ensler was already a fan of Childs' music, which she claims had a profound impact on her and had been a lifeline.
Ensler asked Childs to write an anthem for her documentary Until The Violence Stops. Childs wrote and released Because You're Beautiful, which was awarded the 2004 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music & Lyrics.
She moved from Hawaii to the Byron Shire in 2012.
33. Katrina Kaentani
WORLD-RENOWNED pastry chef and part-owner of Bangalow's Town, Katrina Kanetani, knows a thing or two about flavour.
Having bought the business alongside her husband, Karl, Mrs Kanetani spent five years at Sydney's Pier as the head pastry chef, before making the move back to Bangalow.
Having appeared on Channel 10's MasterChef, Mrs Kanetani has also worked in London, New York and Hawaii alongside some of the best chefs in the world, including Gordon Ramsay.
When she's not creating sweet sensations at Town, Mrs Kanetani can be found at local farmers markets sourcing produce for the restaurant and supporting local farmers.
34. Katrina Beohm
THIS Richmond River High School alumni founded her eponymous real estate agency several years ago after working in the industry since 2000.
Katrina Beohm Real Estate now has two offices, one each in Lismore and Byron Bay where she is representing a range of properties from mid-range to high-end.
Recognised for her dedicated support of local charities including Our Kids and the 2019 Byron Bay Surf Festival, Ms Beohm has also participated in Dancing With the Stars and was a judge at the 2019 event.
She is also the winner of the inaugural 2019 national Women in Real Estate, Real Estate Business Awards in Sydney, where the agency was the proud recipient of the Wellness Advocate Business Award.
35. Fauna Fetchers
THESE young, identical twin sisters have made it their life mission to ignite a passion in people to help our native wildlife.
Known as the Fauna Fetchers, Bridget and Sophie Thomson use their impressive cohort of native animals to educate the public about what they can do to protect them.
They stand strongly by the idea that key to conservation is the education of the younger generation.
Throughout high school they both realised a 'normal 9-5 job' just wouldn't suit them so, Bridget went on to do a wildlife science degree at the University of Queensland, which is where she fell in love with reptiles, particularly snakes.
Meanwhile, Sophie has started her own successful dog training business.
The twins have big plans and dreams.
36. Lynne Weir
AS NORTHERN NSW Local Health District's Clinical Operations Director, Lynne Weir is responsible for all the hospitals on the Northern Rivers.
Her role includes management of the MPS (Multi Purpose Service) Network at Kyogle, Nimbin, Urbenville and District, Bonalbo and the Community Health Services at Tweed, Byron, Murwillumbah, Pottsville, Banora, Kingscliff, Mullumbimby, Lismore, Casino, Ballina, Evans Health, Coraki and Goonellabah.
Ms Weir is known for her commitment to providing high quality patient centred health care to our community.
Focussing on safety and quality, implementing best practice models of care and utilising technology to deliver safe, effective, appropriate, and affordable care, Ms Weir is a highly experienced and respected health care professional.
Ms Weir commenced working in health as a nurse, undertaking her training in Sydney and also possesses a Masters in Health Management.
She has also held a number of high-level clinical and management roles, including Director Clinical Operations and acted as Chief Executive for Western NSW Local Health District.
Prior to her appointment in the role, Ms Weir was the Executive Director of the Richmond/Clarence Health Services Group.
37. Sonya Lopes
LISMORE Symphony Orchestra director Sonya Lopes began playing trombone at the age of 9.
She completed a Bachelor of Music in Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2000, and completed Jerry Novak's Summer School Conducting Course..
Music took her to many places. She won a scholarship in 1997 to the mountains of Brazil, where she played with a local orchestra for their Annual Winter Music Festival.
She then travelled with SBS Youth Orchestra as their principal trombonist to Russia, Finland and Estonia, and performed for seven years with the Royal Australian Navy Band in Sydney, from where they travelled around Australia as well as overseas.
As a freelance musician and teacher in the Northern Rivers region, Sonya has enjoyed playing with big-bands and rock-bands,as well as with the Lismore Symphony Orchestra.
38. Jesse Blackadder
SHE'S a screenwriter and public speaker, but Dr Jesse Blackadder is best know as an renowned author.
The international award-winning author of fiction and has been on Byron Writers Festival board since 2011.
She's written several novels for adults and children, an emerging screenwriter, an inspiring public speaker and a creative writing teacher and youth literacy advocate.
Facinated by adventurous women, extreme landscapes, unusual creatures and chilly places, her recent book is In the Blink of an Eye, published as Sixty Seconds in Australia by HarperCollins).
Jesse has twice been awarded the prestigious Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship. She has also been a writer in residence in Alaska, outback Australia, Byron Bay, Charles Sturt University Wagga, and Varuna The Writers' House.
39. Salome Gallagher
BY DAY she's an auditor with WCA Chartered Accountants.
In her spare time, she helps to run the Northern Rivers Roller Derby, where she's been described as an "all around badass".
The roller derby is an inclusive and supportive venue for full contact sport.
Ms Gallagher is an ambassador for the sport, travelling all over the country with her family, who are officials, attending national level roller derby tournaments and providing the highest level of officiating professionalism.
She was also involved in the organisation of the 2019 Northern Rivers Revolt tournament which brought a large scale tournament back to the region for the first time since 2015.
All profits from the event, held in March, were donated to Women Up North.
40. Anne Thompson
FOR MORE than two decades Anne Thompson has tirelessly helped to organise drought relief for farmers.
The long-standing cattle farmer Anne Thompson know herself what it's like as a woman on the land, and is one of the reasons why she is such a saviour to drought-stricken rural farmers in the country's interior.
One year Mrs Thompson collected tonnes of cane tops from local cane farmers and turned them into feed bails for starving cattle.
Now in it's 26th year Food for Farmers - North Coast Drought Appeal aims to send Hampers toiletries and toys, as well as fodder to farmers doing it tough in drought.