Latest News

Life-changing win

When Julie Matthews left high school at 17, she only had one career in mind – to be a social worker. Now she is well on the way to achieving her dream as the 2020 winner of the Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship enabling her to continue with her social work studies at Griffith University.

“Receiving the Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship means the world to me,” Julie says. “It has enabled me to buy my textbooks and pay my bills without having to have constant financial stress. I am able to achieve my goals of completing my Bachelor of Social Work without the added anxieties of worrying about how I am going to be able to pay for my expenses.”

The $2000 Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship is named in recognition of the esteem in which Leneen Forde AC – former Governor of Queensland and Chancellor Griffith University – is held within Zonta Club of Brisbane, as well as her legacy to Zonta, both nationally and internationally as a past International President.

Julie, who lives in Springfield Lakes, says she first started her journey to be a social worker when she left school. However it has not been a straightforward journey to achieve her goal, with Julie having to interrupt her studies to support herself.

“I had a high Tertiary Entrance score and was accepted into the University of Queensland,’ Julie says. “ I was not living at home at the time and felt that I had to defer from uni to be able to support myself.

“I ended up working at Expo ’88 then worked at a video duplication company. In my early Twenties I was promoted to General Manager and continued with this company, even though it changed hands for the next 18 years.

“My position shifted to product and acquisitions manager. Due to film and audio streaming my job was made redundant and I worked for a further 10 years as a corrections officer while studying a criminology degree.”

The world of working in the prison system was somewhat cathartic for Julie, and it steered her down a more humanistic road.

“Once again, I was drawn to do social work. This has been my choice and I have learnt so much about the empowerment of women and also the oppression of women.

This is my life goal to make a difference.”

Asked what winning the scholarship meant to her, Julie said: “Education for women is paramount to gaining independence. I believe that we unfortunately still live in a patriarchal society and things need to change for women. I watched my Mum working in low paid jobs and she lived in an oppressive home environment as she felt that she had no other options. My education will enable me to pursue a career within the Human Services field and I am determined to make a positive change in the world. This may be on an individual assisting role, or in a larger societal context. Nonetheless, changes will happen. I consider myself as an independent woman, and I think this inspires a feeling of freedom within.”

Leneen Forde had this to say about the scholarship in her name and why education is so important as a potential life changer for women.

“Having been chancellor of Griffith university was both an honour and an eye opener for me,” Leneen says.

“It is a place that gives opportunity for life changing experiences to many people who may not otherwise be in a position for an education that can change their lives. Julie’s story is only one of many. 

“The first time I officiated at a Logan campus graduation in the year 2000 every single graduate was ‘a first in family’ to have attended university. Having an education can never be taken away from you and it changes lives and families for ever.

“I was a widowed mother of five young children with little support  when I got my  law degree. So for me, supporting scholarships for disadvantaged women, is payback time for the opportunities I’ve had in my life”

 Congratulations Julie – you are a most worthy winner of our Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship.

You can donate to the Leneen Forde Zonta Scholarship and play a part in a life changing opportunity for women. For more information please go here
Latest News

Meeting of the minds!

It was a happy accidental meeting of the minds for Zonta Club of Brisbane education award winners Molly Kenworthy and Louise Ryan at a recent dinner meeting.

Molly was there to receive her certificate as the club’s Jane M Klausman Award winner for 2020, while Louise had by chance arranged to attend the meeting after contacting the club with an interest to join.

Louise was a Zonta Club of Brisbane education award winner almost a decade ago when she was studying communications, history and political science at the University of Queensland.

Molly is a third-year student at UQ studying a Bachelor of Business Management majoring in marketing and digital management. The Jane M Klausman scholarship operates at the Zonta Club level, district and international levels.  Both were delighted to meet up at the Club dinner, acknowledging that winning the Zonta award helped them when they needed it and that the university years of learning were to be cherished.

To find out more about Zonta’s education awards go to

Education Awards

Zonta International Awards

Latest News

Vale Mary Magee

Zonta Club of Brisbane is mourning the loss of Mary Magee, a long time club member and Zonta International President.

Mary joined Zonta in December 1973 at the invitation of Leneen Forde, also a former former International President and former Governor of Queensland.

Five years later Mary was elected as club president and then went on to serve as Area Director, chairman of various district committees, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.

She was elected to the Zonta International Board in 1994 and, for the next eight years, served in successive positions in the hierarchy until she was elected as International President in 2000, the third Australian to be elected to that position – and the second from the Zonta Club of Brisbane (the first being Leneen who brought her into the club!).

Throughout those first 30 years in Zonta, Mary drove the establishment of new clubs with her trademark passion and exuberance. She was directly involved in establishing 20 clubs in Australia and a further 20 elsewhere in the Zonta world.  Born in 1936, she was a true trailblazer, the first woman to own a pharmacy in the Brisbane CBD (she first needed a male to act as guarantor for a loan and then paid it off within a year). Mary went on to be named Telstra Business Woman of the Year in 1998 and in 1999, she was appointed to the Queensland Premier’s Council for Women, advising on women’s health and violence against women and children.

Mary was a brilliant Zontian and indeed a formidable role model who will be forever missed!