Leneen Forde AC was one of the founding members of the Zonta Club of Brisbane and remembers very well the first dinner that was held by the club in 1971.

Who knew back then that this gathering of women at the Zebra Motel in George Street would continue for 50 years, making an enormous contribution to the local community and Zonta International.

Club member Sandra McLean recently caught up with Leneen to make a special memory video as part of the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Those early days were very much about finding their way but when the club found its path there was no stopping them, going on to seed the beginnings of many Zonta Clubs in Queensland and leading internationally with two club members – Leneen and Mary Magee – becoming International Presidents.

The changes that were happening in society were reflected by changes in the club – the causes they supported from women’s shelters to education awards and the membership which today is a mix of women leaders in professions that 50 years ago didn’t fully exist for women. Leneen, who was a solicitor when she joined the club, remembers how there wasn’t a professional club category for fellow new member Coralie van Straaten who was a system engineer for IBM because there simply weren’t women in those roles in the club!

More will be heard about Leneen’s memories of 50 years of Zonta when the club releases a special video as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations in November 2021. Watch out for it!