A Super and an Angel, joint women of the year

NSW Police Superintendent Donna McCarthy and Foster Care Angels founder Kelly Doyle have been named joint winners of the 2022 Blacktown City Woman of the Year Award.

Supt. Donna McCarthy is the Commander of Riverstone Police Area Command, and has served with NSW Police for 35 years.

Kelly Doyle is the founder of children’s charity Foster Care Angels, which supports children and young people in foster care, as well as their carers.

“I consider this award the highest honour because of how hard everyone in this community works,” Supt. McCarthy said.

“At a time when we have just recently appointed our first female NSW Police Commissioner, it’s a sign of how much women have to offer. It’s a privilege to be in this position, especially as a female, and I hope to provide a stepping stone for other women in policing.”

Ms Doyle leads a team of volunteers and is actively engaged with the needs of vulnerable children and young people, especially during COVID-19. Through Foster Care Angels, Ms Doyle helps young people gain the skills they need to successfully integrate into the community and thrive.

Both outstanding candidates were selected from 26 nominees, at a special International Women’s Day Breakfast today (Tuesday, 8 March).

Mayor Tony Bleasdale congratulated both women on winning the award, which celebrates passionate, dedicated and inspiring women who live or work in Blacktown City, often without recognition.

“I congratulate Supt. McCarthy and Ms Doyle on the unwavering commitment they have shown to the communities they serve, especially during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Bleasdale said, while adding council will continue to fight for women’s equality in all areas of life, not just on International Women’s Day.

“There are 200,000 women and girls who call Blacktown City home, and they make an incredible difference to their communities each and every day, through voluntary or paid work.

“Thank you also to our 2021 Women of the Year, Rissa McInnes and Harinder Kaur, for their passion and leadership over the past 12 months.”

Chairperson of the Blacktown City Women’s Advisory Committee, Councillor Julie Griffiths, said International Women’s Day was an opportunity to reflect on the barriers women continue to face in schools, universities, workplaces and wider communities.

She said this year’s theme – Break the Bias – is to dismantle sexist attitudes and stereotypes that continue to hold women back.

“This coming year, my hope is that we can all continue to ‘Break the Bias’ against women at all levels of our community and actively call out gender discrimination and stereotyping.”

2022 Blacktown City Woman of the Year finalists

Superintendent Donna McCarthy
Supt. Donna McCarthy is the Commander at Riverstone Police Area Command. She joined the police force in the mid-1980s and has dedicated her service to her commands and the local area she represents.

During the height of the pandemic, Supt. McCarthy led with professionalism and assisted many local residents in navigating lockdown rules to keep themselves and others safe.

She took part in the Greenway community zoom, answering complex questions from local residents about lockdown and her attendance was well-received by residents who appreciated her guidance.

Supt. McCarthy always has a friendly and professional approach and makes herself available when required.

Kelly Doyle
In 2011, after fostering children for a number of years and noticing some gaps in the system, Kelly founded children’s charity Foster Care Angels. This charity supports children and young people in foster care and their carers.

Kelly leads a wonderful team of volunteers and has built strong support networks, raised funds and positively engaged with corporate sponsors by sharing her story.

Foster Care Angels equips vulnerable young people with the skills they need to successfully integrate into the community and go from surviving to thriving. She is a passionate advocate for improving the lives of children in out-of-home care.

Nalika Padmasena
Nalika has unreservedly devoted her skills and time quietly to make a difference to the lives of people in Blacktown for more than 13 years. She resides on numerous advisories, community service groups and foundations.

In the past three years, Nalika has mentored young women lawyers through the NSW Law Society. She also uses her community welfare skills and experience to tailor her legal assistance to vulnerable older people and women experiencing domestic violence.

Nalika is the co-founder of Spark the Change, a social education network that focuses on a paradigm of respect, enhancement of the understanding of legal rights and a holistic approach towards building capacity for women in leadership.

Sheila Cabacungan
Shelia is passionate about making a difference in her community through her self-licensed financial planning practice based in Western Sydney. She contributes to her local community by hosting 2 weekly radio shows, where she shares her knowledge about money, business and life.

Sheila is active in the Western Sydney small business community, hosting and participating in networking events with a focus on financial education.

She is also the founder of and mentor for three social tribes: Women, Wealth and Wisdom, Success Women’s Circles and GWS Business Booster.

Dr Faryal Zehra
Dr Faryal, a clinician and researcher by profession, put her career on hold to set up the charity Little Helpers on the Run, which engages children and young adults to look after vulnerable community members.

She spreads love and kindness to thousands of isolated and marginalised people with the assistance of a team of enthusiastic volunteers.

Dr Faryal has encouraged and engaged a host of enthusiastic children and young adults through her creative and innovative projects. She supervises all projects and her exceptional leadership skills have made it possible to achieve a significant number of projects.

Her dedication, persistence and innovative approach and the ability to overcome challenges and execute projects, despite the pandemic, have been inspirational.

Main picture: 2022 Blacktown City Woman of the Year joint winner Superintendent Donna McCarthy (centre) with Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM and Councillor Julie Griffiths.

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