A Colourful Cup of Tea



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“I am so grateful…”

I have just had a cup of tea with a stunning young lady and mother of seven children from Sudan.

Isn’t it usually the case when women meet that we just want to tell stories; stories of home, work, friends, children, and most always partners – because they certainly give us something to talk about!

This lady lives in Australia now, but of course my curiosity to ask about her younger days and how she came to be here, led to her stories of war, family death, running away to keep safe, losing her a brother, walking for months with no shoes as a six-year-old, dehydration, exhaustion, famine, another brother’s death, finding her lost brother four years later, and returning to their once home and village to find nothing and no one – just a field of bones.

At the moment when she reflected on her home here in Australia with her young family, her eyes made clear contact with me, as she said, “I am so grateful to be here.”

As most of you will be, I was saddened and ashamed to hear that her children get called names at school for their colour. She reminds them often, “Don’t react, move away and keep grateful.”

Her strength and leadership for her family moved me so much.

No regrets

Penny


About Penny

Penny was born in England, raised in New Zealand, lived in America and settled in Perth, Australia. Together with her husband Mark, she is raising a teenage daughter and has twin twenty-something sons. "Coming home at the end of a solid working day to family and friends is my delight" says Penny, Co-author of the book – She’s Not Your Competition. She is a heart-felt communicator who believes in the power of a person’s story. Penny has over 25 years experience as a high level leader and spokesperson in both the private and non-profit sectors with significant public relations experience. She is currently the CEO of South Coastal Women's Health Services, and prior on the Leadership Teams of Rise Network and Riverview supporting people in areas of mental health, domestic and family violence, and children overseas at risk of exploitation. She holds an MBA and MBL, and is a Board Director for the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia. For the past 15 years she has provided pro-bono support as a mentor for leaders and consultant to not for profits. Penny’s personal life endeavour is a determination to "make life better not bitter".

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