Yvonne Simpson has been a member of Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific since 1996, she has held the following positions:
President of Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific 2010-2012
President of Soroptimist International 2015-2017
and many positions at club and region level as well as National Representative for New Zealand 2006-2008.
Yvonne worked as the Director of International Programmes, Gateway co-ordinator, Careers Adviser, Westland High School
Yvonne states that she loves Meeting People and Networking, Writing - Letters, Writing - Reports, all of these valuable Soroptimist assets. Yvonne reflects on her time as SI President.
Being the Soroptimist International President was an extraordinary opportunity and challenge for an ordinary Soroptimist. There is nothing superhuman about any of us - but there were times when I needed to make an effort that was bigger than anything I had previously done.
I was privileged to speak for the organisation. Two occasions come to mind:
Non Government Organisations with General Consultative Status with the UN’s ECOSOC are given the opportunity to deliver written and/or oral statements to the Member States (governments). Soroptimist International has this status. In 2016 at the Commission of the Status of Women, held in New York, SI was asked to take part in a session and asked not to read a prepared statement but to contribute to the conversation and ask relevant questions. The Chair would read out a list of 5 countries then 2 NGOs to contribute. The panel of experts would then respond. The countries all read their statements. When it was time for the listed NGO to contribute, the representative was not in the room. I was fully expecting to be in the next round, but I could be seen in our distinctive Soroptimist scarf, and was asked if I were ready. One never turns down a chance to be a voice. I had created some notes and made a statement that related to the conversation, and included three questions for the panel. I was the only one who did - so the allocated 7 minutes for further discussion was focussed on the Soroptimist questions. Our voice was heard!
The United National Environment Programme, based in Nairobi, held a session with government representatives and I spoke on behalf of SI. The UN Reps had fully briefed me and I was able to support them in their work by delivering the key messages about the effects of indoor pollution on women’s health. Once again our voice was heard.
I was the spokesperson, but could only do my part because the Soroptimist UN Reps had prepared the way. It was very humbling to be part of the team and contribute.
Yvonne Simpson QSM
SI President 2015 - 2017
This was taken at the changeover at SI, 2017 - Virginia Wilson ( SI Constitution Convenor) and Anne Gover ( Procedural
Consultant), all from my region of Aotearoa NZ South. It represents all the support I received as SI President.
Whilst SISWP President in 2011 I was at The launch of UN Women. I was privileged to be there and wear the NZ korowai. I am with the then President of
This is a image of Yvonne with Farida Shukoor at the charter of the Kota Kinabalu Club. The picture represents Soroptimist friendship (Farida and I met at the first SWP conference I attended in Hobart) and the joy and privilege of chartering new clubs.