Meet CQUni alumnus Shirley Boon

As The Big Issue’s newly appointed National Operations and Events Support Coordinator, CQUni alumnus Shirley Boon is passionate about creating meaningful opportunities for women. She plays a pivotal role in the coordination of the Women’s Subscription Enterprise, which provides job opportunities for homeless, marginalised and disadvantage women through the sale of The Big Issue magazine subscriptions.

Shirley shares her thoughts on how we can create a more gender-balanced world, as part of this year’s International Women’s Day. #BalanceforBetter

As a child what were your career dreams?

As a child, I had many career dreams which included police officer, lawyer and teacher. I wanted my career to be something that not only put food on the table, but one that I would enjoy doing and that impacted lives positively.

How did these change over the years? And how did you go about achieving these?

As I grew older, my passion for helping people and positively impacting lives grew. I had also been presented with opportunities in the not-for-profit and community sector, and thus began my career as a community and pastoral worker. Throughout my career, I’ve also had the opportunity to mentor and counsel many students, young adults and married couples.

Shirley Boon at her graduation in Melbourne.

How had your education, including your time at CQUni, enabled you to reach your career goals?

Through my studies, I’ve learned the fundamentals of developing and creating sustainable business solutions, the concepts and methodologies of project management, understanding the complexity of projects, gaining the soft skills as well as technical skills in managing projects. I’ve also acquired better research skills and grown deeper in my analytical ability, critical thinking as well as writing skills, which are critical in my current role. The Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation program has also helped me to understand the complexity of social issues and the importance of finding sustainable and measurable solutions to tackle them.

Explain your latest role with The Big Issue?

As the National Operations and Events Support Coordinator, I work under the National Operations Manager and the Events & Marketing Manager. My role involves project coordination and administration supporting The Big Issue’s programs such as Street Magazine Enterprise, Women’s Subscription Enterprise and Community Street Soccer Program, as well as supporting the events coordination for all The Big Issue programs, including the Parliamentary Cup, Homeless World Cup, Media Cup, The Big Idea, The Big Shift, The Big Lunch and many more.

This year’s theme for IWD is #BalanceforBetter. How do you think we can create a more gender-balanced world?

I think there can be more respect for women throughout the world. Women have a right to be treated equally and with respect. Disrespect devalues women and limits women’s opportunities in life and sometimes, it can also drive violence against them. We need to speak up against any behaviour or words that make a woman feel belittled or humiliated because she is a woman, things like making sexist comments or jokes, or assuming women can never perform the same tasks as men, or thinking that women should only take care of kids at home, etc.

I believe we can create a more gender-balanced world when our society is willing to stand up, speak up and give support by promoting respect towards women.

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