This year, NEGS Old Girl Rechelle Leahy (Class of 92), was listed on the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence 2019 for the Local and Regional category, and was nominated for a Pro Bono Australia IMPACT25 Award recognising her work creating a positive impact for women and girls in rural, regional and remote Australia.
Rechelle is a co-founder of RegionalCollab and a representative on many Boards and Committees including being the Vice President of the National Rural Women’s Coalition. Through her work she provides technical expertise and specialist advice to government, and other institutions on policy, strategy, research and advocacy in key areas of social policy. ‘My passion lies with gender equality, equity and improving policy through advocacy, specifically related to the specialised issues of rural, regional and remote (RRR) women and girls in Australia’.
Rechelle started at NEGS aged 13 when her family moved to the New England. Initially she was a day student and then she boarded in White House. ‘I changed between being a day student and border depending on the season. Because we lived in Walcha it was much easier to stay at school in the Winter months than travel. Sometimes I would get snowed in!’
When she was at school Rechelle loved English and Debating. This love of language and writing has been the foundation of her career. ‘I have spent my whole life immersed in words, writing government policy and legislation and helping people to understand the complexities of government language. My co-founder and I still do this through our business RegionalCollab writing grants, developing funding strategies and assisting with project development and management to small and medium enterprises. I just can’t quit the words!’
After school Rechelle studied Commerce and Law. She moved to Canberra and worked with the Migration Review Tribunal for a number of years and then the Department of Finance and Administration. ‘I became a principal sector specialist in governance, contract management, procurement and social policy issues’.
Her favourite memory of NEGS is of the friendships she formed whilst there. ‘Those girls, now women, have been the village that supported my boys and I when my husband passed away, they rallied around us and lifted me up, it is on their shoulders that I am the person I am today. I cannot be more grateful for the friendships I forged at NEGS, they have always remained with me and I hope they always will’.