Chair and Co-founder
Mala Mehta OAM is the Chair of “Women’s Shed Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Inc. which she helped co-found, with a vision and passion to mentor young people and to help engage, empower and connect a community of women from all walks of life. She is also the President/Honorary Founder IABBV Hindi School and has pursued a career of voluntary teaching of the Hindi language promoting music, dance, arts and theatre successfully over three decades.
In 2006 Mala became the first Indian woman to be awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on the Queen’s Birthday Honours for service to the community through establishing the IABBV Hindi School, fostering interest in Indian culture and providing assistance to new migrants. She is also the recipient of the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award (2015) conferred on her by the President of India in acknowledgement of her outstanding achievement in the field of Education and Community Service and in recognition of her valuable contribution in promoting the honour and prestige of India and in fostering the interests of overseas Indians.
She was nominated as “Hornsby Shire’s International Woman of the Year” in 2009 and is also a member on the Police Multicultural Advisory Council (PMAC), has participated in Community Awareness of Policing Program (CAPP-14) and is a committee member of the Hornsby-Kuringai Police and Citizens Youth Club (PCYC).
Additionall, Mala speaks Hindi, French, Punjabi and Bengali.
Shantha Viswanathan is a Board Member at WSHK. Her passion and commitment to social causes has been instrumental in her contribution to community initiatives in the South Asian community. She is part of the core team of SAHELI which is the women’s wing that comes under the umbrella organization, SEVA International. SAHELI works towards the empowerment of South Asian women in the areas of health, social and economic wellbeing. Shantha is also the President of Pink Sari Inc., a not for profit organization that provides information and support to the South Asian community to improve their knowledge and ability to lessen the impacts of certain types of cancer. Shantha is also a member of the Northern Sydney Local Health District CALD Communities Advisory Committee.
Uma Menon is a Board Member at WSHK and has worked for more than 30 years as an expert international and community development advisor for not-for-profit organisations and governments worldwide. Uma strives to encourage women to invest in society and become financially independent. She has assisted many grassroot organisations, including helping to establish The Hills Women’s Shed in 2018 and in 2019, the Women’s Shed Hornsby Ku-ring-gai. Being the Convenor of the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Multicultural Network Interagency and Convenor of the Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network, Uma dedicates her time in connecting and empowering women, supporting women in crisis, and assisting in providing financial support, sustainable housing, employment, training and mentoring. Uma holds a Master’s in International and Community Development, Bachelor of Social Science, Diploma of Community Services Work and Coordination, and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and Certificate in Marketing.
Preeti is the Secretary of WSHK and she has had extensive experience working in Dispute Resolution. As a Board Member, Preeti brings enthusiasm to promote WSHK's values and works towards increasing a greater public interface. Preeti is passionate about social justice and equality, especially when it comes to giving women a voice and a ‘fair go’. She has a community centric approach and has worked extensively in various charities and community based organisations.
Meena is the Treasurer of WSHK, and is also a Board Member. She is a Fellow of CPA, Justice of Peace (NSW), Registered Tax Agent & SMSF Auditor. In Meena’s position as Treasurer, she monitors WSHK cash flow and ensures that proper accounting systems and financial reports are maintained for WSHK. As a Board Member, she helps organise events and provides other necessary assistance to the board as and when required.
Meena has worked in a public practice environment advising a diverse range of people for over a decade in property and business accounting and tax compliance; preparation & lodgement of tax returns; financial statements; structure set up; stamping of deeds; documentation & certification of IMS; administration and audit of self-managed super funds etc. Meena is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and hopes to continue to make a positive difference in the life of everyone she comes across.
Peter Kirkwood OAM is a Board Member of WSHK and is passionate towards ensuring women from all walks of life are able to connect in the safe, hospitable PCYC environment. He represents the PCYC at WSHK as he has enjoyed a long association with them through boxing, karate and basketball.
He is also a Director of a High Technology Electronics company specialising in defence, electronics and communications. Peter is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, PCYC life governor, Justice of the Peace and has received a Government of NSW Premier’s community service award. After joining Rotary in 1999, he initiated a Rotary project, CommUnity Connections, to focus on the needs of youth, and people with disability in the Sydney Upper North Shore region. To further the Rotary relationship with PCYC, he joined the Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai advisory committee in 2000 and was elected president in 2002. He was appointed to the Board of PCYC NSW in 2017. In 2018, Peter was named Ku-ring-gai citizen of the year and has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Thus, he is dedicated to serving his community and ensuring all individuals have the resources required to attain their goals.
Michele Bell is a Board Member of WSHK. She is the CEO of the non profit charity KNC (Ku-ring-gai Neighbourhood Centre Ltd) whose mission is to keep people connected within the community and allow them to live independently. Each year KNC assists more than 135,000 individuals with services or programs. With a background in health (as a physio) and extensive experience in commercial sector experience in developing of functional community programs, such as falls prevention and hydrotherapy programs, wellness and reablement to develop services for public and private health sectors. Previous roles included CEO of EBP/Active Therapies, Consultant to Dept of Veteran Affairs, MAA assessor and Work place trainer. Currently at KNC she has overseen the expansion of services from a single site facility in St Ives to an Australia wide aged care provider meeting KNC’s mission is to be: Leaders in information, builders of wellbeing and partners in service connection and inclusion for all. Guest lecturer at UNSW on ‘Culture Identity & Diversity – Pathways to accessing services ‘, presenter at Sydney North Primary Health Network, Executive member of Sydney North Community Network and member of Sydney North Primary Health Network Clinical Council.
Vanshika Virmani is currently in her final year at UNSW studying Actuarial Studies and Commerce (majoring in Finance) and she is the Public Officer at WSHK. Vanshika has been affiliated with the organisation since its planning stages and is passionate about ensuring women in all stages of life are given the resources and support they require to remain connected to the community. She truly believes that although maintaining meaningful connections and by extension taking time out for oneself can be difficult amidst other responsibilities, it is imperative for one's emotional and physical wellbeing.
Media & Marketing Coordinator
Surbhi Malik is the Media & Marketing Coordinator at WSHK and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Media at UNSW. Her role at Women’s Shed includes running the Youth Volunteer program, maintaining social media accounts, updating the website, and aiding with designing pamphlets and banners. She has additionally taught Bollywood dance classes in some sessions and is enthusiastic about helping all women maintain social networks. Surbhi brings her passions for writing, dance, and media to her role with an aim to increase connectivity, communication, and joy in our community.
We have a dedicated team of youth volunteers at WSHK, led by university students who work collaboratively with high school students to organise events, plan workshops and manage social media profiles. University students Surbhi Malik and Oindrila Deb are involved in event management and administration, consulting with WSHK members and planning new workshops. Sophie Blewitt, Chloe Ferreira and Sabrina Du are students of Hornsby Girls' High School and are mainly involved in advertising, graphic design and helping with WSHK events. All five youth volunteers are actively involved in WSHK operations and are passionate about contributing to the wellbeing of the local community.