about cbwc


a vision

CBWC was born in the 1980’s from a vision to improve the profile of women in business in Cairns. Forty years later the Club continues to realise that vision through its regular networking events, annual awards and leadership role in the Cairns business community providing support, inspiration and professional development to its members.

the inaugural lunch

in 1984 Margaret Gill, then owner and manager of motel accommodation in Cairns, placed an advertisement in the local paper to put the idea out there that business networking lunches weren’t just for men. “I decided that if I received 20 or more replies I would launch the club,” said Margaret. At that first lunch there were 57 women and Cairns Businesswomen’s Club was off and running!

“If we are to take our place as women in what has traditionally been a “man’s world” it must be on equal footing, driven by our determination and combined efforts to succeed.”

Margaret Gill, CBWC Founder and President

recognising talent and hard work

Soon after the Club was formed members identified the need to recognize the talented women of our region who were committed to succeeding in business. Held annually in May each year the Cairns Business Women’s Club Awards acknowledge the talent and hard work of nominees’ from amongst its members and other Cairns locals, and has become a ‘badge of honour’ in the Cairns business community.

growing up

In 1990 the Club became incorporated and set out its legal constitutional objectives to be overseen by an elected Board.  The primary aim and objective of the Club being: to promote a united forum of women working together for greater acceptance and recognition for women in the business community, whether in private enterprise or public service.

An Annual General Meeting is held in February when members elect the president and board members.

continued growth and success

In 2021, lunch events averaged 90 attendees, with ‘Business & Bubbles’ evenings proving to be very popular with similar numbers. We held our first Tropical Food Safari with fantastic support and our Annual Awards returned culminating in a gala ball (after a year off due to Covid restrictions).

In 2022, CBWC will continue to grow attendance numbers at existing events and introduce new breakfast events increasing the value add for members and creating even more inspiring opportunities for current and new members.

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cbwc constitutional objectives

  • To honour and recognise the Association’s founding objectives which were to promote a united forum of women working together for greater acceptance and recognition for women in the business community, whether in private enterprise or public service.
  • To offer mutual support, inspiration, networking, professional development and assistance to members.
  • To raise funds and sponsorship to conduct the day to day business of the Association, annual Cairns Business Women’s Awards and other such activities as deemed appropriate by the Board.
  • To co-operate with other bodies and associations which, in the opinion of the Board, will assist in furthering the aims of the Association.
  • To be non-profit making, non-political, non-sectarian, non-racist and non-sexist.
  • To encourage community support for the aims or objectives of the Association and to encourage business and community involvement in support of meeting the objectives of the Association.
  • To take a leadership role in supporting the business community.

past presidents


Kearley Dent


Krista Watkins


Vlasta Eriksson


Jules Steer


Sally Mlikota


Kylie Gabutto


Andrea Jackson


Shelley Evans


Melanie Wicks


Gayleen Toll


Margaret Price


Gaye Scott


Franca Forde


Lyn Bennett


Shirley Map


Sandra Kirkwood


Judi Turner


Margaret Gill


Barbara Grainer/Margaret Gill


Yvonne Morgan (now Stevenson)


Margaret Gill