Sarah Neill AM Honoured with Order of Australia for Exemplary Service to Youth and Community through Guiding Leadership

08 February 2024

Sarah Neill AM was State Commissioner and Board Chair for Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT from May 2016 until May 2021, has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to youth, and to the community, in the 2024 Australia Day Honours and Awards list.

As State Commissioner and Board Chair of then Girl Guides NSW & ACT, Sarah oversaw a merger with Girl Guides NT to ensure Guiding continued to the benefit of the NT community; led strategies to improve the experience of the Association’s members and make the organisation more sustainable, including divestment of under-utilised and under-performing assets; and was instrumental to the development a five year 2021–26 strategic plan.

Sarah held (and continues to hold) many Volunteer Management and Leadership roles for Girl Guides Australia and Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT, including Acting Development Coordinator, Acting District Manager, Guiding Partner, Interim Learning Partner, Prospective Development Coordinator, Region Administrator, Region Manager, Region Public Relations Advisor, Unit Leader, State Commissioner, Board Chair, Board Member, Girl Guides Australia Board of Directors, Cumberland Plains Region Property Advisor, and National Coordinator Adults.

Sarah represented the Region Management team on Girl Guides NSW & ACT’s Membership Management and Finance Management Committees, later becoming the Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT Membership Management and Finance Management Committees; sat on various Region and District Committees; and previously undertook District Manager, Learning Partner, and Support Group roles.

Throughout Sarah’s meritorious time with Girl Guides she has been presented with Boronia, Banksia, and Flowering Gum Awards as recognition of her good service to Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT; a Red Kangaroo Award for sustained intensive service to Guiding; and an Asia Pacific Leadership Award for District, Division, Region Manager, and State Commissioners.

In addition to Guiding, Sarah has spent over 20 years leading Volunteers in a range of Organisations and Community Groups, as well as running her own business, nurturing her own family, providing foster care to children, and maintaining a career in accountancy. Sarah demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that the Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT membership, and the broader membership of other State Girl Guides Organisations though her involvement with Girl Guides Australia, was actively engaged and supported. 

Through her many roles and her time in Guiding, Sarah continuously demonstrated diverse leadership skills and experience at local, regional, state, and national levels. Sarah was, and continues to be, a hands-on Leader, demonstrably evidenced by the number of appointments she holds concurrently at any given time, and acting roles quietly performed in areas of need while holding other Leadership positions.

Sarah has always performed her duty to Guiding with and in good humour, and is absolutely dedicated to the mission of Guiding, wherever possible personally striving to develop, support, and mentor young women in achieving their absolute best.

Bravo Sarah Neill AM! Congratulations on a well deserved honour.

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